Mary's Veggie Garden

August 27, 2012

Harvest Monday August 27, 2012

Filed under: Diseases,Gardening,Late Blight,Peppers,Tomatoes,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 6:18 am
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This has been a real downer of a week, garden-wise. While the harvest total continues to climb, reaching 400 pounds this week, disease is reducing future harvests.

Onions, in storage

The week started well enough. The onions were dry on their racks, so I cleaned them by brushing off loose outer skin and clipping off roots and dead leaves. I sniffed as I cleaned; any onion that smelled was set aside in a ‘use me first’ pile. I bagged the onions in mesh bags and hung them from nails in the basement ceiling joists, where they will stay until the root cellar gets colder than the basement. That was 32 pounds of onions – 170 onions, mostly Copra, added to the Cabernet already in storage.

I had enough tomatoes to can twice, 14 pints. Before I started canning this year, I reviewed the directions carefully and discovered the jar lids should be screwed down tightly. Doing this has greatly improved my success rate – so far only 1 of 21 jars has failed to seal.

Cucumber harvest has begun from my June 23 planting. The three varieties have advertised maturities of  49, 58 and 68 days. Actual maturity was 58, 62 and 60 days.  I hoped for a staggered harvest from a single planting, but it’s all going to happen together.

Cucumbers L-R, Straight 8, Salt & Pepper, and Marketmore 76.

Wednesday I found a wilted pepper plant in my home garden. I’d found & removed a similar plant a couple of weeks ago so this time I looked closely and found a second plant with the same symptoms. Two days later, there was another wilted plant. It could be Phytophtora blight or Fusarium wilt – both sudden death for pepper plants. I’ve been growing peppers for 35 years and this is the first time I’ve seen this problem.

Tomatoes, left Opalka and right Granadero.

Saturday I discovered late blight on my tomatoes at home, three weeks after discovering it in my plot at the community gardens.  I’ve decided to try to keep these plants alive long enough to ripen the fruit currently on the vines. Sunday I harvested all tomatoes that were anywhere near ripe, sprayed with Serenade, and removed infected foliage. The tomatoes are in two beds about 10′ apart, so I started with the uninfected bed – I wanted to get those sprayed before touching the infected plants. I’m hoping Serenade works better than the copper I used in my community garden plot. Serenade calls itself a ‘Disease Control Concentrate’ and its active ingredient is Bacillus subtilis. It is OMRI listed and its label says it controls blight – though it is not listed on any of the extension publications I’ve seen.

I have one plant, Mountain Magic, which is resistant to late blight. It’s about to get a trial by fire.

Check in with Daphne’s Dandelions for other harvests from around the USA and around the world.

August 25, 2012

A Bean Muddle

Filed under: Beans,Gardening,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 7:42 pm
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A beautiful basket of beans, eh? But wait, they should all be the same. Clearly they differ.

A harvest of mixed pole beans.

When I planted this spring I thought I was planting Rattlesnake pole beans. Rattlesnake beans are green with burgundy markings, or sometimes all green. There are a few in the picture. What are the rest and where did they come from?

For the last two years I’ve been saving seed from my pole beans. In 2010 I grew Rattlesnake and a purple pole bean called Blue Coco. The trellises were 6′-10′ apart and I collected seed from both. I grew the seed in  2011 and didn’t notice any problems.

In 2011 I made of mistake of planting the Blue Coco beans on a trellis right next to the Rattlesnake beans.  I thought beans were largely self pollinating. Clearly I was wrong.  Blue Coco crossed with Rattlesnake, resulting in greenish purple beans that are not anywhere as intensely purple as the original Blue Coco.

All the seed planted in 2012 was from Rattlesnake mother plants. I could tell by the seed coats which were brown with black markings, the color of Rattlesnake beans seeds. However the pollen which fathered many of the seeds must have been from the Blue Coco beans. By the way, Blue Coco seed is a plain beige, which darkens over time.

Blue Coco characteristics seem to dominate in this Rattlesnake x Blue Coco hybrid. In color, time of peak harvest, and flavor, these purple beans are more like Blue Coco than Rattlesnake beans.

Unfortunately for me, it’s Rattlesnake that I prefer. I’m going to buy seed next year to get back to the pure strain.

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