Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017

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Greatness is forged in the crucible of adversity. Click to Tweet

It always happened without warning. Sometimes it progressed slowly, so I was lulled for a time into thinking, maybe it’s not really happening. Maybe it’s just me. Sometimes it happened swiftly, overnight, and there was no doubt in my mind that something had gone terribly wrong. It was always something different, something new. And it kept happening, over and over and over.

If greatness is truly born of adversity and suffering, then this year should be a walloping success in The Navage Patch gardens, because Mother Nature has pulled no punches and held nothing back in her merciless quest to destroy my vegetable garden. She is the giver of life, but She can be a capricious Bitch, when She wants to, and you don’t want to be in Her line of sight when She turns Her stink eye on you. Let’s take a look at some of Her dirty work this summer.

You may remember my post earlier this spring about the state of my vegetable garden back then. It was early May, and I felt like I had the whole thing figured out. We had just had a ridiculous early heat wave (with temps topping 100 degrees), and I, in my infinite wisdom (*ahem*), decide to plant most of the garden. In April. April! Okay, Okay fine. So, maybe I’m not the Smartest Man in the World. Nor the Best Looking. Nor the Thinnest. Nor the….ah, you get the point.

Anyway, after I planted my crops and fertilized them with a heaping load of righteous smug, the temps dropped. Really dropped. One night flirted with Jack Frost. Handan and I scrambled to cover my peppers. The next morning, the blankets were stiff with ice. We dodged a bullet there.

But my plants stalled. For over a month, they did nothing. I kept searching for a remote control, so I could hit the PLAY button. I was sure Mother Nature had hit pause and was now laughing at me while she showered sunshine and warmth on the rest of the world.

My poor peppers. Each day, I watched as their leaves turned white and fell off. My most precious plants were my Carolina Reapers. They are the world’s hottest pepper, and I had grown them from seeds I had harvested from some Reapers I had ordered online last summer. They were my pride and joy. I lost two plants entirely, and I had slim hope for any but the strongest, but even she had turned deathly white. I hoped she would forgive me before she died.

Our warm weather finally returned, and I kept an anxious eye on my peppers. My tomatoes were fine, my radishes flourished and my garlic was invincible. But my peppers just sat in their little plots, afraid to grow, terrified of the cruel world.

It seemed like weeks before I came out one morning and saw the first sure signs that they would live. It had rained the night before, and there was the gorgeous vivid green of new growth bursting from the tops of my Reapers. We had won the first battle. Many more remained.

My next crisis crawled onto the scene in June. Then they crawled right up into my fruit trees and started munching away on the leaves. Gypsy moth caterpillars. The name strikes fear into the heart of anyone who was around these parts back in the early 80s. I was only 9 years old, but I remember the summer of 1981 well. New England had an infestation of Biblical proportions. I remember sitting on my parents’ patio. The trees were full of so many caterpillars that we could hear them chewing. Their tiny turds fell like rain and played a pitter-patter counterpoint to their incessant mastication. My father put rings of pine tar around every tree in the yard to try to stop them from crawling up into the leaf canopy. The concrete foundation of our house – the part showing from the ground to where the siding started – was covered in a thick carpet of caterpillars, an undulating wall of brown and black horror. As a last resort, the men in the neighborhood pooled funds to hire a crop-duster to overfly their houses and spray the trees with a noxious chemical that would kill the vile things.

Everyone remembers that summer. By August, the trees in our neighborhood were bare like it was mid-December. Peter W. Orr of the National Forest Service said of the event: “This is the greatest defoliation or infestation that has ever been recorded in the Northeastern United States.” Fully half of Connecticut’s 3 million acres of trees were defoliated, and some communities and counties recorded 100% defoliation.

So when we see more than one gypsy moth caterpillar, we freak out a little.

I didn’t just see one. I saw dozens. And I saw webbed tents full of babies. They were everywhere. I studied each of my fruit trees: all infested except for my peach tree. Small miracles. I should have acted sooner. I didn’t fully appreciate what I was up against. I thought the problem might just go away.

I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing.

Until it was almost too late.

My first offensive, when I finally realized I had to take action, was to spray the trees with Neem oil. Besides stinking up the yard, this had no effect whatsoever. I waited a few more days, hoping that something would happen…something like, you know, dead caterpillars.

Nothing.

They seemed to be growing stronger and in greater numbers.

They were legion.

I turned to Amazon and found this stuff.

I mixed up a batch, and started spraying.

It seemed to be working.

I went out the next day to look again.

The caterpillars were dead! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! I chortled in my joy.

But much damage was done. I hoped my fruit would survive. Only my two Fujis and my peach tree gave fruit this year. The fruit is still there, and it is still growing. I just hope that whatever leaves remain are enough to nourish my sweet apples.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

Yeah, I need to prune that tree this winter, so it gets a little stronger.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com
Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com
Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com
Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com
Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

Astute readers will have noticed that the chewed leaves are not the only problem going on with those trees. There is also some other infection of yellow spots all over the leaves. And here is where I turn to you, my most learned and excellent readers. Starting with those apple tree leaves and carrying on for the rest of this post, you will be presented with a series of mysterious maladies that have befallen my plants and trees. I welcome any tips in the comments section.

Okay, back to the trees. My best tree this year is the peach.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

Except for a few of those spots, it managed to avoid the gypsy moths entirely and it remained free of Japanese Beetles.

The Japanese Beetle.

It strikes only slightly less fear into the hearts of New England homeowners than the gypsy moth caterpillar. Connecticut also had a few years of Japanese Beetle infestations when I was a kid. I remember one summer, it was so bad that the traps my father had set up around the lawn were totally full, yet the beetles still raged through our trees. My dad got two empty coffee cans and offered one to my sister and one to me. His instructions: go fill your cans with beetles. Upon our return, we would count the beetles, one-by-one, by transferring them to another empty can. We were paid 1ยข per beetle. Once our haul was tallied and our bounties paid, my dad took the cans to the rock ledge at the edge of the lawn, tipped a little gasoline in each can, then tossed in a match.

That was one of the best jobs I ever had as a kid.

While the peach tree managed to avoid the Japanese Beetles, the apple trees and, to a much greater extent, the cherry trees did not. In my last garden post, I showed a picture of my cherry tree, and I wrote that I thought it was dead. I was correct. I uprooted it and tossed it over the fence. Handan and I then replaced it with a Bing Cherry tree and a Black Cherry tree. Those trees wouldn’t give us fruit this year because they never blossomed, but they did give some great new growth. And that new growth was like ambrosia to the Japanese Beetles.

This is the Bing Cherry tree. I removed most of the destroyed leaves, so it doesn’t look as bad as it did a few weeks ago.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

These next photos are all of the Black Cherry tree. It got hit harder. It is much taller than the Bing, so it was harder for me to police.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com
Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

The only remaining bug was this guy high up in the canopy, so I had to crop the photo. Sorry for the crappy resolution.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

They did more damage than the caterpillars, but since the cherry trees weren’t producing this year, I wasn’t too concerned.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com
Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

Next year, I will be prepared for the beetles. I will have sprays and yard traps set up, just like my dad had back in the 70s.

Let’s move towards the garden now and check out my grapes. You may recall that last year I lost every damn grape to the Black Rot. This year, I started seeing signs of the rot almost immediately, so I kept a vigilant program of aggressive pruning. This eventually led to the removal of all new growth from an entire row (two plants) of grapes.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

The rot spreads quickly, and from what I understand, the whole area is infected. Next year, I will need to bombard the area with fungicide. For now, my other row is faring okay, but it, too, is infected, and I’ve removed a lot of infected material already. At this point I’m just hoping for a cluster or two of edible grapes.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

Oh, and if the Black Rot weren’t enough, my grapes were also infested with Japanese Beetles. When it rains, it pours.

And speaking of rain (and cold), I think that it may be responsible for what is currently unfolding in my pepper beds.

It’s been a weird summer. Temps have been cooler overall, and during one of the cool stretches, we had a lot of rain. When that all cleared, I noticed something was off with my peppers. I’d been growing them for a couple of years with zero problems, so I just assumed I was like the Mozart of gardening – just a natural genius at it. Until this year.

I went outside one morning to check on my peppers and saw that a few plants had droopy leaves that were yellow or brown or black around the edges. There were also piles of leaves under some of the plants. What the heck was going on? As the days passed, this infection tore through my bed of sweet peppers, and I had to pull three plants and toss them. I replaced two of them with big, healthy plants from Home Depot, and within a day, the new plants were infected. From what I gather, this is a fungus that can occur from over-watering (remember all that rain?) The result is death and there is no cure. They recommend pulling the plants and any fallen leaves and burning them or disposing of them far far away. Then they say to plant something else in that bed that isn’t susceptible to the fungus.

Fabulous.

I love gardening.

Well, if they were going to die, I might as well make them as comfortable as they can be before they pass. But I only think that is what is wrong with them. It seems like the most logical choice from the website of possible pepper plant problems. But given that the list of potential problems numbered in the hundreds, I may be wrong.

Even so, my hospice care seems to be paying off. The fungus’s spread has slowed, the plants are growing and flowering, and the fruits are ripening. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, because I really want some Carolina Reapers!

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com
Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com
Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com
Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

Those are my Reapers in front, and my pride and joy in the left corner.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

Isn’t she beautiful? I hope she gives me some flowers soon.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

So last year, I had no tomatoes.

Not one. Single. Stinking. Tomato.

No one knows why. It is a mystery for the ages. But it’s probably because we watered them too much. Anyway, I survived without them. This year was to be my big comeback! I only planted Romas (and Roma IIs) for canning and two or three German Queens for eating (they are the best).

Everything was great, until…

Until the stupid fungus that was destroying everything else in my garden and yard seemed to also attack the tomatoes.

Have a look, and tell me what you think. A month ago, when it wasn’t as advanced, Handan thought that it was probably normal, just the lower leaves dying because they are starved of sunlight. Those plants are packed in there pretty good, so I saw how that might be a possibility. But then it started getting worse. And here is how we look today. I welcome your insights.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com
Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

It seems like it starts with these leaf spots, and then it consumes the whole leaf and stem.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com
Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

But my Romas are starting to ripen! ๐Ÿ™‚

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com
Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

I’ve rambled on long enough, so I’ll quickly run through some of the successes.

First and foremost: my garlic! Wow, it kicked ass this year. I already harvested it, and it is all hanging around the house to cure. We are totally and completely vampire-proof!

I grew a few potatoes as an afterthought. I had some leftovers that had grown long eyes. I threw them out, but Handan saw them in the bin, pulled them out and told me to plant them. With no caring at all, they provided two great meals before I ran out. I also had a wonderful crop of radishes. They are so easy to grow, and the greens are fantastic with steak!

I planted a second bed of radishes that we use mostly for the greens.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

In front of the radishes are three eggplants, all doing well.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

I’m growing some rhubarb. Never grown it before. Never eaten it. Handan assures me it is good, so I figure I’ll make her a pie when it is ripe. But I don’t know when that will be. Any suggestions?

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

My beets are awesome. I’ve already pulled some, and they were delicious. If you want, I’ll give you a simple recipe for ribeye steak, dressed radish greens and roasted beets that will knock your socks into the next county. It may have been the best meal of my life.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

Yes, that’s corn in the foreground. I started a few seeds that had been lying around for three years. I didn’t know if they would sprout, but some of them did. Once I harvested my garlic, I moved most of the corn over there, and two next to the beets.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

We’ll see what happens! Two years ago, I grew some corn that I bought as small plants. I think I picked it too soon, because it was all starch and no sugar. Handan and Barish liked it though, because it was like the corn they have in Turkey (Glastonbury corn is much better – the best in the world!)

I planted some parsnips and carrots, but most of them got crowded out by some Chinese radishes that I tried to grow (I planted them in the wrong season, so they grew like The Hulk, but never gave any radish root). I pulled them out because they were choking off the light and spilling into my walkways. The others were displaced when I planted my potatoes. And still others died when my jerk dog, Penny, buried a rawhide bone in their midst.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

Hopefully, I’ll harvest enough for a meal.

I started a cantaloupe for Barish back when the weather was chilly. It lay dormant for a while, but now it’s going gangbusters. While it was dormant, I threw some old watermelon seeds next to it, and a couple of those managed to sprout. I know from past experience that those tendrils will keep traveling about 20 feet or so in all directions, so I’ll have to manage them carefully!

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

Another easy favorite of ours are sugar snap peas. They require zero attention, always seem to thrive, and give an excellent sweet treat.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

And last but not least, my blueberries. I promised you in May that I would have blueberries.

And so I shall.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

Oh, one more interesting thing I want to share with you. Maybe you could help me identify it.

I was pulling some weeds from the white stones of the garden, and I saw this little guy sticking up from some dense green leaves.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

I kept him, because he looked alien, and I thought he’d make a good picture. As he sat on my desk, I kept hearing the sound of something small dropping on the papers scattered on my desk.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

It sounded like someone was dropping a single poppy seed from the ceiling every five minutes or so. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I looked at the thing I had brought in, and as I studied it, it moved backwards all on its own! And then I heard the sound again. That’s when I grabbed my camera and put on the macro lens to have a closer look.

Can you figure out what happened? I’ll tell you after this pic.

Midsummer Vegetable Garden 2017 | Gypsy Moth | Pepper Fungus | Black Rot | Gardening | Fruit Trees | Apple Trees | Peach Trees | Hot Pepper Plants | Carolina Reaper | Japanese Beetle | TheNavagePatch.com

The leaves were drying and closing in on themselves, starting from the tip and moving down towards the center. When it would close around a seed, the pressure would build until the seed shot out like a bullet, and the recoil sent the flower scooting backwards just a fraction of an inch.

Mystery solved! But how cool is that? A bullet-shooting flower that moves on its own!




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29 Comments

  1. For black spots on my plants/trees I got this highly recommended fungicide from Amazon. Worked like a charm! Couldn’t get th links copy/paste with the links, but search for:

    Organix South – TheraNeem Organix Neem Oil For The Garden & Houseplants – 16 oz.

    Chapin 20000 Poly Lawn and Garden Sprayer For Fertilizer, Herbicides and Pesticides, 1 Gallon

    We saved our bushes, flowers, our trees and our garden with this! Hope it will help you some.

  2. Rhubarb is a perennial. You aren’t supposed to harvest any stalks the first year, then 1/3 of the leaves the second year and then 2/3 of the stalks after that. If I am remembering correctly the leaves are toxic. I am doing all this from memory as I had an amazing plant when I lived in California that gave me many years of deliciousness, however I now live in Arizona in the Sonoran Desert and rhubarb hates it here. I grow many other fantastic things but not rhubarb. I used to make a lot of Rhubarb Crumble from a recipe I got in Gourmet years ago. I couldn’t find a link to it online but if you are interested I could scan it for you. I is amazing.

    1. Shannon, this is excellent info – I had no idea! When it comes to gardening, I usually shoot first and ask questions later. I would have harvested all of it and ripped the roots out had you not told me! LOL, I should probably learn more about what I’m growing, but in my defense, Handan planted the rhubarb ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Re Japanese beetles, don’t wait until next year to go after them aggressively. They lay their eggs in lawn and you will have LOTS AND LOTS of beetle grubs munching on and damaging your grass roots before they emerge as beetles to munch on your garden. Re rhubarb, it is harvested in spring. Re your tomatoes, I also grown them very close together in planters. The secret is to thin out the leaves so there is good air circulation. Good luck!

    1. Hi Cristine, I have a lawn service that sprays for beetles, so I hope I’ll be ok for next year. That is another good tip about the rhubarb. So much I don’t know about it! My tomato plants are very tightly packed, so I think a good thinning is in order. Thanks for the advice!

  4. I have had great success with killing Japanese beetles at the grub stage. I use Bayer Advanced 24 hour Grub Killer Plus Granules (Home Depot.) The key is applying it to your lawn (where most of the grubs reside) and gardens. If your infestation is really bad, it may take 2 seasons to completely rid your landscape of these horrible creatures. There is still time to apply it this year–get a jump start on wiping out your population! I have had terrible success using the traps. They are loaded with a biological that actually attracts the the little bastards to your yard and makes it twice as hard to get rid of them as all will not be trapped and some will leave offspring. Then you get more grubs and double your population for next season. Wishing you the best of luck as you prepare for war against bugs!

    1. Hi Diane, that’s great advice about the traps – I didn’t know that! I have a lawn service that sprays for grubs, so I’m hoping that will do the trick. They are horrid things!

  5. STOP!!!!! PLEASE!!!! I know I’m going to sound like an aging old hippie but please bear with me and know, too, I am descended from generations of New England home gardeners. Also, I would like to speak for all the co-inhabitants of the planet who have serious reactions to man-made agricultural chemicals.
    I’ll start with the chemicals. No fight that takes Mother Nature head on will prevail. ‘Mother’ is the operative word. How well does bullying work with Handan? It should be a love story with your garden, too.The chemicals will remove the problems, mostly, but only temporarily. It will all be back with a vengeance if you change nothing else. If you make changes you won’t need all those ‘cides’. In addition, the chemicals literally poison soil, air and water. Chemical drift is a very real problem for anyone with a respiratory problems and near waterways it is a disaster.
    I’m going to say a bad word here: HOMEWORK. Your garden shows wonderful enthusiasm and effort. No sarcasm, it really does. However, it also shows a lack of basic garden education. A case in point is the tomatoes. It’s like Calcutta in there, it’s so tight. Begging for blight and fungus. Read Read Read. Take an extension class in gardening and gardening layout for your area. Make sure your beds have a way to drain.
    You absolutely have the makings of a wonderful gardener so it will only enrich your experience by gaining all the knowledge you can. Invest the time in learning and I can promise you martini evenings overlooking your bounty
    P.S. It’s a viola, probably a wild Johnny-Jump-Up.

    1. Okay, Derry, you win! I’ll give it a go without chemicals. But what is your advice to tackle fungus? From what I’ve read, it stays in the soil, ready to infect all future generations until the end of time. They make it sound as if nothing short of small-scale nuclear conflagration will destroy it.

  6. four years ago when we bought this house i went outside the backyard fence and laid down some wet newspaper,cardboard, and an old rug over the grass i read that this would all rot over the winter and that worms would love it and turn the ground into a casting full crumbly earth, we still mow the area lmao, since then my health has been shitty and all of my rose bushes get eaten bare by the japanese beetles that i tried to hand pick and squish or throw into a bucket of crap that killed the little bastards, my 2 hydrangeas only gave me one flower this year, but all of the trees we planted as sticks have grown tall and are doing good so maybe next year i will plant so i can have more stress in my life haha xx

    1. Chris, just plant the easy stuff that even I can handle with ease: garlic, potatoes, radishes, sugar peas and peppers. You’re in a hotter climate than we are, so your peppers won’t be temperamental little turds if the sun doesn’t shine enough.

  7. Oh the Japanese Beetle, beautiful and deadly. So the first year we had them, I also had some lovely red raspberries. I faithfully went out every night with an old cottage cheese container filled with water and a heavy dose of Dawn dish soap. Trying to be quiet, I’d knock those nasties into the soap water and feel like the victor. It worked as long as I kept up that routine and the month or so long season of the beetles passed without a lot of angst.

    Now, I have no raspberries for reasons other than the beetles, but they still visit every year destroying everything they can sink their chompers into. We’ve lost two cherry trees, I think one apple tree might not be coming back next year and the other apples look like lace. They are really bad this year, came late and are staying long. Our only defense has been to spray with a chemical. Not what we want to do, but botheration! We’ve worked and worked on nurturing these fruit and other trees. To sit back and let nature take it’s own way would leave us with nothing. Not going to happen in this house.

    The tomatoes look like some kind of fungus, I cannot think of what it is called though, so I’m no help. I have heard that rotating where you plant the tomatoes each year is supposed to help with that. So far mine look okay, although they need water. Oh and that one plant has the horn worm on it some where, only I cannot find it. Grrr.

    My peppers are mostly okay, except for four. They may have the same problem as yours.

    The alien seed pod at the end of your post does look like a johnny jump up. Plant it and see what happens! I always say gardening is a big experiment, be unafraid to try anything.

    Best wishes for an excellent harvest from what is left. Especially the peppers.

    1. Hi Kathy, it is so frustrating to walk out each morning and see those little guys munching away on my leaves! I will be rotating everything next year, and I’ll plant fewer tomatoes in that bed. The German Queens grew enormous this year! My peppers are holding on – the worst seems to have passed with that fungus. Still keeping my fingers crossed though! Good luck with your harvest!

  8. I hear you about fungus! The thing to remember, it’s always been there. I had started a my response and was starting to pour out my pearls of wisdom, when I had a thought! You are a hands on guy and hands on learning is the best. Barring that, face to face is still better than emailed advice. Right? Of course I am! So I looked up organic farms near you and low and behold you have an organic farm that likes to educate people! Wind Hill Community Farm looks to be an outstanding source of information for you and they are right in Glastonbury so they know every demon you deal with. They have a web site so check them out and tell me what you think.

    1. No, of course not, Derry! I didn’t answer your comment last weekend, and then it slipped my mind. Handan and I cleared out all of the diseased material from the tomato beds, so we’ll see if that helps. (There was a lot!). I will check in the windy hill farm and see if they can offer some advice. You could never offend, Derry! Handan and I look forward to your comments!

  9. Ooohhhh dear…I was almost crying for you-thankfully you put in some good news at the end and I felt better. I was getting soooo saaadddd! ? I do Hostas….we just moved to Oregon and I thought…aha..these guys are gonna love it here. Not happening! Breaks my heart..however calla lilies are monsters..so I will change my loyalties. Sometimes we just have to go with the flow. But your little areas look really tidy! And pleasant. Hang in there,oh and mix strawberries with your rhubarb…when you get to use it. My Connecticut grandmother and mother used to do that to make the tart palatable! ?

      1. Hey Greg…we did some fun shopping here….NOT! Went to buy a cra….uh…terlet……good gravy-who knew? I never thought about thrones before,but this is mind boggling! Makes you feel stupid…what you don’t know about old faithful! Too many choices! Tried to post a picture of the aisle full of thrones….yes,I took a picture! (Couldn’t post). Maybe you could do a post on what to look for…no,not how to use,thank you!

        1. LOLOL! I know, right? And you’re probably only looking at the standard ones they have at Home Depot. If you really want your mind blown, look into the toilets that Japan produces (they aren’t really sold here, except by specialty importers). As for our crappers, buy the best you can afford. The top of line at Home Depot can flush a pot roast – comes in handy if you have well-fed guests or children. You can pretty much toss your plunger if you splurge for the best.