Category Archives: Weather

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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Overview Time

Time for an overview.  This garden, except for the peppers, has exploded in the past 3 or so weeks.

This view is from the center row, looking up at 4 raised beds – 2 on each side.  In the far set of beds, you can see the summer squash over flowing into the row between the beds.  Since I don’t have very much bed space, I planned to grow squash on each side of the raised cattle panels in the middle and allow the squash to grow over the side into the middle beds.

In the front bed on the right, you can see the cucumbers and the waltham butternut squash growing on the ground around the bed.  The left bed has chard and some poor quality tomatoes.

overview of garden

This picture is from standing at the opposite end of the garden, looking at those squash plants growing into the aisle.
overview of garden

It was very humid today and the camera lens fogged up on this picture.  This picture was standing just a bit over from the last picture.  The grass is in serious need of mowing, but it has been so wet this past week.
foggy lens  garden overview

A closeup of the zucchini and squash.  These are hybrid plants from Twilley Seed.  They grow larger than heirloom plants.  Some winter squash – butternuts – are growing up on the center cattle panel.  That is a pot of basil in the front corner.
overview of garden

The squash is doing great.  The peppers are a failure due to excessive spring rain.  The beans aren’t doing the greatest.  The chard has to be harvested soon because it doesn’t like the heat.

I mulch between the raised beds with wood chips and bark.

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Too Much Rain – Peppers Water-Logged

We have had a very unusual week of rain and my peppers don’t look too happy.

The new leaves, grown since the rain which left the soil in the beds drenched, are curled and deformed looking.
water logged peppers

All of the peppers in the raised beds have these curled, defective leaves.  The few peppers in pots that didn’t get rained on look normal.

Doing research, the most likely cause of these leaf issues are either too much water and/or temperatures too cool, which it is with all this rain.  Peppers like it hot and dry.  I have to hope that things will dry out and the peppers will grow back normally.  The beds are filled with fertile soil rich in humus and organic matter, so they drain well.  The problem is that it has rained just about every day.
water logged pepper leaves

You can see that the older leaves look just fine, but the newer leaves that grew during the rainy time are deformed.  I started my pepper plants from heirloom seeds that I save and use year after year.  Gotta hope these plants make – I’m counting on all of the peppers – AND the fresh seeds for next year’s plants.

The swiss chard and squash are loving this rain.  I’m not sure about the beans or tomatoes – they don’t look just great either.

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The Cantaloupe Story – From Eager Beginnings to Sad Early Finish

After an impressive showing by volunteer cantaloupe (that were surely hybrid) last year, I bought 2 types of hybrid cantaloupe melons from Twilley Seed.

Primo cantaloupe is a typical orange meat, beige netted skin melon.  It was supposed to be tolerant of powdery mildew – but that is not what I experienced this season.  The other melon I planted was Galia Passport.  These melons were supposed to look similar to cantaloupe and fully netted.  My experience, however, was that they grew mis-shapened with mostly smooth outside skin with an occasional raised netted vein in the skin.  None of them survived to harvest looking well enough to bother trying to eat, so I didn’t get to see their supposed green inside.  (That is a volunteer watermelon that you see growing in the melons – I harvested 2 edible soccer ball sized melons.)

cantaloupe planting
By mid-June, this is what the cantaloupe patch looked like:

cantaloupe planting mid june

By the end of June, the cantaloupe patch was still looking good – the leaves are nice and green and standing up proudly:

cantaloupe planting end june

Disease is starting – after an unusually damp week – the leaves are getting splotchy:

cantaloupe patch - disease is setting in

We got a few cantaloupe harvested – these couple had a soft end.  After I cut off the rotted section, the rest of the melon was surprisingly good.

cantaloupe - harvest
No saving seeds this season – this is all hybrid!

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Real Freezing Weather Has Arrived

Originally published Fall 2011

Finally, by the end of November, after Thanksgiving, REAL freezing weather has arrived. The late summer squash is gone, as are the peppers and even the sweet potatoes in the greenhouse.

Here are some of the late summer squash before the freezes: (The long vine growing on the right side is an unidentified winter squash).

late summer squash before freeze

The serious freezes finished off these squash. I covered them with a light horticultural blanket and they survived several light frosts, but a couple of serious freezes finished them off. I circled some of the fruit. This vine was very prolific – too bad it was planted so late in the season. This was a mystery left-over seed – but I don’t recognize what cucurbit moschata variety it is. None of these seeds came up in the spring and I’m not sure how this seed ended up in my left-over seed box.

late winter squash after freeze

This plant was an Eight Ball/Tonga zucchini. It was so prolific during its short life. Look at the center of the plant- there were at least5 more baby squash growing. In an earlier post I show a picture of the first fruit of this plant. I also picked several smaller zuches before the freeze. I left these babies because I deemed them too small to try to cook. If you look to the upper left, you can see a baby yellow straight neck squash. I harvested a few straight neck squash before the freeze. It is a real shame that squash plants don’t grow this well in the too-hot, too-dry summers around these parts. Oh, to be just a couple of hundred miles north – gardening would be so much better.

late summer squash after freeze

If you look back to the first pic, you will see a late season watermelon in the upper right. This melon was growing in the summer and survived the spider mites. It kept growing after all of the other melons were harvested and the vines died. But, alas, as the weather cooled into the 80s, it was too cool for the melon to thrive!! It never grew much and that fruit never got any bigger. Interesting. Everything in it’s season, right?

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Over-Grown After A Good Rain

Originally published summer 2011

We rarely get a real rain here in the summer.  These pics were taken a few days after a good 2″ soaker. The ground was so dry that the plants could have easily dried up and died.  After a good soaking rain – that soaks all of the surrounding soil and not just near the plant stem as is done with hand watering, these plants perked up and did several inches of growing. (Plants grow during the night, after a day making food via photosynthesis.)

Here are a few wide shots taken facing west while standing outside of the fence and by the greenhouse.  This first shot is of one morning glory plant that took over the garden fence and a squash vine that is content to grow on top of it:

Over grown after a good rain

This was taken a few feet down the fence, looking westward, into the garden.  In the fore front is the vining area where some winter squash and watermelons are planted.  In the extreme foreground, just inside the fence, is a small stand of Grey Goose Crowder peas that I planted in a small area after I harvested the English peas.  In the background you can see the tomatoes winding down. They rarely last thru our June and July of 100+ degrees.  It is time to take cuttings from un-diseased plants and root them, and start more tomato seeds.  I’ll plant some of the seeds that I saved this summer.  It is always a good way to test germination.  If you look closely, near the bottom left, you can see a red okra pod.  I grow okra because it is a pretty and interesting plant.  I don’t really care to eat them, so I leave the pods to harden and the seed mature.  I do save the seed and plant them the following year.

Squash perked up after a good rain

It had been so dry that I thought I might loose these winter squash, but after the good rain, they got a recharge and have set numerous fruit.  It looks like I will get some fruit from them.

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