Here it is October and for some folks the vegetable garden is a thing in the past (this year) just like putting away their bathing suits and short shorts. But fortunately for us, we're still hoeing and like any garden experience, this fall we've had successes and failures.
Seen above is a photo of our kale patch. You might think the drought has caused the poor appearance, but actually it's aphids. There are approximately 4,400 species of aphids in ten families with the two most common colors seen as black or green. They literally "suck the sap" out of plant stems and young shoots while excreting their saliva, a clear sticky substance called "honey dew" into the plant causing a sooty mold to develop on the stems. Eventually, their destruction weakens plants, stunts growth, causes leaves to wilt and curl, delaying blooms and fruit growth. Aphids are asexual and mature insects lay 3 to 6 eggs per day. They lay eggs which overwinter and hatch in spring when the weather warms. Also, the eggs are transported by wind and infested foliage sold in garden centers.
So, I guess the kale has to be placed on our failure list, so far this fall, unless we applied the organic insecticide before the aphids did too much damage and the plants recover before a hard freeze.
I'll put the winter squash on the success list. We weeded, fertilized and mulched several weeks ago.
The collard plants pictured above are looking good. They love the cooler nights, so chalk up another success.
This third generation row of Bok Choy also gets written down in the book as a success. Bok Choy is easy to grow, better to resist disease and pests unlike some greens, also it will continue to thrive until spring, unless we get several weeks of freezing temps this winter.
Although, Jerry has picked several meals of turnip greens this fall, I have to put them on the failure list. As you can see above, it's not pest or disease that's making this crop a flop, it's lack of rain. We usually water the garden from a small pond, but the drought has made that impossible. Since I have only well water, we haven't been able to use it either to water the garden. Thank goodness for cooler nights.
The onions and leeks are a go on the success list.
Since okra is a hot weather vegetable, I'm going to give these plants a thumbs up and put them on the success list. I cooked some today for lunch!
A dozen or more of our broccoli and brussel sprout plants were eaten by a deer. This was due to human error, as someone (I wonder who?...me of course) left the electric fence unplugged for a few days. So, I have to put the broccoli plants on the failure list.
But as you can see the deer didn't eat everything and these brussel sprout plants are healthy and growing. They will go on the success list, especially since Deberah raised them from seed this fall.
Last, but not least is the success Tia, Todd and Mr. Basil have learned to get along so well. Here you see them napping together on the couch. The problem may be that Mr. Basil, the garden cat may end up thinking he's a garden dog, if that's true, however that will go on my failure list for the spring garden.
Over all, considering the aphids and the drought, three failures out of a garden full of successes is not bad for our fall garden. Like Confucius says, "Everything has its' beauty, but not everyone sees it."
Until next time.......
Happy Gardening 2012!
Posted by Wilma Smith