Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Something came over me this morning. I'm not sure quite what it was. Maybe it is the coming fall and my mind was on cleaning up the garden. Whatever it was I was quite hell bent on destruction.

The first up was my potato patch. They had flowered hmm maybe a little less than four weeks ago. The blight was really starting to take hold. Kenebec potatoes are resistant but not by any means immune to blight. I didn't see it deep in the bottom foliage for a long time but it was there. The other day I moved away some of the pretty green leaves and saw to my dismay massive late blight sending spores all over the place. Sigh.

Potato bin cleaned out (note the unwalkable path)

I ripped all the foliage up and packed it up into some nice black plastic bags. I tried to clean up all traces of any potato leaf. Underneath it all it was dripping with dead leaves. The potatoes had covered some of my tithoina and the tithonia was mildewing out. I don't know if tithonia gets late blight or it was just a bad case of some other mildew, but the two plants were pretty bad off. I ripped them up too. I'll leave the potatoes in their spot for a little while yet. I'll let the sun kill off some of those late blight spores before I dig them up. I'll probably dig them up during the next good dry spell (if we get one).

Then it was over to my tomato plants. There were a few more blighted leaves that were taken off. I noticed that almost all the Market Miracle tomatoes were either gone or turning red. I picked them all and ripped down those two plants.

The Black Moor tomato was getting blight all along its stems. I picked the one last tomato that was close to ripening and ripped the rest of the plant out.

By now I was having quite a bit of fun ripping out my plants. I looked at my Early Ssubakus Aliana and noticed she was getting worse. She doesn't seem all that affected by the blight, but she was turning yellow and not just her tomatoes. The irrigation system that I hacked together watered her too much. Her poor roots were probably rotting. I figured I ought to rip her up too. First I harvested just under three pounds of her fruit. Then off to the plastic bag for her.

By this time I had two full lawn and leaf bags. I'm going to leave them out in the sun today. Then I'll haul them to the transfer station. Sigh I usually don't throw very much away. Things get composted, recycled or reused, but the blighted plants will get dumped.

Since I was still in a destructive mood, I decided to clear my paths. The poor marigolds didn't have much room in their beds to grow, so they elected to spill over into the paths. I've been letting them grow there, but I've been getting annoyed by them. It has been so humid recently that the dew takes until about 11am to dry off. I can't pick anything in the morning without getting soaked walking by the marigolds. I cut them back so I would have some nice paths. While I was at it I cut back the tomatillos so they wouldn't be stepped on in the paths.I hauled a huge pile of waste to the compost pile.

Overview with my cleaned out paths

I don't know why ripping up plants is so cathartic. Maybe I'm taking my aggressions out on the plants, or maybe it is just the order that I achieve afterwards. I do like having a cleaned up garden and I love being able to walk down the paths without stepping on things. I will miss the waft of marigold scent though and I will miss picking massive quantities of tomatoes, but I still have my cherries at least until the blight gets them too.


  1. Your garden is beautiful!

    I was picking beans yesterday and was thinking to myself These look horrible, I should rip these two beds out, soon. I'm hoping to get some more beans out, though.

    No blight here, yet (knock wood).

    Oh, and my favorite book is Ender's Game, too!

  2. I enjoy it too...all my animals gather on the other side of the fence waiting for me to throw the old plants over to them! I especially love the order out of chaos after fall clean up! Your garden looks great! Kim

  3. I always have a hard time pulling out plants and tend to wait too long. But, once I get started, get out of the way! I waited too long to pull out the spider mite infested bush beans and now that I'm losing the battle with the rats for the replacements it looks like I won't have a fall crop of haricot verts - bummer. Too late to start again...

    Your garden is looking really good now, so neat and tidy.

  4. I know when I was dealing with the discovery of Late Blight on my tomatoes it was all I could think about. Once they were pulled and bagged it was over. I was sad to see them go, but glad that I didn't have to fret over them anymore.

    Your garden looks wonderful! Now you can focus on other things and enjoy the rest of the fruits of your labor.

  5. Gosh, it seems that everyone in the northeast has had blight on their tomatoes, which is very unfortunate. Oh well, you still have the cherries for now.

  6. At least you got fifty-five pounds of tomatoes! Compared to most of us in the Northeast, that is bountiful beyond imagination this blighted year. Hurray!

    It does look beautiful now...

  7. It is looking very good Daphne, neat and tidy. It makes me feel a bit guilty...perhaps tomorrow. I guess I need some of yours ' Something came over me this morning. I'm not sure quite what it was'feeling!

    xoxo Tyra

  8. I love the scent of marigold foliage, too, Daphne, so I can totally relate. But I also agree with everyone who says your cleaned-up paths and garden look fantastic. Now I'm waiting to hear when you find when you knock down that potato bin!

  9. There is something about this time of year that will get me wanting to clear out the garden too. Perhaps it has something to do with the plants looking rather tired and tattered. Powdery mildew is starting to takes its hold on my zucchinis and pumpkins. They were fighting it off for so long until we got some cooler, damper weather a couple weeks ago. Then BOOM out of nowhere there is the powdery mildew. I cannot stand it either and want to rip everything out when they get it.

  10. Oh, and I forgot to add- thanks so much for identifying the Great Golden Digger Wasp for me! What an interesting insect!

  11. It looks great - nice and tidy! I know, there are some days, you just put the gloves on, get the wheelbarrow (or whatever) out, and just rip stuff up. I also am getting sick of my marigolds and have ripped a couple out. I always remember that in order to create, you sometimes have to destruct!

  12. Jody M, thanks. I do love that book. I think I like Bean's version of it just as much though.

    the inadvertent farmer, that is what I need - some animals to feed all the scraps to.

    Michelle, oh no! I have rat traps that I occasionally use on those dreaded chipmunks. We don't have rats, but the chipmunks will eat anything. Chipmunks are cute though so I really don't want to kill them. I only do it when they are totally out of control. Luckily they don't eat my seedlings or my beans.

    EG, yeah it is going around this year. I hope next year we get some more normal weather.

    June, yup I did reasonably well. So far I've gotten an average of five pounds of tomato from each plant. Though some did much better than others. For the tomatoes that are done I might put up the totals for the that variety. I think Market Miracle will win in the potted tomato category.

    Tyra, yes those feelings really get some work done in the garden. Sometimes the spirit just takes me. I wasn't planning on ripping out so much when I started.

    our friend Ben, thanks. I'm really happy to be able to walk down the paths now. Well it will be a bit still, but I'm pretty impatient to find out too.

    Cynthia, I've got some powdery mildew too in my zucchini. I don't want to rip it out because I don't have enough shredded zucchini for the winter yet. I love my zucchini bread when it gets cold. I love those Golden Digger Wasps. I wish they came back from when I had them last year. I kept watching the oregano, but maybe I should have been watching my mint flowers instead.

    Wendy, that is true. My problem is I don't have space for my spinach and mache. I'll have to look around and get them in soon. It finally cooled down here.

  13. Garden looks all neat and tidy now. I always feel much better after I do the walkways so they are clean and clear. My bush bean patch and sugar snap peas are looking tired and nasty - but I am letting them set seed for next year's garden so I will have to refrain from the urge to rip them out for a while longer yet.

  14. I'm having difficulty getting through the marigolds again, so I think it's time to take the pruning shears to my pathways again. Yours are looking beautiful now. I have a few plants that are looking weary, but I tend to let them go until they finish their production.

  15. The cleared paths look great. I must say I take great pleasure in clearing things out and cleaning up. Some times I cut out a little to more though...

    My potato bin is still going strong. I'm wondering how much longer I have to wait to see if all the extra effort pays off.