Jun 14, 2011
Of Bugs & Blight
I think I have recovered enough that I can talk about my issues with Early Blight. Yesterday was treatment day, I trimmed and sprayed, trimmed and sprayed, until...
there was barely anything left!
Above, the Roma tomato bed was the worst. I pulled 2 plants from the right side completely and had to prune radically.
Below, the Red Zebra tomatoes. I purposefully pruned these up like a tree early on, but only the one on the right had blight symptoms, and now looks pretty pathetic! I know the plant doesn't have enough foliage to survive now, but am hoping for the fruit to ripen before I pull it completely.
The Yellow Pear tomatoes were a total loss and were pulled. I was able to save a few ripe ones, but sadly it was toast.
The frustrating thing is that I anticipate this stuff from the get-go, I always prune up so there is light and air circulation underneath, only water from the bottom, etc. We did have an unusually cool, wet month of May when they were set out. I also noted that I had the same problem only with these varieties last year, and used the same seed packs... I'll be throwing them out pronto.
Now, some good news! My other tomatoes seem unaffected by anything other than heavy loads.
Heirloom Brandywines & Hillbillies
Hybrid Orange Wellington is a good producer in containers, these were in containers last year too, and withstood being knocked over countless times in storms.
Today, we were kicked in the gut again... Squash Vine Borers!
Above is one of the Sugar Pie pumpkins. I had never seen a SVB moth in real life before but when it landed I did a double take, immediately recognized it from Loch's bug briefings and started hollering at hubby to come over and help. I happened to have a bottle of Neem Oil insecticidal soap spray in my tool caddy and nailed it repeatedly - it then basically gave me the finger and flew off. I ran inside and looked up exactly what the eggs looked like so I could get them before they hatched and burrowed in, and ran back outside. After briefing hubby we went to start searching all the bases of all the squash plants. While peering in there it landed again right in front of us. Chaos ensued, me spraying Neem at it like G.I. Jane unloading a machine gun, hubby chasing it with a fly swatter, and the dogs in the house barking trying to figure out why we seem to have had gone off the deep end. Anyway, we didn't get it and now I'm freaked out and keep going out there to look for eggs, I'm thinking about sitting on the deck with binoculars and lying in wait! I know it's going to be bad because it's not even a race to get the squash before the SVB damage kicks in - they haven't even bloomed yet! I'll have to be more careful with my machine gun spray once they bloom, I surely don't want to hit any bees!
I'll finish with some good things...
It was 79ºtoday, only 42% humidity, and it just doesn't get any cooler than that around here, thank you, Mother Nature!
Got the deck cleaned up and rearranged...
and shocked my fish by cleaning the pond!
Thanks to all of you for your helpfulness on the zucchini planting, I'll be doing that tomorrow. We are expected to remain below 82 degrees until Friday, when the heat gets kicked back up again.