We’ll start off with the positives:
- As we mentioned last week, our watermelon plants have been doing great. We even had to build a cage to keep the vines within a reasonable square footage. And this weekend marked our first signs of actual melon! As of now the melon is about the size of a baseball. Check it out:
- Our squash plants are also growing like a wildfire. The acorn and butternut varieties grow long vines so we decided to keep them in check by giving them a trellis to climb. The less horizontal space they take up, the easier the plants are to maintain. We’re also seeing some beautiful flowers on these, particularly on the acorn squash.
- A thunderstorm caused some hard times for our big, old sunflower, but we’re seeing a new generation flourish nearby!
- Our red pepper plants are showing signs of tiny, tiny peppers:
- So many cherry tomatoes! It’s almost hard to keep up with how quickly they’re ripening. Also notices that the italian grape tomato variety is starting to blush, meaning we’ll have even bigger tomato harvests on our hands soon. We can’t wait until the big tomatoes are ready too!
There’s really only one new problem we’ve encountered in the past week, and that doesn’t nearly add up to the positives just listed. Recently a select few of our cucumber and yellow squash plants began to wilt, which basically mean that many of their leaves lost their rigidity and drooped downwards. Here you can see one of our squash plants that saw this pretty badly:
Our best guess as to what this is is bacterial wilt. This is a disease spread by cucumber bugs which are little (somewhat cute!) ladybug-like insects that are yellow with black stripes or spots. It took us awhile to realize these bugs were bad news, because they look rather harmless. Apparently their egg laying process can release bacteria that causes these wilting symptoms. First we tried tackling these bugs by coating the plants in diatomaceous earth a natural way to keep arthropods off of plants. (This is the thin whit poweder on leaves you might see in some of the photos.) While this seems to be effective in keeping the beautiful foliage from being munched on, it doesn’t seem to stop the cucumber bugs from hanging around. We’re looking into better ways to deal with this problem!
Interested in gardening this week? Well, you’re in luck. Come out this Thursday 8/2 from 6 to 8 PM to our plot at 79 Alexander for possibly one of the last workdays while undergrads are still on campus!