Category Archives: Vegetable Gardening

Early Blight is Killing My Tomatoes

Does this happen to you?  In the middle of the summer do you think “Early blight is killing my tomatoes?”  Do you know what early blight looks like?  Check out this post on tomatoes and early blight for a picture of beginning early blight on the tomato leaves.  It just gets worse from there on in.  The leaves turn completely brown and die.  I have written a few posts on tomatoes and early blight.  I want to encourage you now: not to give up on your tomatoes when they get early blight in the summer time.  Each year I supplement my tomato plants with lots of compost.  They always get some early blight but most of the time the tomato plant does not die.

Don’t Give Up: Early Blight is Killing My Tomatoes

It has taken me a few years to fully realize this.  If you plant your tomatoes with lots of compost, they will re-grow after they are attacked by early blight.  I have never had a tomato plant fully die from early blight.  There is something about our humid hot summers that encourages early blight.  Then towards the end of the summer the tomato plants start to rejuvenate.  Tomatoes are very hardy plants.  If they lay on the ground they will sprout new roots.  Once they start to re-grow they do very well.  In the early fall you will see all kinds of new growth.  The leaves and stems killed by early blight shrivel away and become inconspicuous amidst all the new growth.  And you can get lots of cherry tomatoes right up until the first frost.

early-blight-is-killing-my-tomatoesIt is really amazing how a tomato plant can come back after early blight.  I used to cut off all the leaves that were damaged.  This year I didn’t do that and still the tomatoes came back.  By the end of fall I had so many cherry tomatoes on lush, green, tall plants.  The ones in particular are the plants that my father gave me which I have no name for and this year I planted Amy Apricot Cherry tomatoes and they were prolific!  They are an heirloom and very delicious. Well worth growing!  Above is a picture of the Amy Apricot tomatoes in the fall.  You can see the new green growth.  You can also see the leaves and stems that were killed by early blight all dried up and brown.  It is quite a contrast so don’t give up on your tomatoes in the summer if they are dying.  It is possible that they will rejuvenate for the fall.

Deer Eating Garden Green Beans

Deer Eating Garden Green BeansAre deer eating garden green beans?  One morning I went out to my garden and the tops of my green bean plants and rudbeckia triloba were chomped off!  Not so much had been eaten -there were actually a lot of green beans left!  So it wasn’t deer eating garden green beans as much as it was the deer eating the tender new green bean leaves.

All along the row they were gone-probably the most delectable tasty part of the green plant to the deer-the new tender leaves!  Maybe kind of like baby lettuce to us.  I figured it must be deer because a rabbit is not going to stand on its hind legs to eat those green bean leaves at the top of the plant.  It would be too uncomfortable.  They would more likely eat the leaves next to the ground.  I haven’t seen the deer but I have seen their poop near my garden.

Years ago the rabbits ate all my newly sprouted sugar snap pea plants.  That was a shock so I fenced off all my plantings for years.  The last few years we have had no rabbits.  We had a lot of wild cats so I assumed they ate the baby rabbits.  But now the cats are mostly gone and the rabbits are back!  And the deer arrived.  We live on the outer edge of the city, almost suburban like, without much deer habitat.   But the deer are eating our gardens nevertheless.

What To Do About Deer Eating Garden Green Beans

Gardeners all over are struggling with deer eating garden green beans and lots of other plants too.  There are lots of solutions out there.  I would like to share what I am doing to stop the deer from eating the green bean leaves.  I took part of my plastic fence that I have used previously to fence out rabbits.   I put it around my next planting of green beans.  I didn’t have so many garden stakes so part of the fence flopped over actually creating a nice barricade for the plants.

This Actually Worked Out Very Well for the Green Beans

Deer Fencing GardenThis was a serendipitous event because it created a nice barrier quite by accident!  I connected the fence tops, where they had caved, in with clothespins.  One section didn’t cave in, it caved out so it was open.  Can you believe that the deer actually stuck its head in the open space and ate the top tender tasty green bean leaves?  So now I have attached the whole top of the fence together and the green beans are growing nicely.  In the picture on the left you can see the open space and the clothespins starting to close up the rest of the fence.  At the top of the page is a picture where I circled the chomped off ends of the green beans so you can see them.

Zucchini Squash Bug Organic Control

It’s that time of year for zucchini squash bug organic control!  Or should I call it the zucchini squash bug organic patrol?  Because it is really like a patrol.  You need to be out in your garden checking your zucchini and squash plants for squash bug eggs.  Today I decided to take it easy and I just plopped by my zucchini plants and started my checking.  Zucchini squash bug organic control involves some effort!  It would be easier to just spray for squash bugs but I want to have an organic garden so I have to put in the extra time to achieve an organic garden!

How To Do Zucchini Squash Bug Organic Control

Zucchini Squash Bug Organic ControlI check my zucchini and squash plants by checking each leaf.  I turn it over and look to see if there are any squash bug eggs.  If you start early then you are able to get the eggs before they hatch.  It is much easier to take the eggs than it is to get the baby bugs or adolescent bugs once they hatch.  When the bugs realize that you are after them they scatter very quickly and get away.  And there are often LOTS of them so it is hard to capture all of them.  That is why I recommend checking your zucchini or squash leaves for the eggs.  As you can see from my picture to the left, I had a very productive day collecting squash bug eggs.  Just imagine that everyone of those eggs hatched into a squash bug and they were swarming over the underside of your zucchini leaves.  Then you pick up the leaf to see if there are any eggs or bugs and they all fall and scatter away.  And then as they grow they suck on your squash leaves and kill them.

Today I Found Lots of Eggs

Squash Bug EggsThe squash bug eggs are very beautiful.  They are a shiny bronze color with perfect oval symmetry! I admire their beauty but dread if they hatch.  It’s a satisfying endeavor to look for squash eggs when you find them.  I either rip off the portion of the leaf or you could neatly cut it.  Then I dispose of them but not in the compost!!!  You never know if they hatch there if they could possibly find their way back to your squash plants!  You can read more about the squash bug at the University of Maryland Extension.  I have written other blog posts about the squash bugs.  These posts cover what happens when you don’t get the eggs.

Squash Leaves Dying

Why are Squash Plants Dying