Tag Archives: powdery mildew

Fall…ing fast

Fall…arrived in lightning speed, so it seemed; preceded by a few cooler days of decent rain to relieve some of the stress of excessive smoke and thirsty trees all over the region, both urban and forest. The precious rain was a bit precocious in actually arriving as anticipated; taking itself further north for a few days, but it did finally arrive in time to help with the forest wildfires and start cleaning out the smoky air that kept recycling itself over the state.

The smokey skies, hot temperatures, and strange humidity initiated a very early onset of powdery mildew, ensuring the end-of-squash-and-melons in a very abrupt manner. With the return of some sun and a bit more warmth, the nasturtiums, lettuce, and kale are more vigorous, however. As the first rains arrived it was a dash to clip melons, spaghetti, and delicata squash from their deteriorating vines, and gather in any ripe tomatoes.

Winding down those squash, winding up the greens. Where’s Juni?

A first-year learning experience in a new garden; it was very productive in most ways, and less than anticipated in other ways, seemingly more related to sun and shade patterns than anything else. A few ideas are now being tucked away for reference for next year.

In some ways this “new” garden seemed easier to care for, compared to the former one, with seemingly less watering needed, although the overall bounty was a bit less. Whereas the high amount of loam in the old community garden was well drained and easy to dig, more clay in the present yard helped retain moisture longer, even if it made the ground a bit harder to work to start with. And, more shade trees overhang this yard, keeping the area a bit cooler.

Tomatoes were later producers here, in spite of being next to the house, which is turning out to be an asset as we cool down. What wasn’t foreseen was the amount of shade they would be in until the sun shown on them (after 12:30pm), and then for the remainder of the day. And they weren’t particularly early-ripening varieties, but now they’re doing well, with some extra plastic over them as the temperatures cool down. Maybe a different spot next year, or else an early ripener.

Enjoying the current 2-3 days of warmth before we see a longer stretch of rain settle in. That delightful flip-flop transition of early fall.

Hoping your bounty has been generous this year!

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Dazed and confused

Hot, hot, hot…many plants are feeling stressed….what is with the high-heat wave this far into September?!  Record-setting 100° on Sept. 10.  Usually there is a day of moisture in there somewhere.  Oh wait, that was what was happening in July, on the driest day of the year.  But, seriously, we could do with a good cleansing rain…for just overnight or a day.  Smoky skies have been around for almost a week, with un-contained wildfires in the Mt. Washington wilderness due east of us.

CG running rampant!

Mildew arrived in late August to pester the squash; not abated by the heat.  A heavy load of acorn and delicata squash seems to be lurking under all the leaves.  Tomatoes are very happy with the warm nights of the last week, ripening beautifully; fortuitous it is!

New veggies for fall crop

Breathing space exists in one area of the CG again, for some cauliflower, chard, arugula, and lettuce.  A riot remains in the other half, with squash, cucumbers, and melons sprawling amongst the corn and tomatoes.

Clamoring for space

Bambie has earned her own private gate now….to look through.  The portal is now closed every night.  She isn’t bothering the veggies much, save one night of pruning beans when the netting wasn’t anchored, but she occasionally wants to sample inside the house yard.

Gate at the Portal

We also say goodbye to Jessie today, as she moves to her own new home, where she’ll have her own garden.  Congrats, Jessie!  And, thanks for being an enthusiastic part of this project.  Keep checking in on the bounty this fall!

August harvest tally:

  • Basil: 9 (pounds)
  • Bush beans: 23.5
  • Beet roots: 29
  • Corn: 11 (9 ears)
  • Cucumbers: 12.5
  • Endive: 2
  • Lettuce: 7.25
  • Scallions: 2
  • Summer squash: 9.5
  • Swiss chard: 4.5
  • Tomatoes: 5

Total: 116.25 pounds
We give thanks to all Beings who assisted in manifesting this bounty!

Last Tomato Standing

….for the moment.
It has been a time for progressive clean-up, given the cool, but vibrant fall weather of the last two weeks.  After hard rains on Oct. 10, it was time to remove the thrashed summer squash, cucumbers and melons, and harvest the nearly 150 pounds of winter squash.

Our beautiful mild fall weather since has helped ripen more tomatoes, wrapped in their red jackets, while a few more cucumbers have eeked out their full figures.  Basil is now typically spotted and un-pretty, especially after a mild frost.  The mixed lettuces are very happy, being the perfect size for gourmet greens as they are thinned.  Kale seedlings are poking along.  Hoses are finally put away for the season….alas.

A favorite for kitties: over and under the deer netting!

With impending heavy rains, all the tomatoes were removed, save the “yellow pear”, which still has a few fruit, and more blossoms.  It’s always good to have a sentinel for awhile.

Prepared for fall rains beginning in earnest

 

The Good, the Green, and the In Between

Now that fall officially has arrived we have seen some summer-like weather returning briefly.  No complaints!  Summer was just shortening up a bit too early in mid-September, so it seemed. But, nothing can be consistent; sprinkles invaded today, as I write.  Much of the house yard looks more relaxed for the moisture we’ve had; the cherry profusion zinnias are looking boldly pink again.  The sages ‘Pineapple’ and ‘Black & Blue’ are moving into full bloom, much to the delight of the hummingbirds.

 

Transitions- Sept 22 Equinox

 

Some actual ripe tomatoes have made their appearance, finally, having been discovered hiding under lush vegetation (now further cut back).  Fourteen pounds of ripe tomatoes, and 20 pounds of thinned back greenies and blushers in the last week is a definite improvement!

 

Beginning the tomato bounty-finally!

 

 

Classic fall! Ripening tomatoes and mildewy squash leaves

 

A nice picking of 5 large clusters of ‘Lakemont’ green seedless grapes from my second-year-ling has been a delightful surprise, and very tasty.  A good cultivar given the shiftier weather and less warmth needed to raise sugar content.  Looking forward to more next year!

 

A small but beautiful harvest of Lakemont seedless grapes off my first-year plant

 

Our ‘friend Bambi’ just returned a little over a week ago, though now I think he’s deterred.  Came with the change to cooler weather.  A few nibbles on the bush beans was the only damage in the CG (thank you!), sparing the lettuce seedlings in the next row.  After browsing all the leaves off my youngest columnar apple seedling, and half of the apricot, he continued more voracious sampling on a neighbor’s young apples, pears, and cherries.  Some netting and tree-bark rub downs with Irish Spring soap seems to be doing a good repelling job.

 

The ripening corner

 

Transitions

Labor Day already?!  Wait a minute, we’ve only picked 3 red tomatoes (this last week)!  I check last year’s entry, and like I thought, I was drying them, there were so many.  C’est la vie.  Three weeks of a cycle in which each week contains 2 days of above-average temps, followed by 15-degree drops to below-average and drizzle, plus mid-40’s at night, just doesn’t cut it for ripening tomatoes.  Still, the plants look great.

Mildew on the squash; always a good seasonal transition symptom.  The acorn, spaghetti, and delicata squash are doing very well.  The zucchini, yellow, and patty pan summer squash are also yielding well, but not overabundant, since they prefer more consistent heat.  The charentais melon has proven very prolific, and we await ripening fruit, now that their skins are roughening.  The margarita melon is not as prolific, but the plant has a few healthy specimens ripening.  Cucumbers are finally cranking out.

Little charentais melons roughening up their skins

More breathing room for squash & tomatoes

A magnificent corn harvest again this year (see tally below); the stalks were pulled to get more light into the tomatoes and squash, and to make easier picking.

Ears of corn sized for big people & little people!

Chard and kale plants are marvelously large,  just starting to get bitter.  Seeds for a fall crop went in last week, as well as a mix of lettuces and salad greens.

Attempts at growing potatoes in the breathable grow-bags proved more productive than last year, but still not what I’d hoped.  The plants looked good, and putting more fertilizer in initially helped, but I’m suspecting there’s an issue with not enough moisture during hot weather, even though they were watered daily much of the summer.  I’m of the mind to only plant Cherry Red and All-Blue varieties next year, since they’re not typically available anywhere else.  The Yukon Gold, Yellow Finn, and Banana Fingerlings are usually available for less money than I put into growing them.  At least they’re proving to be deletable morsels, and it’ll be easy to make some potato salad without having to chop much.  Now, if I was to make raclette or fondue, these are the perfect size!

(left) Yukon Gold & All Blue potatoes; (right) Cherry Red & Banana Fingerling

We could not have planned it any better for plant arranging, as the dying nasturtiums in the front/lower tier were replaced by squash vines migrating down around the them and the lavender.

Thanks be to all gardeners, pollinators, and devas, visible and invisible, for a bountiful harvest!

August bounty:

  • Basil: 5.25
  • Bush beans: 18.5
  • Corn: 46.5 (40 ears)
  • Cucumbers: 9.5
  • Kale: 3
  • Lettuce blends: 4.25
  • Parsley: 0.75
  • Scallions: 4
  • Spinach: 2
  • Swiss chard: 4.25
  • Summer squash: 57
  • Tomatoes: 1.5
  • Blueberries  4
  • Potatoes: 14

Month’s total: 174.5 pounds!

A sea of melon leaves! Where's Juniper?

September showers are good for….a change of pace

The weather devas decided that it was time to clear the air with a good rain for at least half of Labor Day weekend.  In anticipation of serious showers many tomatoes were gleaned the prior evening, to prevent splitting.  When the steady showers picked up on Saturday we knew it had been the right decision, even if the bushes now looked “green” without hardly a ripening tomato. It was a good chance to focus on inside food preparation, like making sauce, or starting up the dehydrator.  Not quite sun-dried tomatoes, but a close equivalent.

BowlofBigBoyTomatoes-2

Tomato rescue before rain set in....

A rainy day task - drying tomatoes for winter

A rainy day task - drying tomatoes for winter

It’s been a good change of pace, spending time with all the other inside jobs one neglects when spending most of the time outdoors.  Spiders of all sorts are quickly spinning webs, even in the bath tub.  After two days of good rain showers the garden looks refreshed, although mildew has set in upon the squash and cucumbers with a vengeance.  Kale and chard keep growing like gangbusters, the basil is finally getting really bushy after a few prunings for pesto sauce, and another crop of bush beans is just about ready. The good news is we are warming again in a few days to nearly 90°, so we can ripen more tomatoes!

Slip, sliding away

Alas, we’re officially on the downside and downslide of summer when the inevitable powdery mildew shows up on the squash and cucumbers.  The ‘Buttercup’ winter squash is the hardest hit, since it was shaded more as it wound its vines beneath the corn, so with the corn completely picked it was time to remove some stalks to let more light in for the squash and increase air circulation.

Powdery mildew on Butternut squash

Powdery mildew on Buttercup squash

Powdery mildew on yellow squash

Powdery mildew on yellow squash

Although commercial growers may apply chemicals to retard the formation of mildew, it really is a natural phenomenon that ties in with a change in season, via changes in temperature and humidity.

In town I’ve spotted a slight color tinge to some vine maples, and other plants are exhibiting their seasonal “green fatigue”.  Given the lower sun angle and record low temperatures of 41 during the last week, it may be time to use plastic over the tomatoes, at least at night.  After another interlude of partly overcast days, we’re due to warm up to the mid-upper 80’s for a stretch, but the heat won’t be the same.

Meanwhile,  a new group a ‘Rainbow’ Swiss chard is sprouting well, along with a row of lettuce.

Stay tuned for the end-of-month tally next week……