When Something Goes Wrong In The Garden

My spring vegetable garden was doing very nicely. The tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, and cucumbers, all planted in containers, were growing taller each day. The plants were green, pretty, and blooming. Until one day I noticed the zucchini were dying as soon as the bloom dropped off. Was it blossom end rot? Fungus? As a Master Gardener, I thought I should know immediately what was wrong with my zucchini but I wasn’t certain. I was also irritated with myself for not adopting a spray schedule (more about that below).

I Googled images of zucchini with fungus, blossom end rot, and other deficiencies. It was most likely fungus. I had broken the rules to avoid fungus – over planted and watered at night. The overplanting was not exactly my fault. I sprayed our Perfect Blend (Spray-N-Grow, Bill’s Perfect Fertilizer and Coco-Wet) every 7-10 days. My plants were really big, too big for the bed. Watering at night was more convenient than in the morning. I broke a cardinal rule of gardening: don’t expect this hobby to be convenient. It’s rewarding, enjoyable, therapeutic but not convenient.

I started treating the elevated bed with the zucchini, squash and cucumber with Serenade. Fearful of losing my plants, I switched to Physan. We sell both products on our website. Serenade is organic and OMRI Listed. Physan is not as safe but biodegrades in 50 hours but it’s a last resort. I also thinned the bed and stopped watering at night. I treated all my plants in every bed and pot with Actinovate.

I did save my plants and prevented the spread of the fungus to the other elevated bed and containers. I could have prevented this gardening debacle with a spray schedule. Fungus and calcium deficiencies often become visible long after they start effecting plants. Going forward, I will treat my plants with the Perfect Blend, Serenade, and Actinovate on a regular schedule and add gypsum when I plant. I will also be armed with Take Down mixed and ready to use at the slightest sign of insects.

6/2/2017    Gardening Know-How