Monthly Archives: October 2013

Anthracnose on Peppers

Some of my peppers appear to be afflicted with anthracnose, a fungal problem caused by Colletotrichum piperatum growth.  These are two peppers that never made it to maturity.  They were supposed to be Chocolate Bell peppers.  My Pimento peppers have also suffered from this problem.  I do not plan to save any Chocolate bell pepper seeds this year.  I have picked 2 Pimento peppers that were anthracnose free but I do not plan to save their seeds – I don’t plan to grow pimentos again for a long time.
anthracnose on peppers

I throw these diseased peppers out in the trash, or burn them.  I do NOT compost them – I don’t want to spread the fungus all thru my garden by way of compost.

Other peppers have been affected to a lesser extent.  Only the fruit seems to have problems, not the plants themselves.  Early in the growing season I did have a problem with my pepper plants – they were too light green and I seem to have corrected that issue with fertilization.  This would mean that my plants were stressed all thru the growing season, along with being planted later than optimal.

Doing a bit of research, I have found that chili anthracnose disease/Colletotrichun is a big problem world wide and that pepper production is severely infected by anthracnose which may cause yield losses of up to 50%.  It can survive in and on seeds – so I only save seeds from mature, healthy peppers.

I have researched the subject, but can only guess that the spores blow around and land on the plants and then do their damage.  I have to think that my pimento seeds may have harbored the problem because last year they were severely afflicted with anthracnose.

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One More ‘Return from Death’ Story, Basil This Time

I let basil growing in my smallest raised bed dry out during the heat of the summer.  The box didn’t have much organic matter in the soil, just mostly sand.  As such, nothing in that bed grew very well.  OK, the plants dried out, leaves dropped off and all that was left was the stems.   A week of rain came.  The basil recovered.  You can see the brown stems and green shoots growing out from 2 sides of the old branch.  Look at all those beautiful green leaves – they went into several batches of basil pesto.  Follow up the branch with the orange circles, and you can see the brown dried seed head.  All these beautiful green leaves are new from what I thought were dead plants.

basil regrowth

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First Year Fig Recovered from Apparent Death

I got careless and neglected to water these first year figs for a day in the hot summer heat.  The leaves dried up to a crunchy green dead leaf.  I figured the little thing was dead.  After a few days of rain, I noticed tiny regrowth of leaves sprouting on the branches.
first year figs regrow

The fig tree on the left, the one with the lighter green leaves, is the re-sprouted tree.  I am so happy this little tree came back.  Now, until I greenhouse moved over here – I miss it so much!!! – I am trying to figure out how I can keep these tiny trees warm and alive over the winter.

(I collect and propagate little cactus.  These cactus are also anxiously awaiting the arrival of the greenhouse.  They need it’s shelter, especially during the winter.)

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Squash Blossoms on the Compost Pile

An interesting thing here – I pulled out most of my summer squash plants because with my limited space, it is time to plant my winter garden.

I tossed the pulled squash vines on the compost pile and the next day I see these blossoms on pulled plants.  It amazes me how much life is still in pulled plants.

squash blossoms on pulled plants tossed on compost pile

By the end of the day, lots more waste was tossed on the pile and covered these blooms.

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A Load of Horse Manure

My raised beds are filled with poor, sandy soil so I had to do something to get a serious amount of organic material into the beds.  My solution? A ton or 2 of composting horse manure from a local stable.  The trailer was fully loaded and piled high when I pulled it in.  It took me about 4 days of serious shoveling to get the other poop out of the trailer and into the beds.  I shoveled more out than is pictured.  Have to find a good place to store the rest until next spring planting.  I lined the trailer with an old tarp so as to not mess it up too much.
trailer load of horse manure

I put about 6 inches of horse manure into this bed and turned it in.  This picture shows that I still had a few more inches to add to this bed.    Since I had more horse manure than expected, I filled each bed to the top edge.

manure turned into garden

Another bed with the poop turned in to the soil and filled to the top edge of the bed.  Notice the prolific blooming of the morning glories in the back bed.

horse poop turned into garden soil

Put a few wheel barrows of nastier horse poop ( had beg clumps of hay in it and some that didn’t smell quite so composted) into the compost pile.

Horse manure is high in nitrogen, so hopefully the leafy greens that I grow in the winter – kale, lettuce, spinach and swiss chard will use up the excess nitrogen.  I don’t want an overload of nitrogen in the soil for the spring planting.  Too much nitrogen will produce lots of green plants and little fruit – so I am hoping that it will work out well for the winter leafy greens.  Will keep you posted.

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Onion Seedlings A Week Later

The onion seedlings are growing fine.  I’m not sure how I will handle them.  I’m thinking I might let them grow where they are for a few more weeks or so – unless they look like they are getting to long.  I might then transplant them into the garden.  The onion sets that I buy from stores seem durable – but those little plants are larger than I imagine these seedlings will be.  I plan to eventually plant them around the garden and leave them until they – hopefully – bulb this spring and mature.
onion seedlings  - a week later
Playing this one by ear.

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Morning Glories In Full Bloom In The Cooler Fall

These morning glories slowly and steadily grew their vines throughout the summer.  They didn’t set many flowers in the Spring because with our move, I was so late in getting them planted.  However, with the cooler Fall temperatures, they are now in full bloom.  Just a half dozen vines yield dozens of beautiful blue blooms every morning.

morning glories wide shot

Closeup – notice the blooms ready to flower the next day:
morning glories

Each bloom area has at least half a dozen blooms that mature one or 2 at a time.
morning glories

Beautiful blooms!  These are heirloom Clarks Heavenly Blue Morning Glories.
morning glories

Look at all those blooms!  These vines should bloom until the first frost kills the leaves.
morning glories

I should get plenty of seeds for next year.  One problem: there are smaller purple morning glories that spread their seeds all over the place.  I am forever pulling them out of my garden.  I am sure there has been some crossing, so I might have some unpleasant surprises next year!

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Onion Seedlings from 3 Year Old Seeds

I had always read that onion seeds (along with corn), are short lived, that they are viable only for about a year.  So, I cleaned out my old seeds and planted most of some old packs.  I planted all of a pack of Victory Seed Company, White Sweet Spanish, packed for 2009,  Red Burgundy, also from Victory Seed and dated 2009.  Also some Violet De Galmi from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, packed for 2010 and some Red Creole Onion also from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and packed for 2010.  It looks like at least half of the seeds germinated.  Awesome!  (I keep my seeds in the refrigerator).
onion seedlings

Closeup:
onion seedlings

Onions go to seed their second year.  If these seedlings grow to full bulbed onions this spring, I plan to leave some of the nicer, larger onions on ONE variety to go to seed.  Onions will cross, so only one variety can be allowed to go to seed each year.  I will let these seedlings grow to maybe 3 or 4 inches, then transplant them to larger pots and let them grow for a while until I plant them.  Maybe . . . I need to just roll with things and see how the seedlings grow and how severe our winter is.  It would be best – in a mild winter – to get them into the ground before the end of the year.  If the winter is too severe, I may shelter the seedlings and wait until very early next year and plant them in the ground.  In either event, onions don’t bulb out until the days reach 12 hours in length in the spring.

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