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Plantidote of the Day 2011-05-26

twig's picture

love in a mist

Special Lost Mojo edition

That little container was supposed to be full of Love-in-a-Mist flowers by now. But this year everything in the garden is failing big time and I have no idea why. Normally, Love-in-a-aMist is a no-brainer to grow -- sprinkle the seeds around, cover them lightly and pretty soon you've got flowers. Not this year. This year I got ... mushrooms!?!? But wait -- it gets worse!

Here's the latest shot of another garden staple ...

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A week or so ago, that was a nice, healthy catnip plant. Normally, catnip grows here like a weed. Not this year, obviously. Various other seeds sprouted, then mysteriously withered away or were eaten by snails, slugs (new this year!) or who knows what.

Granted, it's been unseasonably cold here in Zone 10, but not thatcold! Of course, it could be me. At best, I'm a mediocre gardener, but this is a new all-time low. Anyone else having trouble getting -- and keeping -- plants going? Let's commiserate!

Readers, please send twig ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chanterelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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Submitted by gob on

My seeds have rotted in the ground. The ones that came up got overrun by, of all things, pillbugs, as well as slugs. (Net wisdom says, yes, this can happen. So do my eyes.)

Cold, wet -- black thumb has nothing to do with it.

Off to buy another seed packet as things have warmed up and anyway I'm an incorrigible optimist. But I don't know where to buy hyacinth beans; I hope I have enough survivors to propagate for next year.

Then there are the aphids that mysteriously attacked a pepper plant seedling waiting for transplant, and the fsm-knows-what that decapitated its neighbor. But this is just normal attrition, I guess.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

I had to look them up because I didn't know what they were, but if they taste as good as they look, I hope they come through for you!

Using sprayed on ammonia/water and sprinkling paprika around the sunflowers and peppers kept the snails away, but then something else started chewing on the little leaves. Maybe it's aphids -- I forgot about them :-( Dang! I'm about ready to throw in the trowel!

Submitted by gob on

I've never tried to eat them, but the internet says they are mostly used for cattle fodder, and recommends doing all sorts of things to take the bitterness out if you insist on eating them.

But they are darn good for covering fences! Beautiful color in leaves, flowers, and pods.

jerztomato's picture
Submitted by jerztomato on

Is anyone having a successful (garden) spring? My garden is 4-6 weeks behind schedule. My tomato plants got too big for my kitchen, so I moved them to the greenhouse, where they will stay all summer , since it's never that warm here. But now there's some yucky gray fungus on the spinach and lettuce in there and I hope it doesn't affect the tomatoes! All in all though, I'm thankful . What a minor problem when comparing it to the tornado devastation in other areas.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

My tomatoes got to the size of mothballs and stopped growing (and they're not cherry tomatoes, they should be much larger). Maybe because it hasn't been warm enough here? Thank goodness for farmers markets!

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

my roses have spider mites - I think that's what those little webs are!


Thanks for the good luck wish, I need it! And right back at ya!

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

if I asked whose garden is doing well.

You've got gray fungus, I've got mildew -- it just started two days ago on the squash leaves. Last year I tried every homemade fungicide recipe I could find on the internet and the mildew laughed at every single one. So this year, I'm going the professional, store-bought route.

Submitted by lambert on

On the other hand, last year was early!

We've had constant rain for May but, luckily, no tornadoes!

But the rule of thumb here is never plant anything before memorial day anyhow, so the only real effect of the rain has been on my spirits.

Also, I winterseeded again, and the rain didn't affect that. I was derelict in the spring, and only did eight jugs of squash, tomatoes, and cukes. If I'd been more effective, I would be in good shape.

The weather is predicted to be partly sunny with occasional thunderstorms. That, I can deal with...

insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

My garden has mixed results so far this spring. Great fabulous roses but also plenty of black spot. We got rain nearly ev ery day in March and half of April and it rained again yesterday. Here in wine country, we are usually into the dry season. My garden is being plagued by voles=tiny cute-as-a- button field mice. Chwing off annuals and perennial at ground level and let to die.
My cat can't keep up!

Cold soil temperatures was probably the reason for your catmint demise. I too had some in pots just wither away.

For the fungus in the green house, add more ventilation. I have a small fan that runs 24/7 in my greenhouse. That usually prevents the mold and fungus type problems.

Seeds for hyacinth:They are hard to find, but I found some at
Horizon Herbs web site. Botanical Dolichos Lablab. I first bought some while visiting Jefferson's Monticello. He grew them on a pergola trellis made from tree saplings! It was enchanting.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

some of my favorite succulents actually rotted this winter, the ground was so waterlogged. And we're still getting an early evening marine layer moving in from the coast with damp, cold air -- yuck! This is supposed to be a Mediterranean climate but it's getting more like Seattle every year.

A pergola made from saplings? I have to look into that, it sounds awesome!

Kathryn's picture
Submitted by Kathryn on

A lot of my herbs rotted, today I had to pull strawberry plants up for the same reason. But the hostas have gone mutant on me and are 3x the size they were last year. I'm just letting them grow together for now. But Lambert is right, in NJ really I should wait until June 1 -- but still, I've not seen this much straight up rot before.

Thanks for the shroom, twig!

Reading chicago dyke's post about what you can plant, when you can't grow pot, reminded me of foxglove. I absolutely love the look of an old fashioned garden, and foxgloves. Lots of different colors, massed in the background. But they are so toxic, deadly, that I won't plant them anymore.

Kathryn's picture
Submitted by Kathryn on

Love that tag, "miserable failure." Am gonna have to borrow that one myself, I am sure.