How would you evaluate this season, fellow gardeners? We’ve had our share of heat and humidity this year, bringing a surge of growth that left most of our gardens a living, breathing green mass of stems, branches and vines!
Not that we are complaining! Goodness no, it is a joy to see such luxuriant growth. But it seems that the humidity has brought problems of its own, and many fellow gardeners have told me they have the same situation in their gardens this year: some form of blight or mildew.
Once again, I turned to my handy little copy of “Ortho Flower Problem Solver” and found some information to share with you. Under the “problem” part of the page, I found this title: “discolored or spotted leaves: bacterial”. Let’s read on together. The book says that “spots enlarge and run together, giving the leaf a blotchy appearance. Bacterial spots can be found on all parts of the plant and are most often promoted by warm, moist conditions.” Plants affected included just about everything: annuals, perennials, biennials, and bulbs.
The “analysis” for the problem said that several bacteria cause the leaf spots and blight. The bacteria are spread by splashing water, infected transplants, and equipment that have been contaminated. Listen to this: the bacteria can live in the soil and in plant debris for three months or more! Leaf infections can also cause the leaves to drop on our plants. Because the leaves are part of the water-conducting system, we can see that the entire plants may perish.
The “solution” that the book gave was to remove and destroy spotted leaves. If the plant is very badly infected, the book suggests that we dispose of it entirely. As we could have guessed, it said to be sure to clean up any fallen leaves and other plant debris. We should also avoid overhead watering. (My dear Mom absolutely never watered anything from above: she would cringe when she would see gardeners spraying their plants with a hose, because she firmly believed that mildew or blight problems would result. It was more time-consuming, but she always watered her plants by dipping an old saucepan into a pail of water, and watering gently from the side, pouring the water on the soil around the plant, never on the plant).
Back to other suggestions in the book: it said to wash our hands after handling any infected plants, and not to take cuttings from any plants that have shown any symptoms. We should wash our garden tools after they have been snipping at infected plants. We should make sure that our plants have their own “space” to allow good air circulation. And if you have an especially prized specimen that you really want to save, ask at the greenhouse for a copper-based fungicide to stop the disease and help any new growth. All good points to keep in mind!
On Wednesday, September 19, the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society will be holding their first regular meeting after a summer break. Our special guest will be Warren Crossman speaking to us about “Heirloom Seeds and Growing Old Varieties of Vegetables”. Heirloom seeds have many special qualities, and Warren will have loads of information for us about how and why saving heirloom seeds is important. So mark that date down and join us at the Sunshine Room at SIGN on North Street. Everyone is welcome!
Then on Friday, September 21, it’s the Fall Plant and Bulb Sale, from 9:30 till 5 p.m. at the Parkland Mall in Yorkton. Mark that date down, gardeners!
Enjoy your garden, and have a great week!