Tuesday, July 27, 2010

i got problems

lately some of my tomatoes have been looking a little rough. and my radishes have failed. and my cucumbers gave up all together.
it's all my fault. not the plant's at all. i have been to lazy to look any of the symptoms up before they worsened. and honestly i am ok this year with the failures. i am just happy i am getting some fruits and veggies this year, seeing as though i did not even think i would be gardening at all in my new spot. just being able to organize all my plants and watch them grow and flourish for at the very least a month was gratifying, and i am satisfied with the results i have had so far in my new space.
now next year these mistakes will be unacceptable. i gotta learn from them. and that's really why i started this blog (besides for bragging!). i wanted to keep track of my setbacks, issues, successes, and so on by logging it in the "journal" for my future growth and hopeful success as a gardener. i certainly don't expect people to be reading this for the enthralling text, as i completely suck at writing. blegh.

ok so down to business. i scanned two tomato leaves displaying different symptoms:
the above image displays some yellowing and browning of the leaves. they completely dry and shrivel up. i thought this was because of the intense heat and my not watering them... but now i am not so sure because of the next image below...

on what is an otherwise perfectly healthy tomato leaf, there are little whitish spots. in my limited knowledge i automatically think its powdery mildew. but i don't think that would cause the appearance in the first image...

also my purple cherokee tomatoes have not produced any fruit. i am guessing that is just a nutrient deficiency and i need to figure out which it is.

ok...so possible problems... and organic treatments...

  • leaf curl: described as the leaves curling upward and yellowing on the outer margins. fruit production drops and flowers fall off. 
    • treatment: there is really no effective treatment for this. 
      • bummer. but i don't think this is really the culprit, so no biggie. 
  • nitrogen deficiency: described as the plants yellowing and having poor growth. 
    • treatment: add organic matter (such as my worm poop), keep soil properly aerated, maintain ph of 5.8-7.0, and maintain adequate moisture.
      • ok. so this is a definite maybe. what i can realistically do here is add the worm composting and worm pee i have collected. but as far as aeration and ph. forget about it. i just am not there yet. maybe next year or the following. i am just not that level of a gardener yet. adequate moisture i can do better at. i've got to stop watering when the sun is beating down.
  • potassium deficiency: this is what i think may be effecting (affecting?... i hate these two words...)  the purple cherokee. potassium is necessary for formation of flowers, leaves, and fruit. and since my plant has really no flowers or fruit, this seems most likely. the plant looks great other than that.
    • treatment: kelp and seaweed. 
      • guess i need to go to the beach and collect some!!! always a good excuse to go to the shore!!!
  • calcium deficiency:  described as yellowing in the leaves, then browning. can cause blossom end rot. 
    • treatment: eggshells and oyster shells.
      • so i am really liking this organic treatments, i will totally go eat some oysters for the sake of bringing home the shells to my garden. sweet. 
      • by the way, i do think this is the problem with my yellow pear tomatoes, as i have seen a few with blossom end rot. 
now, as far as the powdery mildew...i just don't know. it could be that... but i can never quite figure it out for sure (i have had this problem before..) i just looked on the back of the leaf and i can see the tiniest of raised specks. first thought- aphids. but they are much tinier than the aphids i am used to seeing... oh snap! just did some research... spider mites! i think it's spider mites!! the pictures i googled seem convincing. garlic seems to be a repellent to them... i can also make an insecticidal soap. dang. i feel good now that i know... but i think its gonna take a lot of care and attention to kill those little suckers. ugh. i feel all itchy now thinking of tiny ass little spiders crawling all over my tomato plants and maybe even on me. ewwwwwwww.

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