Friday, July 10, 2009

Tomato Disease Identification, Garden Update

Upon venturing out to the garden today I found more bad news in what looks to be Early Blight on my Yellow Pear Tomatoes.
I will have to do a bit more research, but upon quick inspection on this site, (which is one of my favorites for tomatoes), I appear to have a match. It would make sense with all this wet weather, I think disease is really starting to set in in many Northeast gardens. I am contemplating a weekly spray to try and combat already existing and future diseases with Serenade Garden Spray. Next year I will be sure to have a copper solution ready as well.

My strawberries are all over the place. The $30 spent at Johnny's for 2 bunches of plants (Honeoye and Cabot) for the hanging bags is turning out to be a bust. They have been producing lots of fruit, but with all the rain most of them have gotten moldy before they ripen. This problem started later for me than most folks in my area since they are off the ground, but because of the plants immaturity they also set fruit later than established plants. I chose to not pinch off flowers their first year as you typically would since they are hanging; the plants are unable to send off runners therefore the theory is they have a bit more energy to send to the roots and developing fruit.
The plants are not as bushy as those that were planted in the ground in the beginning of June as ground cover (click here), however that batch was picked up locally and were already quite large. They have been sending off runners like crazy and I am having a hard time keeping up with the flower pinching. Even the runners are sending up bunches of pink flowers which I spent quite a bit of time removing this morning. There are a handful of berries that snuck by me and they are starting to turn, I am actually looking forward to trying one these mystery variety berries if the birds don't get to them first.
Lanky Strawberry plants in hanging bags

I did a bit of harvesting today as well. I desperately need to cut more lettuce but the CSA has been keeping our crisper drawer well stocked with greens, so my garden waits. I had one tomato ready for picking on three different plants, one Big Beef, one Juliet, and one Sungold. What gives? The size of the fruits is noticeably smaller than earlier in the season, another side effect of our weather no doubt (I think I have a case of The Incredible Shrinking Tomatoes!).
Maybe the cool night temperatures are to blame? Mid fifties is a common occurrence lately. Along with the singleton tomatoes is a very lonely strawberry and a trio of cukes. I certainly don't have enough to make pickles so it looks as though they will be destined for the salad plate. Johnny's Seeds does recommend picking these 'Northern Pickling' cukes "frequently at a small size". Hmm, maybe these are already to big?


Erin said...

Wow, I know what you mean about the weather...wierd here, too! It's usually in the upper 90's from the end of June - Sep, but we have been enjoying lower 80's with no humidity most of the summer! While I can't complain about that, my tomatoes are taking forever to mature!! I am hoping to post this weekend, and be done with my "hiatus"...hubby is leaving again in two weeks so we had so much to do and blogging is the thing that fell by the wayside, lol! I hope it's not blight on your tomatoes, that junk lives in the soil for a long time...I thought mine was too, but turned out to be too much rain and washed my nutrients away...

Kelly said...

Well that would be great news! Luckily these are in containers so if turns out to be blight I am hoping to keep it contained, a bit unrealistic I know- that is if the spraying works. Tough with all the rain to wash it away.

Enjoy the rest of your hiatus and your 80 degree weather!!

Ruralrose said...

Hey Girl - tomatoes hate cold weather and you are for sure seeing them complain - put organic banana peels and crushed egg shells on the ground right around the plants - the added nutrients will help - for the weather you have been having your plants look great. Perfect conditions for berries, enjoy next year it might be too hot for a bumper crop. I pick those cukes before they turn yellow, that said, my son likes pickles this size best! I love this blog, beautiful perfection, how do you find the time? peace for all

Kelly said...

Hi Rualrose, once again thanks for the words of wisdom! I only have pesticide ridden banana peels, but I wash them before handing them over to little hands....hoping that removes most of the residue. Think they are OK to put down?

The cukes are so spiny, do those soften with pickling?

I do spend too much time on this blog some days, lol. Mostly I do it at night and occasionally I just neglect the children. 8) It has been really fun for me and a great way to keep track of the garden and recipes. The best part is meeting people like you along the way!!

Ruralrose said...

What a sweetheart you are. do you really have 8 kids? i have never heard of removing the spines, but have been told to cut off the blossom end to keep the dill pickles from being soft - looks like you did just fine at making them pickles wish i was coming for lunch - peace

Kelly said...

LOL, that was a smily face - 8)

I would be 6 feet under if I had 8 kids!!