Friday, July 23, 2010

lost the battle

Yep.  Last night we visited our plot, and as feared, our scallop squash plant had collapsed.  Two nights earlier, we'd noticed leaves wilting, and I'd noticed it had a squash vine borer.  I cut the stem to smithereens and nailed the borer I think, but it's hard to say whether the plant died from wilt or the borer or from the injuries inflicted with the razor knife.  Nevertheless... we're squashless now.  I would never have guessed that the squash would be such a growing challenge.  Looking around the garden at other plots, I've noticed that lots of plots have squash plants that are wilted, dying, or dead.  It's tricky here I guess.

We're still enjoying our little orange 'Sungold' tomatoes -- they have been steady producers and keep getting sweeter as the summer wears on.  Our 'Bella Rosa' and 'Pruden's Purple" plants have some big fruits that are taking their sweet time to ripen... they'll probably be ready about the time we leave town I'm sure.  Do hope we get to eat some before then though.  Recently, I had a big discussion with my Dad about "pruning" tomatoes.  (Dad, Karen: are you reading??  here is where I start to eat my words.)  He asked me if we had been picking off the little "suckers" -- the leaves that form in the crooks of the main stems.  Apparently, this is good-for-nothing tissue that only sucks resources away from the fruiting stems (hence the label, "suckers").  My (dare I say professional?) opinion was that with more tissue, the plant would photosynthesize more, make more sugar, and that would be allocated to fruiting.  A good thing, right?  And besides, our 'Sungold' plants are fruiting like mad, and we've not done a thing to them.  Turns out though, one of our heirloom varieties, the 'German' something or other, is doing nothing but growing green.  No flowers, and certainly no fruits.  And recently I stumbled upon a good article from Fine Gardening about pruning tomatoes.  I learned that this pruning business can be very complicated if you let it.  This article, along with my Dad's sage advice, makes me think this is what's wrong with our German.  I suppose the next time I talk to Dad, I will reluctantly admit to him that I should have been picking off those suckers.  He's right -- at least as far as some varieties go.  Maybe we'll make it out there this weekend and hack away at that plant and see if we can't get it to flower before football season.

1 comment:

  1. We pruned the heck out our tomatoes and hopefully we didn't go too far! Left you a voicemail regarding your big variety tomatoes--they are lookin' good!