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
Tags: ,

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.



  1. Sorry to hear about your pepper and tomato plants. Sure wish the rain would come during the days instead of during the nights which I believe is the cause of so many garden problems this year.

    Comment by Norma Chang — August 27, 2012 @ 7:10 am | Reply

  2. Great onion harvest! Sorry about blight hitting the tomatoes, that can be so discouraging. Hope you can save some.

    Comment by Patsy — August 27, 2012 @ 7:30 am | Reply

  3. Thanks for the tip about culling out the onions that smell, and condolences about the arrival of Late Blight. Will await your report on the fate of the Mountain Magic…

    Comment by leduesorelle — August 27, 2012 @ 7:47 am | Reply

  4. If the tomatoes are mature enough and you can get the tomatoes off of the plants not infected and ripen them indoors I would do it, because if it truly is late blight it spreads like wildfire and affects the fruit as well as the foliage.

    Your bags of storage onions look great. Isn’t it a great feeling to have them all set aside for later use?

    Comment by kitsapfg — August 27, 2012 @ 7:51 am | Reply

    • It is truly late blight. Remarkably few of my fruits at the community garden got infected – but the ones that were infected confirmed the diagnosis. USABlight shows the entire eastern edge of NYS and western New England is infected.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — August 27, 2012 @ 8:06 am | Reply

  5. Nice looking harvest! I have lost several tomato plants this year to what is probably fusarium. I also had a bad time with beans germinating, possibly for the same reason. I’ve found a product I want to try, Actinovate, supposed to be good for the wilts and the blights, used as a soil drench and sprayed on the leaves. But I just noticed powdery mildew on the squash….

    Comment by maryhysong — August 27, 2012 @ 8:13 am | Reply

    • I always plant at least one variety with a full spectrum of disease resistance. This year it was Big Beef which has pretty good taste, especially unusual in a hybrid. Unfortunately it it is not late blight resistant.
      This is the first time in 35 years of gardening that I’ve seen a pepper wilt.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — August 27, 2012 @ 8:42 am | Reply

  6. Yikes. Sorry to hear about your peppers an tomatoes. It’s one of the problems with trying to garden year ’round here. The diseases are endless. 😦

    Comment by Barbie — August 27, 2012 @ 9:13 am | Reply

    • I can imagine. Florida is the reservoir for the late blight that comes north on the summer storms.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — August 27, 2012 @ 1:28 pm | Reply

  7. Sorry to here about all your wilt problems. Seems like this time of year is just them time for those kinds of issues. I’m starting to see wilts and powdery mildews show up around my garden and others in the area!!

    Comment by Rick — August 27, 2012 @ 10:52 am | Reply

  8. What wonderful onions!!

    Comment by zentMRS — August 27, 2012 @ 11:41 am | Reply

  9. Very nice harvest, love how you’ve hang onions to dry like that.

    Comment by jenny — August 27, 2012 @ 2:01 pm | Reply

  10. Diseases in the garden are always frustrating to me. They usually arrive unseen, until it’s too late and you’ve lost the plant. I lost a couple of pepper plants this year. I don’t know if it was disease, or other issues. Thankfully most of them made it.

    The Serenade is fairly new, and could be why you don’t see it recommended from the extension services. I do know it works as a preventative, not as a cure. I haven’t had tomato blight issues, but it did help last year with septoria leaf spot on them.

    Comment by Dave — August 27, 2012 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

    • Everything available to the home gardener for late blight is a preventative, not a cure. I also have a problem with sprays because even with a pump sprayer it is very difficult to get good coverage.

      I gardened through the great northeast late blight epidemic of 2009 and I know enough to be happy if I can delay plant death by 2-3 weeks which will ripen most of the crop. Using copper in my other garden got me enough time to ripen most of the tomatoes.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — August 27, 2012 @ 7:30 pm | Reply

  11. Man, that is a beautiful onion harvest. I so hope for an onion harvest this year. I love the look of the salt and pepper cucumber. How does it taste?

    Comment by crafty_cristy — August 28, 2012 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

    • Salt & Pepper cukes are very tender, with good taste, noticeably sweeter than the other cukes I’m growing.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — August 28, 2012 @ 5:27 pm | Reply

  12. What a nice harvest of onions! We enjoyed our Cabernet onions (that you had given me the seeds for back in the spring) – next year I will get the transplants into the garden sooner and they will probably grow to full size. But, for the first time growing onions, I ‘m thrilled that most of them grew and we’ve enjoyed them (and they are deer proof!-my knid of plant!).

    Comment by Ginny — September 9, 2012 @ 7:26 pm | Reply

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