My garden has been doing much better since the heat wave left. In August we got hit with 100 degree weather with 99% humidity – yikes! The plants didn’t like it at all. Watermelons developed black spot, pumpkin leaves got covered in powdery mildew, and tomatoes came down with blight looking disease that could have been septoria on top of bottom end rot. At some point I just gave up, stuck some fertilizer and some dissolved Tums in the soil and decided to let go.
Then a miracle happened! Once the weather let up a bit and it finally rained, tomatoes shot out a bunch of new growth. I gave them a “haircut”, removing all the dead and affected branches, and sprayed them down with some Daconil. The pumpkin got a good dose of fungicide as well.
Tomatoes started coming in like crazy! However, they did get hit with a hornworm infestation. Those huge green caterpillars love to munch on my green peppers too, what bastards! Fortunately, hubby likes to go on a hornworm killing spree every once in a while, so I am not stuck squishing these buggers all alone. Also, it turns out we have the Braconidae wasps who prey on the hornworms. A bunch of them had wasp eggs all over, yuck! Once the wasp larva suck all the life out of the worm, they hatch into more wasps and hunt down more green bastards in a horrifying cycle of life. Nature is truly relentless
Even with all those issues we still managed to can about 20 pounds of tomatoes, maybe more. Even though it is almost the end of the season, things started looking up a bit. I have two big pumpkins on the vine, they are threatening to collapse the fence, but I just can’t wait for some pie or maybe a good creamy soup. One of the pumpkins is almost entirely orange, it should be ready in a few weeks.
Peppers finally started coming in as well. We are going to pickle some jalapenos in half-pints for future chili and Spanish rice. We also purchased a cheap dehydrator at Aldi’s to try and tame the tomato explosion. Dehydrated tomatoes will eventually get ground up into powder to be used instead of tomato paste. Genius!
I redid my next year’s garden plans about 5 times already, trying to adjust for the optimal drip irrigation system layout. So far it looks like we will need to drop about $100 or so into this project. This isn’t too bad for something that is going to help the yields and my sanity. No more early-morning waterings, excess moisture on leaves or washed out roots! I got this. Of course once I install the system we will get a super wet summer and it will not get used even once. I just know it.
So far I give myself a B- on my first garden experience. So many issues could have been avoided if I just researched a bit more. This is all going into my big book of “Things I Learned for the Next Year”.