It seems like having your own land/garden means you're constantly working on "fixing" or "steering" or "preventing" things.... Some are pretty easy, and others stump me.
The tomatoes have been nothing but stress this year - more than any other year I've grown them. Things started off great with all the seedlings in the basement, but then there was The Great Die Off with wilting and aphid swarms. Then I bought replacements (which felt SO wrong), plus friends and coworkers helped me out in tracking down some of the varieties I just HAD to have. I thought I was all set - what else could go wrong? Well, after planting the tomatoes deeply, as I've always done, we had heavy HEAVY rains for a few days, and the clay just held the water in place. Here's what many of my tomatoes were looking like for the last couple of weeks:
Seriously - it looks like it's dying, doesn't it? And SOME of them had most of their leaves turn yellow. Thankfully things are finally drying out some, plus I'm guessing the plants are getting more established underground, and can hopefully handle the changes in the weather better. They're all starting to perk up, and it seems like none of them died off. The last round of tomatoes I planted didn't get the usual "bury them up to their neck" treatment, but instead I planted them on their sides, in trenches. They can still put roots out their stalks, but they're in the top layer of ammended soil, rather than deep down in the clay. Those plants with the trench-treatment are doing MUCH better!
Here you can see one of the Asian pears got chomps by a critter at a smaller size, and now that scar is expanding with the rest of the fruit.
Here's how I'm preventing this from happening without dousing the fruit in chemicals. At least THIS year it's a manageable solution since there's only a handful of fruit. Here's one of three or four fruit that are bundled in a little bit of floating row cover. They were swelling to the point where they'd filled out the row cover, so this past week I redid the cover to give them more space. I figure I'll actually have to cut bigger pieces soon!
This is an eggplant leaf with flea beetles. If you've ever grown eggplant, you've most likely had flea beetles. See all those little pale dots all over the leaf? Flea beetle chew marks. Little bitches. I need to decide if I'm going to try a garlic/jalapeno spray, or Neem. Heck, maybe I'll do some with one treatment, some with the other, and see what happens.
This is the White Spruce I got at the auction earlier this spring. It's color seems "off" - like a little yellowy? I've given it tree fertilizer, and an acidifying fertilizer (about a month apart). And still it just doesn't look happy. It's not dropping needles all over, so I figure that's a good sign. Any suggestions?
Here's the Asian pear tree that Doogie DEMOLISHED over winter. It was as tall as I am - but he chewed the trunk above the graft line, and then everything above that died off this spring. I cut it back, potted it up, and just waited to see what would happen. It's REALLY taking off - I've actually had to do some pruning to cut down the number of side branches - I want a good healthy central leader, and just a few side branches at this stage. You'll see I've even caged it to protect it from the lawn mower and from frisbee-chasing dogs! So what's the problem?
Well this ladybug beetle seems to THINK it's got aphids or some other critter. Since I planted it out in the yard, it's almost always had a ladybug on it, scouring the leaves. I've checked all over - no aphids! THIS week there's been a change. The ladybug beetle is gone, and now there's a bunch of little black crocodile-like ladybug beetle larvae. I'm half tempted to transfer some of them to other plants, but eh, I'm sure they'll be fine... At least they're a nice security system! No problem here!
And finally, the 5-in-1 apple tree. Something nibbled the top off the branches the same nite my willows got nibbled. Damn!! Ok, fine, a tree can came a comeback from something like that, even a small one like this. I've put a little hardware cloth around the top of the tomato cage just to play it safe... So what's the problem?
All of the leaves are starting to look like this! Is this just sunburn as we've gone back and forth from stormy to too-hot weather? Is this a bug/disease? I haven't been able to find anything in the books I got nor online. Help!! Do you know what's wrong with my apple tree?