Heh. Songbird suggested this group might be of interest so here I am.
:) I've been reading for awhile and finally got a chance to post.
Short intro: dear husband and I are in zone 7b/8a (depending on whose
zone map you read) and have been gardening for 30+ years. We moved to
our new home less than two years ago and have been working our tails
off trying to put in orchards and gardens, having to amend this
horrible rocky soil. We had a good harvest last year from the raised
beds where we put peas and lettuces, then tomatoes and peppers. The
fig and blueberry transplants didn't do much but we didn't expect they
would. Neither did the two-year grape vines we planted. Now, there's
fruit on the Canadice and Concords vines so we shall see if they
survive the birds. The dwarf container blueberries are already
producing on the deck and several of the rabbiteye varieties in the
orchard are close to being ripe. Did I mention the need for bird
One problem we're having this year that we never had until now is
wilt. One day our peppers were fine, the next day they looked like
they needed water. I knew they didn't, but put it down to the heat of
the day getting to them. They never rallied and just got worse. Some
basil nearby had the same problem. The basil was common Genovese and
the peppers were three Bonnie green bells, Bonnie's Big Bertha bell
and another variety of golden California Wonder. Oddly, there's a
Bonnie red bell that is unscathed and it was next to one of the
afflicted green bells. Everything I've read points to a fungal wilt,
possibly from contaminated soil, even though the soil was "new". These
peppers and basil plants were in small raised beds and large
containers. Other large planters and other raised beds were
unaffected. I've had plants affected by wilt before now. I have
destroyed those plants and haven't planted anything else in the two
planters and that small raised bed that were affected. Don't know
what else to do. :(
Well, I'd better run and deal with the aftermath of the torrential
rain and wind that just swept through here after two weeks of no rain.
One massive oak tree bit the dust. It's amazing that the power didn't
Ack! That last line should read "I've _never_ had plants affected by
wilt before now."
Just got in after inspecting the garden for hail damage. Several
tomatoes were topped. My San Marzoni plants lost at least a dozen wee
tomatoes between the three of them. :(
Just goes to show, be careful when you ask for rain. You may get more
than you hoped for, in liquid and frozen form!
heehee! welcome. :)
from rec.food.preserving as it gets pretty quiet in
there these days. George keeps the welcome mat out
and the light on and a few others chime in from time
to time too, but it's pretty light traffic there most
of the time.
I didn't do any preserving at all this past summer other than the making
of some jam and some marmalade. Actually I realised I just lied, I did
make some plum puddings of winter use. Now it's getting colder, I must
drag one out.
Yep. George is a lot of fun to talk to. And Gloria said hi too.
Maybe one or two more will pipe up this summer when canning jars need
to be filled. :)
But I'll yak here about my tomatoes being topped by hail (grrrrr!) and
my wilted peppers. I'd grown most of those tomatoes from seed and
they were starting to bear fruit. *sigh* We have 41 tomato plants so
maybe one of them will bear a ripe tomato before the next catastrophe
Ha! Well, birds and chicks must flock together so...beware! :D
Thanks, Fran! Glad to finally be here. I hope to become active here.
I might even have an answer or two to some questions, after being a
gardener for as long as I have. Of course, I don't claim to be a
Master. Even after 30+ years, one is always learning. :)
aw. hard to say from such a distance. it would
be very sad if you brought in diseased garden soil.
all i can really recommend is to avoid small raised
beds as the soil temperature fluctuates probably a
lot more than some plants would prefer.
i have heard of vascular collapse being caused
by hot weather driven evaporation from the leaves
exceeding the plant's ability to take up new moisture,
but i'm not sure if that is what happened to your
plants or not.
as to remedies for diseased soil, worms, good
compost, rotate to a different crop and time. i
sure hope it isn't diseased.
Right now we have a couple of varieties of peaches, lots of rabbiteye
type blueberries, Celeste and LSU Purple figs, several thornless
blackberries (and about a zillion wild blackberries with mean thorns
:) and dewberries), 1 raspberry as a test, all sorts of tomatoes
(mostly heirlooms), several types of peppers, and bulbing & bunching
onions. We're getting the tail end of the English peas now though
some are still trying to flower even though it's getting way too hot
for them. The sugar snaps just finished producing. Most of the
blueberries were transplants of bushes we had at the old house and
they had to recover last year from the ordeal. Same for the Celeste
fig scions we dug up when we moved. I don't know if the figs will do
anything this year because they were frozen back in February and are
coming back from the root. The blueberries seem to have recovered
completely from the move and are covered in berries. I'm keeping my
fingers crossed that another calamity won't hit them. The hailstorm
and small tornado we had Wednesday didn't bother them at all though
the hail tore up several tomatoes.
We had a fall garden with spinach and many types of lettuces. Didn't
bother with broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage last fall though we've
grown them in the past.
We also finally finished the big herb bed and have several types of
basil, common chives, flat-leaf parsley, French rosemary, borage (in
the herb bed and also next to the tomatoes), several varieties of
thyme, Bergamot and pineapple sage, and Texas tarragon because I gave
up on French tarragon a long time ago in this climate. The smaller
herb bed won't be finished until the tiller comes back from the tiller
hospital and then I'll stick the container-bound spearmint in there.
On the deck, we have some container-type blueberries (Jellybean and
Peach Sorbet - both corymbosum types, which are new to us, and they're
the first to produce ripe berries this year) as well as some lemons,
oranges and limes. Those citrus trees did surprisingly well last
year, even though they took over the sunroom in the winter.
The rest of the stuff we're growing this year are mainly to attract
bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
It sounds like you manage to produce a lot of food from your garden and
have done a lot in the time since you've moved.
I try to grow citrus but in my climate it's a bit iffy. I've managed to
get some lemons but each year lose my mandarins and it's too cold here
for oranges. I should do what you do and put some in my sunroom - it's
certainly big enough to take big pots of citrus.
I do grow figs and I've planted 3 blueberries which I hope will produce
next summer. I have lots of different varieties of raspberries but
can't get to them before some animal eats them. I suspect mice or rats.
I have lots of strawb plants and yet only got about 3 berries this
year - same suspected mongrel animal getting the ripe fruit - either
mice, rats or possibly blue tongued lizards.
I too grow lots a herbs largely because I like to cook.
Reminds me of the movie King Rat.
Dunno what a bluey might taste like. If I had any Jack Russells still
alive I'd ask them because they used to like to tear them apart and only
eat the tail - probably it's full of fat. Mind you, the Jack Russells
would tell lies and say they'd never even seen a blue tongued lizard let
alone killed one.
Our blueberries were hit by a late frost in early May and dropped their
blossoms. We planted them last year and harvested about a gallon of
berries that year.
We've got so much broccoli and cauliflower still in the freezer from the
garden we had in Louisiana, we moved here in November 2012 so you can
imagine how full that freezer is.
What are you calling Texas tarragon? Would that perhaps be Mexican Mint
Marigold? I took the Mexican Mint Marigold out and bought a "Russian
tarragon" from a local nursery, seems to me it tastes more like real
tarragon than the other ones. True tarragon doesn't like the weather
here. I grow both Greek and Spanish oregano, the Spanish version is what
you find in the grocery stores. Always grow lots of big leaf basil,
rosemary, common thyme, flat leaf parsley, fernleaf dill (I use the
fernleaf in dill pickles or anything that requires dill as the seeds are
to strong for my taste.) Lots of scallions, aka bunching onions. This
year we bought several Texas 1015 sets and they are bulbing nicely. Lots
of garlic and onion chives, we plant them around fruit trees to keep
peach borers away.
Our only citrus is a kumquat tree, still rather small but heavily in
bloom at the moment. I miss my old fifteen year old Meiwa kumquat, it
was very prolific, so much so that we ended up composting about ten
gallons of fruit as we had eaten and made marmalade and jellies from
many more pounds, still eating some of it two years later.
My lovely wife grows salvia near the vegetable gardens, salvia attracts
bees of all sorts. Our biggest pollinator this year are bee flies,
there's hundreds of them in the garden every day. Here's info on bee
flies: http://www.cirrusimage.com/flies_bee.htm when bees are scarce
these little guys really help out.
Your gardens sound like what we used to have until we got old and
decrepit. I started gardening with my parents during WWII, as did my
wife, in the family "Victory Garden," didn't garden while I was in the
military but as soon as we married we were building gardens again. Keeps
me sane most of the time.
The more I examined what may have gone wrong, and what may have been
the true culprit, I'm beginning to suspect the plants themselves had a
problem, even though they looked fine when we bought them, and the
heat may have tipped them over the edge. For one thing, I had two
peppers in a whisky barrel. The green bell wilted while the red bell
wasn't affected. I checked my gardening database after I posted here
and I noted that all the peppers that died in the whisky barrels and
all but one in the small bed, were bought at one garden shop. Same
for the basil. The red bell was purchased elsewhere. The monkey
wrench in my logic is one plant that died in the raised bed was
purchased elsewhere. Yet, the basil I grew from seed, planted next to
the store bought basil plants, is perfectly fine. We used the same
soil mix in the herb bed, the raised bed in the veggie garden and in
the planters. So, it's still a mystery.
We could have brought in a grub or two from the compost bin but we
tried to screen it pretty thoroughly before mixing it in and I didn't
see any this time. We've seen a few grubs survive the heat of the
compost process before. Must be Super Grubs. I hope they weren't
munching on the poor plants' roots but it's another possible culprit.
The "small" raised bed isn't actually small. It's small compared to
the big bed that is now up to 20 feet long (has been extended twice).
Both are over two feet high, to save my back, and both are just over 4
feet wide. The small bed, new this year, is about 8 feet long. Also,
we have to use raised beds. We can't easily plant directly into the
soil here because we hit rocks after digging down more than a few
inches. It was hell getting the fruit trees in, not to mention the
bamboo we planted several other places as a screen. The soil at our
old house was gorgeous, black loam. The stuff here is lousy. All we
can do is bring in garden soil and work in compost and other
amendments every time we plant anything.
I'm not sure either. I wouldn't be surprised if the heat played some
part. But more plants than the ones we lost should have been
affected, seems to me. Who knows? I'm keeping a close eye on all the
other peppers and the tomatoes to see if this is a troubling trend. So
far, so good. Nothing looked wilted today even though the tomatoes
are still shell shocked from the hail storm that hit Wednesday.
Pretty sure our compost is good. It's the first thing we did when we
bought the new house. My husband started several compost bins of
chipped up leaves and grass clippings even before we moved in any
furniture! You can tell what he thinks is important. :)
Thanks so much for all the suggestions and tips. I'll see if I can
narrow down the culprit(s). I hope it's not diseased soil, too.
You could have an oragerie. They were all the rage in the royal houses of
Europe. The odd thing was they mainly liked the smell of the flowers not
the fruit. And you don't have a bunch of beefy footmen to schlep them
about. The sun king had one 150m long with thousdands of trees!
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