By all appearances…Suncreek Garden is going to provide a bountiful harvest this summer.
Farmer Hubs and I have been extremely excited by the overall appearance of this years plantings. The tomatoes have grown by leaps and bounds and are heavy with fruit. The cucumber and squash plants are covered with an abundance of flowers and the veggies are beginning to mature. The bell pepper and hot pepper plants are the show offs and are almost ready for harvest. I would say that overall things are looking very promising.
However, upon closer inspection…Our garden is in the midst of a family crisis.
A few challenges that have popped up almost overnight…The cucumber plants are like unruly teenagers. They have a mind of their own are wandering here and there with no regard for rules or boundaries. Our beautiful over zealous tomato plants have come down with some sort of childhood disease…spots…Stemphylium Grey Leaf Spot! The tomato version of the measles.
Grey leaf spot is a fungal disease found in crops all over the world. The spores flourish in warm environments, where there is alternation between wet and dry periods. I have read that once the disease has set in it cannot be reversed. The main harm that the disease causes to the Tomato plant is it impedes the maturation of seedling plants. The expanding brown, grey yellow lesions on the affected plants slowly dry and leave holes in the leaves. In particularly severe cases it can cause the whole leaf to fall off. The loss of the leaves can result in the sunburn of the fruits. The disease in itself does not affect the fruit.
Our leaf spots only recently showed up…after our plants were fully matured. We believe the onset of our problem was caused by watering using a sprinkler instead of hand watering the plants at the roots. I have read that we should remove the affected leaves…but that would mean our plants would be left bare and naked…with no protection for the fruit.
We did not experience this with last years tomato crop. However, this year we chose to only plant heirloom varieties. I would have thought the older seed varieties would be less susceptible to disease. Only time will tell if we can overcome this gardening challenge.