It is now winter and the holidays–the garden is dormant–time to take a rest… For the next few posts I would like to share a story that happened in my garden this summer.
Early morning garden visitor
Early one morning, I went out to my garden just to see how things are going and to do a little digging to plant new seeds. I had planted pole beans about 2 weeks before. They were growing nicely, about 3-4 inches high. It was almost time to set up the twine for the pole beans to grow up.
I see a medium sized furball waddling away
I was surprised to see a medium sized furball waddling away, quickly, to hide underneath our shed. I was even more surprised –let’s say shocked– to see that all the new delectable green bean plants had been devoured. All the leaves were chomped off leaving only the stems. I was devastated to see only the little stems left. I couldn’t believe that this animal would come into my garden and do so much damage. And he had the audacity to hide under our shed!
I didn’t know what the garden visitor was because I am not so familiar with wild animals. In the meantime, I quickly planted more beans so that I would have my second crop of pole beans. And I put up a temporary fence around the seeds so he couldn’t eat them again. I already had the fence because one spring the rabbits ate all my new sugar snap pea seedlings. The fence worked well and the green beans re-grew just fine. Stay tuned to the next post Garden Problems to continue the story!
A Happy Holiday season to all!
Cleaning up the green bean trellis was much easier than I expected! On a beautiful warm day in December (who can believe this weather??) I cleaned up the green bean trellis and I was so grateful that I grow my pole beans on twine! It might be a pain in the spring, when I have to set up all the twine but I could look at it as a meditative exercise–just slowly setting up the twine and encouraging the green bean seedlings to wrap around it.
Using Twine for Pole Beans is So Worth it
All I had to do is pull up the anchors that are holding down the twine, retrieve the anchor to save for next year and then just start cutting twine and vine. Snip, snip throw some into the compost. Cut, cut and throw some more into the compost! The twine breaks down in the compost as well as the vines. It is great–sure beats picking off all the vines off a metal trellis! They are stubborn and can really wrap themselves around so that they are very hard to get off.
In the top picture you can see very little twine–it is the gray stuff in the middle of all the vines. The vines are brown and dead now after being killed by frost. But they still are hard to get off if you are picking them off a metal fence-like trellis. In the bottom picture you can see much more of the twine because there are fewer vines. All I did was cut through the vines and the twine with scissors. A piece of cake clean-up!
Here here to growing green beans on twine!! Read more about my Green Bean Trellis.
Late Blight of Tomato
Late blight of tomato has attacked my tomatoes! It was before the first frost of the season so I collected all the green tomatoes from my garden. I was hoping to extend the season by letting them ripen in the house. I had a nice batch of tomatoes and was looking forward to enjoying them in the beginning of winter. Some of them were big, fat and gorgeous but just not red.
Late Blight is REALLY UGLY
My beautiful green tomatoes started turning leathery, brown and bumpy. I couldn’t really believe my eyes that this was happening and I had no idea what it was.
I started checking on the internet and saw that it was probably late blight. I have been struggling with early blight the last few years. This year I had good successes against early blight and now this!! The diseases are not related at all. I checked with the Extension service and this is the response that I got:
Our plant pathologist looked at your photos and thinks this is Late Blight. Sometimes found in Maryland and affecting both potatoes and tomatoes, it is the fungal pathogen responsible for the infamous Irish potato famine. It can be a very serious disease when the weather is consistantly cool and rainy, which makes it more likely to occur at the end of the growing season.
Chances of the disease overwintering are not great. However, it can overwinter on potato tubers left in the ground of diseased plants. It is recommended to do a thorough end of season clean-up in your garden. Do not compost any plant parts or fruits; get them out of the yard completely.
Here is our page about Late Blight from the Plant Diagnostic portion of our website: http://plantdiagnostics.umd.edu/level3.cfm?causeID=1381
I read that late blight is an airborne disease. This all happened after Hurricane Sandy. So the weather was cool and rainy with lots of wind–I wonder if it blew in with the hurricane. Also not all of the green tomatoes got it. I did get a few that ripened beautifully and were delicious. Here is late blight information from Cornell University supporting this idea:
Note that during cloudy conditions spores of the late blight pathogen can survive being dispersed in wind currents long distances (miles!) because they are protected from the killing effects of UV radiation. Rain can bring these spores down on to plants far from the affected plants that were their source.