Archive for July 28th, 2010

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Strange Growing Season

July 28, 2010

It’s been a strange season in my vegetable garden. The green beans never developed runners and they are producing a less-than-normal crop. Looper (Trechoplusia ni) caterpillars ate my lettuce crop overnight. Tobacco Streak disease attacked the Mortgage Lift tomato plant. It has one tomato. And remember when I showed you a photo of ants in the zucchini blossoms, and after researching a solution I decided to try corn meal as a pesticide—well as you can see in the photo below, the ants moved out (or died off) and tiny frogs moved in. Okay by me, they’re much cuter and they eat the bad bugs. (Okay-okay, I know ants eat aphids, but my zucchini plant didn’t have aphids. The ants were after the nectar. If you have a large army of ants like my zucchini plant, the blossoms will drop off and as a result, no zucchini.)

That problem solved, my crazy zucchini plant is producing elephant-size leaves (see photo below) which explain why I missed the oversized zucchini (below) at a whopping 20 inches long and 16 inches around. I’m sure there are larger ones in the Guinness World Records, but never in my garden. The zucchini plant is so large (probably too much nitrogen in the soil) it’s producing fewer veggies, and it’s shading the eggplants. They’ve only produced two eggplants. I may as well pull them out. I may as well pull out the Mortgage Lift tomato plant and live off zucchini and beans! They are producing enough to keep one to two people alive.

From what I’ve read, other central and eastern US gardeners are experiencing some of the same issues, like vegetable plants doing nothing or next to nothing. Some suggest the culprit is a late cold snap, heavy rains, and minimum solar. Too much nitrogen or one plant shading another may not be the problem after all. Without having the soil tested, I’ll never know. However, I do know that I’m not alone when I say it’s a strange growing season this year.

(Note:  Remember, entries for the Book Give-Away Contest closes at midnight today,  July 28, 2010 . Good luck!)

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