Monthly Archives: October 2014

It’s Mushroom Time In The Woods

Yesterday during my walk thru the woods, I took a few pictures of the mushrooms that have popped up all over the past few weeks.

These pink tops are numerous.  They just pop up and if there are leaves over them, they just push it all up out of their way, still hanging on the mushroom.

mushroom in woods
white mushroom with rounded top
tall mushroom with small button

The tiny red berries are dogwood tree seeds – this little guy is under a dogwood tree.
mushroom by dogwood seeds

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Buckeyes!

Today, when walking to the mail box, I saw them – six of them – clustered together under what I thought was a Firecracker plant next to the driveway.
buckeyes

Doing a bit of research I found that the Firecracker plant and the buckeye are the SAME plant.

These are large seeds – a bit larger than a whole walnut.  The buckeye at the top looks like it has already started t germinate.  In the top right is a part of the outer shell that holds 2 or 3 of these buckeyes together in their pod.  They reportedly aren’t viable for long so I planted them in small deep pots with potting soil.   If they sprout – they are said to have a 50% germination rate – I will plant them in a deeper pot.  I hope to plant them in the ground in the woods by late spring next year.

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What Is The Problem With These Broccoli Leaves?

Some of my broccoli seedlings are developing spots on the leaves.  They are mostly a black spot and gray on the bottom of the leaf.  This problem is affecting the bottom most leaves first and sort of working its way up the plant.  This problem is affecting only some of the beds with broccoli planted in and not other beds.

I can’t treat the problem until I can correctly diagnosis it.

broccoli leaf spots

This is the bottom of a broccoli leaf.  The leaf in the top right corner is a basil leaf.  The spots look different – probably another problem.

leaf spots on bottom of broccoli leaves

Looking online, I found 2 possibilities:  Downy Mildew – and alternaria.  Actually, it doesn’t resemble absolutely either issue, aka black leaf spot and gray leaf spot.

Downy Mildew  –  Peronospora parasitica

  • Gray-white sunken leaf spots which are often angular and restricted by the leaf veins
  • Leaf tissue around the spots turns yellow
  • Fuzzy gray growth can be seen on the underside of the leaves
  • Numerous black sunken spots can form on infected heads
  • Disease is common in cool wet weather

Black Leaf Spot/Gray Leaf Spot  –  Alternaria spp.

  • Gray to black round leaf spots with concentric rings
  • Leaf tissue becomes dry, brittle and often falls out, resulting in a ‘shot hole’ appearance
  • Leaf spots often appear first on lower older leaves

Neither of these symptoms absolutely accurately describes the problem, so I don’t know what to think. At this point, I can only hope that the issue stops racing up my broccoli plants. We had several days of wet weather, but are going to be dry for a few weeks – hopefully this will help.

Update- I did a bit of online research and decided to spray the plants in question.  I added 4 tsp of baking soda and 1 ounce of Need oil to a gallon of water (but only used half of it – put the other half gallon in a jug -hopefully it will keep for a week or so in case I need to spray again).   I sprayed the broccoli and cabbage plants with yellowing leaves.  I sprayed mostly the bottom of the leaves, but of course lots of the spray also got on the top of leaves.  I am a bit concerned about spraying baking soda on plants – previous experience has showed me that squash plants do not like this solution on their leaves.  Will update and let you know how this spray worked on the broccoli leaf spots.

Update Update- as of early December, these plants are under a plastic hoop cover.  There is very little trace of yellowing or spotted leaves, but the plants seem stunted.  Other broccoli & cabbages planted outside in the old tomato bed have grown taller than these, as have a few brocs in an adjacent covered bed.  It could be that two treatments killed off what I think was downy mildew, or could be the cold weather – we had to very cold blasts early in November – but for whatever reason, the surviving plants don’t seem to be growing as they should – in fact, they don’t look like they have gotten any bigger in the past month!  Also, this is the same half of the garden where my yellow wax beans that I planted in late summer did not thrive – DowAgriscience’s environmental toxin Aminopyralid revisited??

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American Sweet Gum Tree Seeds

Fall is the time to collect most tree seeds.  I have admired how massively enormous American Sweet Gum trees can grow.  I have some around here and it is time to collect the seeds and try to start some seedlings.  It can’t be too hard because we have little Sweet Gum sprouts all over the place.  Now, I want to start seedlings in the greenhouse and plant them where I want them to grow.

According to references, these seeds must be chilled for a minimum of one month to satisfy their dormancy requirements.  Then they can be planted.

I have 2 gum balls in this picture.  I picked them up off of the ground when they were green.  I allowed them to sit on the porch until they turned brown and the holes opened up.  While shaking the balls, along with the seeds a bunch of tiny brown flaky things came out.  I discarded the brown sawdust stuff and kept the seeds – which are the larger things at the bottom right.

american sweet gum tree seeds

I enjoy trying to propagate all sorts of plants.  This is the first time that I am going to try Sweet Gum.  To chill the seeds, I think that I’ll just put them in a small plastic zip bag – no perilite or peat moss – for a month.  I’ll leave most of them in the refrigerator and wait for spring, but as soon as they chill for a month, I can’t wait to get some into soil and see what happens.

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