Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Garden Woes

We head into July with temps just over the 80 degree mark. No rain in sight.  We're not complaining, mind you. It actually feels like summer. But there are a few problems in the garden.

First up, the potatoes.


It starts with a leaf slowly turning yellow.


Then it spreads and several leaves are yellow.


Death eventually takes the whole plant.

I assumed it was blight. At least it's a disease of great historical importance. But Wing Nut said it wasn't. Someone at the nursery suggested a mineral deficiency of some sort. So we gave them some compost tea. Died quicker than you can say "Great Irish Potato Famine". When we yank out a dead plant we find some teeny-tiny potatoes but nothing else suspicious. But today Wing Nut yanked out a plant and there was a very nice sized potato, half of which was mushy. Hey I thought potatoes were supposed to be easy to grow? This is the second year we've tried to grow potatoes. Three years ago we weren't even trying and we got lovely purple potatoes.

Next up, the zinnias.

orange zinnia

Pretty orange flower. Okay, pretty washed out orange flower. But do you see those brownish stringy things on the right? That's what's left of several leaves. On the left you can see a leaf with the damage in progress. And below are a couple more pics.

zinnia leaf zinnia leaf damage

Kind of creepy, no? The zinnias are around the squash in an attempt to attract pollinators in the hopes of FINALLY getting some decent squash.  Should we be worried about the squash? Or should we leave the zinnias so that the leaf skeletizers will eat the flowers instead of the squash?

And finally, the lawn.


I thought "knee high by the 4th of July" was an old adage about corn, not dandelions. I know, I know. I'm doing the bees a favor. But it's a wee bit scary when Diva Dog is almost lost amidst the sea of yellow.

There should be a country song about garden woes...


A Cuban In London said...

we got rid of our dandelions (well, my wife did, I just mowed the lawn) a few weeks ago. It was somewhat creepy to see those photos of the zinnias. Wish you luck with the potatoes.

Greetings from London.

our friend Ben said...

Whoa! Are you sure those are dandelions and now hawkweed or something? I almost missed Diva Dog there in the back. But at least your lawn is colorful! Those poor potatoes. What a disappointment! And eeewwww, the creepy zinnia foliage. You all should definitely write a song!

Randy Emmitt said...

Our potatoes did the same thing. One flower out of maybe 20 foot of potatoes then a slow death. We have dug up a little here and there but not hit the whole patch. 4-5 meals from them thus far. Been enjoying your blog for some time.

Curmudgeon said...

Greetings Cuban! We mow the dandelions down and they spring right back up OVERNIGHT. As for the potatoes, unfortunately there's not much hope there.

What's really scary OFB is that we are not the worst lawn in the neighborhood when it comes to dandelions--or whatever it is that they are! I'll do some research on hawkweed. But it's the zinnias that are totally creeping me out.Totally bummed about the spuds. We were growing some fun varieties.

Thanks Randy. There is some solace in knowing that it's not just our potatoes. Ours didn't get anywhere near big enough to flower.

JGH said...

I like the dandelions, Curmudgeon. You can eat their leaves! Sorry about the potatoes. I'll have to look this up in my "Garden Problem Solver" book.

Karen said...

Sorry about your taters. And zinnias! And dandelions!!! Bummer. Well, just blame it all on your hurt foot and call it a day. Things are not looking great over here either, and I have no such excuse! I hope the squash prevails. Nice to see you'all the other day.

Jean Bradbury said...

Oh dear. Opium tea is definitely needed. At least your zinnia is flowering. Mine have been putting all their energy into battling slugs and are just leaves and stumps still.

Sarah Laurence said...

I wish we could share our surplus rain. I rather like the yellow dandelions –it’s when they are seeded stalks that I despair. Ah, the garden blues. Perhaps things can only get better from here. Your bloom day post shows that there is plenty good going on your yard.

Tatyana said...

I don't know what is worse - unknown potato trouble or known big animal eating my roses and phloxes! As for the dandelions, you might want to pick up the blooms, buy a bottle of vodka and make a folk medicine. If I'd forget to tell you what for to use the medicine, you can just drink vodka.

Curmudgeon said...

These dandelions are way too big to eat--too bitter JGH. I have a recipe somewhere for dandelion wine--can't recall what part of the plant it calls for.

Hey Karen! Yes, the garden visit was fun. The taters are dying a slow and agonizing death--because WN won't let me just yank 'em out. The zinnias I did yank--too, too creepy. The squash is doing spectacular--for us. But when we walk about and see everybody else's squash we get squash envy. Sigh...

Hi Jean. I'm not sure how much longer those zinnias wil be able to keep flowering without any leaves. LOL!

Greetings Sarah. This is not a typical summer for us. We are supposed to be having showers today. So far, not a drop. We DO have some lovely blooms. The bugs are just kind of getting to us this year--scales are definitely tipped towards the bad bugs.

I like your folk medicine Tatyana. ROFL!