Sunday, July 31, 2011

Seeing Yellow

Let me just tell you now. Yellow is not good. I don't like yellow in the garden unless it is in a flower or maybe in the root crops. But sadly I have had just one winter squash set. Because the females all turn yellow and die before they bloom. Last year by this time I had eight squash set. I didn't get to eat them since the groundhog stole them all. This time Mother Nature is making sure I don't have that problem.

Do the plants look unhealthy to you? They look beautiful to me. So today I figured I'd just dose them with some fish emulsion to see if that would get them to keep their blossoms. I can only hope since I haven't a clue what is wrong.

So I found another yellow object in my garden.

Actually I saw one before, but when this second one came, I figure I'd better look it up. It turns out is a slime mold. It is often called the Dog Vomit Slime Mold. When it dries. . .

it looks like this. This one came out on Wednesday and has now shriveled up and put out its spores. It does look a bit like dog vomit doesn't it. In both its forms. I looked it up because I wanted to know if it was toxic or not since I walk barefoot along my paths. It turns out it isn't, but can cause allergic reactions and asthma flareups. Sadly I am indeed allergic to mold spores and have asthma. Ah well. Maybe I'll wear shoes in the garden and leave them outside so I don't track any in. And if I'm lucky I won't have any nightmares about slime molds following me into the house and eating me in my sleep. Slime molds are mobile and if you ask me, kinda freaky.


  1. That is some pretty strange mold. I have never seen that before. My most severe allergies at this time in my life are some molds and chemicals. I also have asthma. Be careful with that mold as you don't want to end up in the ER! (it happened to me right after we got married)

    I think that the problem with the squash is the weather. Over at the plots, I have only 1 pumpkin, 6 sweet dumplings, 1 white pumpkin, 3 LI Cheese and NO Greek Red winter squash. The vines all look really healthy like yours do. They just are setting. I am also having the same problem with some of my melons and it's not for lack of bees!

  2. That is just disgusting. Dog vomit indeed! I suppose there's no removing it with a shovel if you're allergic as it is. I'm so sorry!

  3. Gross name for a gross mold. Never heard of it. Hope I never see it.
    Have a great weekend

  4. Never encounter this mold before. Your plants look very healthy. Our plants usually looks really bad in summer.

  5. Same problem here with my pumpkins. I read online the other day and posted about how the heat will make them yellow and drop like that. Also too much water could be the cause...not for me as lack of water is more my issue.

  6. I had dog vomit mold in my garden one time, I think in 2009. It never appeared again. It is gross!

  7. It seems to be a bad year for squash! I have a very large patch of pumpkins and squash that is very healthy looking with no signs of any squash! Grrr.

  8. I was thinking barf when I saw the yellow mold. I was right (somewhat)! Is that the yellow butternut squash? I've had a couple of those on my vines too, all of them dropped, but now there are about 3 which are getting larger and I'm getting so excited as this is the first year with butternut squash for me. Actually, I think your post on them last year, motivated me to plant not one but 5 of them, this year! As long as the vertical trellis holds up, I will get to taste them :)

  9. As soon as I saw the photos I thought "that looks like something the cats hack up". Right stuff, wrong pet.

    Nature is fascinating in diversity, but I would rather never see that stuff in my garden!

  10. Robin, I was in the ER once too. I avoid that at all costs. Sadly what put me in was something that bloomed regularly near my last house. So I couldn't really avoid it. I never hiked the woods for those three weeks, but if the wind shifted I would always have problems. And I really hope my squash set soon or they won't have time to ripen. I've got my fingers crossed.

    Ribbit, I'm allergic to mold spores. I looked up the life cycle. And it doesn't set spores right away. It basically lives as the yellow thing for one day and then it drys out and starts setting spores. So I did get rid of it. Because it was safe to do so today.

    Sue, I hope I don't see it again either. It is quite fascinating, but also disgusting.

    Diana, we don't get nearly the heat you do in the summer. In the southern US like in south Texas it gets bad enough to fry the plants too.

    Melissa, I watch the water very carefully in the garden so it is probably the heat doing it. It cooled off this last week. I hope they start setting again.

    Granny, well I'll be happy if I don't get it again.

    Shawn Ann, I guess I'm not the only one with issues. I've never had setting problems like this before, but never had the intense heat either.

    RandomGardener, yes it is butternut squash. I'm really hoping I get more than one. I only got one last year because of the groundhog. Two years with no squash would be really sad. I hope you love your squash.

    villager, it is fascinating. Slime molds are such weird creatures. But I'm hoping not to get one again.

  11. I had that kind of slime mold a month ago in a pot with chilies. I never saw something like that before, I just removed it, washed my gardening shovel and said: BLEAH!
    You are right, it was freaky.

    Maybe you'll be pleased to know that my chilies are grown and doing fine, and I didn't see any slimy thing since then.

  12. I had the yellow slime mold on an old tree stump when I moved in. It was quite...disgusting...

  13. I've got the same problem with my squash! The blossom falls off and they don't get any bigger and just rot. I thought maybe it was some type of blossom end rot from drying out too much and then watering. Between this and the squirrels carrying them away, we've hardly had any squash at all. If you figure out the problem, let us know.

  14. I'm growing pumpkin for the first time this year, and I have yet to have one plant produce a pumpkin and I have 5 plants! It's so frustrating. Also have a few squash that have fruits starting that weren't pollinated so they died. Argh.