31.7.11

Blight

Blight
Every season the garden has taught us something new.  We have been very fortunate to have a fairly pest free experience up until this point.  This year we have seen asparagus beetles, eggplant fleas, and some random parasite effected a row of our garlic and is wreaking havoc on some of our celeriac.  Both of the latter two, have no real known natural predator!  Though we have had our fair share of pests this season, everything overall is healthy and made it past the danger zone for these problem creatures.  Everything except our beloved cucumbers.

I blogged last year about how excited we were to be doing tons of old fashioned crock fermenting for all of our pickles; we could hardly keep up with the production!  So this year we planted double, so that we could still have a large pickling harvest as well as accommodate our farm bags.  Suddenly just as production was getting in it's groove and the baby cucs were growing up, our plants began to die.  Upon research, we found that if we had a few cucumber beetles early on, then the plants would have been effected by blight.  The result would be that the cucumbers wouldn't mature fully and the plants would die.  The above pictured plant is showing the first signs.  We're not sure if the four plants we have remaining are strong enough to weather through, or are just going to be the last to give up the fight.  We have had plenty of fresh cucumbers for Greek salads and for farm bags, but alas, there will be no pickling this year (at least of the cucs).

We aren't sure if our strangely cool early season, where we saw one warmish week at the beginning of June and then cooled off to spring temps again, is the culprit.  Or maybe the way we left the beds insulated with straw when we winterized last season is to blame, but this year we are going to approach our fall garden prep  a little differently.  We are going to burn all of the straw that we mulched with, compost all of the plant material (as we have done before), and plant more beds to cover crops.  Then we will see if we run into the same issues next season.  Not only are we ever in tuned with the weather, we inspect our plants constantly as we walk the garden, and are always learning something new.  We have now had an education in blight, and though disappointing, we are better for it!

If you want to see some of what is coming soon in our garden click here :)

6 comments:

celkalee said...

Such a timely post. My cucumbers have been wonderfully productive. Perfectly formed and ripened then, wow, blight. In a matter of 3 days everything is yellow and ugly. We had a long, cool, wet spring, a couple weeks of extreme heat as well. Next year changes will need to be made. Sorry for your losses, mine is a hobby garden not an income. Hopefully, all your other produce will be fine.

Janie said...

ah..gardening!

Same here! Our summer squash is decimated before we even got one!! (I also noticed very very few female blossoms too)
LOTS of picking cucumbers but also not enough for pickling this year.

AND I have loads of tomatoes on the plants but NONE are ripening!! So that looks like it will be a late crops to say the least. No blight so far..looks good. Your strategy for helping next year should work. DON'T go in the garden EVER when it is wet!

Peppers are not setting because of the WIDE variance in temps..either too high or too low...wonder what the grocery store shelves will look like the next year! ..so far..NONE of my fall cabbage are surviving..not seedlings in pots or direct seeded!! I keep planting and I am getting nothing HELP! I hope I can get a few at least!

BUT ya know what? We just keep trying! I could not see myself without a garden!! I have been growing veg since 1971...

We had tomato blight here a couple of years ago. Mine was very late because I do NOT go into the garden when it is wet..and few around me grow any veg except one neighbor next door plants tomatoes in the same spot every year so I am hoping I don't get anything blowing over from hers...

Oh your squash looks like squash borers...little moths lay eggs at the base of the stem. IF you catch them in time you can do surgery and cut them out, cover with fresh dirt and new roots sometimes grow and it survives, and produces..but if it is too late (like mine) there is nothing left to save!!

jomamma said...

The heat is bringing everything on much earlier this year in Texas. I think it's been too dry of blight here. A couple of weeks ago I noticed the tiniest little grasshopper (always a bad sign) under 1 inch long. Yesterday I saw several, all over 3 inches! Gobbling up everything they could. Everything has gone to seed early too, all my herbs at least.

Jude said...

Gardening is so full of highs and lows. Sorry to hear about your blight!

julochka said...

if one has blight, do you think you should remove it before it spreads to the others? i fear one of ours in the greenhouse might have it....all of the little infant cukes on it have turned yellow, but the other 3 are just fine...i wonder if we should pull it up and get it away from the others? eek!

rayfamily said...

It couldn't hurt. We tried to remove the plants we knew were first affected, but it made no difference with ours. Since it's a little beetle that starts the whole mess, I'd say the chances are high the others have it. We still have a few plants left, I'm hoping they're strong enough to hold on for a while longer and produce for us. Good luck! I hope yours is just a single sick plant!