Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Trouble in Eden


Lest you think we paint too rosy a picture. 

Sure. We got problems. Like the Brandywine leaves above, turning a rich yellow, rapidly. I picked them all off not to cure the plant but to see just how rapidly the yellow takes over each large leaf. It must be an imbalance or deficiency. The blossoms are dropping, too, and I have two small green tomatoes after all the fuss of growing them from seed. I know. That's not the point. But, still.

Not to worry: we have Green Zebras.


...yeah. That's the same tomato, flipped. Blossom end rot. Calcium deficiency brought on by fluctuations or extremes in the moisture content of the growing medium. Too dry, too wet, too dry. Consistent moisture prevents this. It has only happened in two pots, and I could have predicted it, noticing how those particular plants sucked up water before the others. 


And this. A lone Yellow Pear tomato wilting from the stem down, leaves shriveling and crisping. Two other plants in the same pot are unaffected.

Anyone?


And how about my Physalis, whose leaves disappeared overnight...I knew. I knew at once. 


Tobacco hornworm caterpillar. In the green flesh.

He is no more.


So, a lot going on. 

And yet, and yet. We have this, too. Squash flowers and squash and peppers and cherry tomatoes and the second Striped German and the first ripe Physalis and roses from the rose that was supposed to die. And even more trout lettuce.


To garden is to experience failure, yet for every plant that keels over there are more that flourish. Gardening is a lot like living - a messy, dirty experience whose occasional rewards make up for a great deal of time spent on your knees.

17 comments:

  1. So take your rooftop and terrace garden and multiply or divide it into any size and you get the same type of garden mysteries to fit the spot. My 40' x 70' in-ground garden in Georgia has similar issues. We didn't have a drop of rain and 100 degreee temps for about a month. Then last week - my garden got close to 4" of rain throughout the week. I've found a bit of blossom end rot, yellowing leaves, and bugs, bugs, bugs. Healthy looking plants right next door to the struggling. And a morning glory vine that is taking over the whole world!

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  2. I have some ideas. Your wilting pear -late blight. Look out. I've found that water, at least in soil, has less to do with it than the mineral deficiencies. In pots, the watering washes out the minerals More than anything. That's it for now, I'm about to check on mine.

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    1. I might take that late blight back. My beams yellow pear has same effect. Brown branches here and there. Yellow ones mostly at bottom, but still random.

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  3. the Brandywine looks like fusarium wilt and the yellow pear looks like verticillium wilt. both of these are soil bourne organisms(fungi, in these cases)so be careful not to tranfer that soil or things that come in contact with the soil in those pots to other plants or soil. now, these two fungi do not infect all plants but certainly the susceptible members of the solanaceae family. check out your local extention office to find out about resistant varieties.
    I love to see you wonderful garden photos and the tid-bits of the New York and eastern areas - thank you!

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  4. Juslaaik - a tomato disaster. I feel your pain, seriously. I havn't got to planting seed yet but have realised it is almost the end of July. I must prune the roses !

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  5. That last part. Well said.

    I have learned that so much of gardening is like life as well. I just experienced blossom end rot as well...but it was not so bad or far spread. I cut off the bottom of the Oregon Baby tomato and the rest of it tasted great with our salmon last night.

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  6. I've read planting dill next to tomatoes will help keep away the cutworms. Other than that, it could be anything.. lack of rain or too much at one time, fluctuating temps. We've had ZERO measurable rain for two months... yes... two months. Needless to say, my gardens are toast!! No corn, no cukes, no squash or zucchini. We can only water tomatoes..just toooo hot. It's been so hot here in Ark and elsewhere in the southern regions. Like Barbara said, garden mysteries are a blight in itself..

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  7. I've read planting dill next to tomatoes will help keep away the cutworms. Other than that, it could be anything.. lack of rain or too much at one time, fluctuating temps. We've had ZERO measurable rain for two months... yes... two months. Needless to say, my gardens are toast!! No corn, no cukes, no squash or zucchini. We can only water tomatoes..just toooo hot. It's been so hot here in Ark and elsewhere in the southern regions. Like Barbara said, garden mysteries are a blight in itself..

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  8. I've dealt with blossom end rot in green zebras (grown in pots because of black walnut trees) for multiple years. We were told some nutrition to balance it out would help. Actually, in retrospect, I think it was just plain underwatered. This year we are in a new house - no black walnuts - so (most of) my tomatoes are in the ground. Guess what? They're beauteous. Except for that one green zebra I had to plant in a pot for lack of space in the garden.
    I'm certain someone can grow green zebras in pots; but it seems I am not that person.

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  9. Preciously why we didn't plant tomatoes or cucumbers or peppers this year.

    The pain of last years crops looking exactly like your photos was too much to bear-again.

    But out Kumato plants sprung forth from the compost are doing a brisk business in the back garden.

    Gardening makes me want to rend my garments.

    xo Jane

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  10. So glad I can plant in the ground in soil. With our summer, I couldn't have kept anything alive. No fungal or wee beasties so far... but watering, watering, watering...

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  11. Sounds like problems all over!

    Butbutbut: But we still have vegetables every day.

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    1. I'm happy to reply that so far we've no blossom end rot on same varieties as we planted last year where there was much BER. Lime and fish bone meal are the only serious difference from last year. Same drip system. Incidentally, the only tomato seriously affected by pathogens this year is my beam yellow pear. It's drip emitter is clogged and gets little water compared to others. Man I'm lazy to not fix that, but anyhows the lack of deep watering seems a factor in the effect of pathogens. I took lots of close up shots to ID the problems. Whew. Ok.

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  12. Ahh, the trials of gardening. I have been battling Japanese beetles on my roses, though I had it licked but have found them this morning on my potatoe vine.

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  13. Oddly, the yellow pear tomatoes and a bit of okra are all we are getting this year. Gardening is an act of faith.

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  14. Despite the mess, you have a lovely still life of a collection plate. Not to mention the endless inspiration you bring to the table everyday.

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  15. My yellow pear plant is a goner. Gonna pull it out today. Thank you for putting the question out there. My third year gardening and I still feel like a virgin.

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