We all experience a time when our garden is downright ugly!
There will inevitably be a a point at which your garden will decline. It may turn downright ugly! However don’t be discouraged it’s totally normal. Unexpected things happen. Maybe it’s an intense storm. Maybe it’s a really bad period of drought. Maybe it’s just the time of year when warm season gardens begin to decline.
Whatever the reason don’t be discouraged. We all go through it. It’s important to remember that it’s either temporary, or it marks the beginning of the next season!
It’s now mid-July and pests are ramping up. On top of that there was a tropical storm that hit Delaware that left us with over three inches of rain in one day. This created the perfect opportunity for disease to set in. The picture above is one day’s worth of waste removal. I took out half a bucket that day and thankfully it was mostly dead flowers and yellowed leaves. However, the day before I took out an entire bucket of dead and diseased leaves. I had so much squash beetles that I had to remove. Powdery mildew had set into a couple of my plants.
I had a rough three days having to pull out, in the end, three buckets full of plant material. My plants had taken a beating and it showed in my garden, but by the end of the three days there was far fewer squash beetles and new leaves and fruit were appearing.
Yes my garden looked very bad, but it is temporary. With work, my garden will recover. Despite all of the damage from pests and large amounts of rain, my garden is still producing. My melons and okra have begun to flower, and my tomatoes have all set fruit!
If I had just given up because my garden looked ugly and diseased I would miss out on all that is taking off now. Patience and forgiveness are so important when you are growing food crops.
If you notice your garden is struggling, make sure you’re even more attentive to your plants’ needs. I noticed that I was starting to get a bit of blossom end rot in my garden due to the large amount of rain I got diluting the calcium in my soil. So I had to go out and apply another round of gypsum. Yes, it took extra time, but it will most definitely give my plants more of an opportunity to recover and heal.
Fertilizing helps so much too. Your plants have to be all the more strong in order to get over the hard mid-summer hump. Inconsistent rain can drain nutrients out of the soil which can cause deficiencies which make plants more susceptible to pests and disease. Much like we take vitamin C in the winter to boost our immune systems during flu season, plants need a strength boost.
There will be times when your garden is going to be unsightly and look half-dead. The important thing to remember is to not throw in the towel. Plants are strong and they will hold on and produce as long as possible. With a little extra care, your garden will recover. The end result (the harvest) is well worth being patient when the going gets rough.