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Garden trouble

Trouble on the winter squash front!

First, I've got -- surprise! -- mildew, after this wet June.* And one the squash that just sprouted, too. Looks like the same kind I had last year, and every year, except it hit the plants as soon as they came out of the ground.

So, I sprayed them with milk last night, like last year. Fertilized them, too, on the theory that they need to be strong to resist, and thinned them out. No results yet, but we can hope....

Also, this year something new! Little beetles are eating the succulent undersides of the leaves.

On the other hand, the tomatoes, so far, are doing fine.

And the beans are growing. Do I need to train them up the poles, or do they figure out how to do that all on their own?

NOTE Just don't golf t this one, mkay?

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FeralLiberal's picture
Submitted by FeralLiberal on

Just enough support to get the tendrils twining and the beans will start climbing on their own from there.

Submitted by lambert on

Tie them onto the poles? (I thought they put out tendrils that poked around until they found something to tendril to...)

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Truth Partisan's picture
Submitted by Truth Partisan on

Wow, I have never heard of spraying milk to stop mildew. Wet milk or dry milk? What's the theory?

If you don't spray--even organically--you might want to pick the little bugs off the bottom of the leaves. If they are there eating other bad bugs, hey, it's a bug eat bug world. But if they are there eating the leaves, you got trouble.

If you gently uncurl a tendril and coax it around the support, they will, after a few hours, start clinging to it on their own. If you find them reluctant, tie them on--you can even use twist ties from plastic bags or bread--and they will start tendriling up (professional plant jargon there) to maximize their bean-bearing abilities on their own. When you attach the tendrils with wire, string or twist ties, do NOT do it too tightly as you can accidentally cut the plant. Did you say it was scarlet runner beans? They are wonderful and notorious, the smallish flowers are so red, and they will cover a lot of support--like a porch if you have them in enough daylight and fed and watered enough.

BoGardiner's picture
Submitted by BoGardiner on

"Wow, I have never heard of spraying milk to stop mildew. Wet milk or dry milk? What’s the theory?"

I'm guessing it's the same theory behind blackspot, a rose fungus. Lowers the pH as the milk sugars reduce to lactic acids, creating a hostile environment. The sugars are sticky to boot, so may adhere during rain.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Poor little things, no actual brain, they need some help. From your photos the plants are near stakes, so as they grow just pick them up gently and wrap them around the stakes. By and large, they will follow the sun and the force of gravity and climb. Those that do not, you will have to direct them by hand.

If you want to get fancy, buy some cheap sisal or cotton twine and make a lattice from pole to pole, horizontal connections about a foot apart. At the end of the season, turn the twine under the ground along with the dead vines.

The beetles are a problem, and you may have to spray. The alternative is to wait for some prey species to catch up but by then you may have lost your crop. There are several pest identification sites online, plus call your local ag extension and describe what you've got; they can help you identify what you're dealing with and give you some options, although they'll probably advocate spraying.

Mildew is endemic in your climate and apparently the spores are well established in your garden soil; you've either got to switch to resistant cultivars or get out the big guns - or both. If the milk treatment doesn't clearly help in a few days, you'll need to use chemicals. Copper sprays are effective and the least damaging to the environment and yourself; IIRC you used some last year.

Keep a sharp eye out for hornworms on your tomatoes; that will be your next plague.

FeralLiberal's picture
Submitted by FeralLiberal on

is nylon stockings/pantyhose. Cut into strips and tie loosely around the stem and support. If the wind or growth moves the stem the tie will stretch and not damage the plant.