Posts Tagged blight

The good, the bad, and the tasty

Spent a few hours out in the garden yesterday. We had our biggest harvest yet:

A couple pounds of green beans, a couple pounds of lima beans, and handful of blackeye peas, five spaghetti squash, five tomatoes, two zucchinis, and 5 serrano peppers, not pictured here as I gathered them later in the day. All together it was just shy of eight POUNDS of food! 😀

Those are the last of the spaghetti squash. After the heavy trimming a few weeks ago, the vines stopped setting new fruit but everything still on them ripened quickly. The rust was back in full force, so I harvested what was left and pulled out the vines. I also trimmed the zucchinis again, removing the infected leaves and leaving what looked healthy. I think they’ll hold out a while longer for me. Where the spaghetti squash had been, I spread a layer of coffee grounds and mulched to prep the bed for the next big thing. Later this week, I’ll plant soybeans there!

I pulled out some of the green bean plants too. I am confident now that my green beans have common bacterial blight. I’m also confident that it has started spreading to my lima beans.

I feel conflicted. I think I ought to pull all the green bean plants to protect the limas and tomatoes… but they’re still producing and I’m reluctant to rip out plants that are creating a couple pounds of food a week! I pulled out the row closest to the limas, the row where the plants are sort of falling over each other, and for now I’ve left the rest of them. When everything is spent – green beans, limas, tomatoes – I’ll solarize this bed through the hottest weeks of the summer and hopefully will head into the fall and winter with healthy disease free soil.

So this is two garden beds that have already experienced disease. Some of that is just life in Florida as hot and humid as it is. But next year I’ll do more to mix different vegetable types together and avoid the big solid patches I have here now, which should help.

In happier news, the new summer crops are doing beautifully. Here are my cowpeas just two weeks after planting:


The calabaza all sprouted, and I thinned them yesterday to one plant per mound.

The sweet potatoes are all growing nicely too.

The okra is doing beautifully, but I neglected to photograph it for you. I suppose that will give me an excuse for another post soon.

The peanuts I planted haven’t sprouted. I suspect a squirrel dug them up. I haven’t decided for sure whether I’ll try again, since I know the squirrels will still be there if I do.

Herbs I started a while back are doing well. Here are baby lemongrasses:


The passionvines that I’m allowing to run wild are blooming.

I haven’t seen many honeybees in the past couple of weeks. There’s still a constant flurry of activity from wasps and solitary bees, and all my veggies are getting pollinated. But I do miss the honeybees and I’m hoping whatever colony had been visiting me before is okay.

I think this is a solitary bee.

I think this may be a yellow jacket.

I try to do most of my harvesting and cultivating in the beds when the pollinators are less active. Sometimes I can’t help being out there when they’re busy. So far, none of them has stung me (and I’m really hoping they don’t… last time I got a wasp sting I had a welt that lasted a couple of months, so I suspect I’m mildly allergic). I make a point of moving gently and while I’m cautious, I’m becoming less frightened of them as time goes on, which is good.

The gnats are less willing to coexist with me. They insist on flying up my nose when I’m hunched over picking beans. I doubt any of them has survived the vigorous nose blowing that ensues. Not. Fun.

Last but not least, I think my Brandywine tomatoes are beginning to ripen. Very excited about that!

See that slight tinge of color? I think we'll start seeing the gradual fade to red soon!

That’s it for the time being. We’re feasting on fresh veggies and I’m already plotting my garden plans several months from now, as I think through where I’m planting now and what I’ll be ready to turn over in the fall. Good stuff. 🙂


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Is this blight?

Okay, experienced gardeners out there – my green beans have been experiencing some yellowing, browning, and curling leaves. The limas are mostly okay, but this morning I noticed they’re just starting to have issues too. I think it may be blight. It could also be insect damage or simply succumbing to the heat and drought, or it could easily be a lack of some important nutrient (cause let’s face it – this is Florida dirt). I welcome feedback from anyone with a bit of knowledge of this stuff.

A large section of the bed

Close up of some leaves showing typical damage.

Several of the beans have small darkish spots like this one, but no further damage (except where insects have eaten them)

Okay, other details: it’s getting up to the low to mid 90’s daily, and has only rained four or fives times all month. I was limiting my watering to the twice a week that I’m technically allowed, but they seemed to do MUCH worse and I have increased watering a bit to help them. I’m seeing more healthy green growth at the tops of the plants since I increased the watering, but the lower leaves still look… burnt. I don’t pick beans or rummage in the beds when the plants are wet. In terms of insects, the only harmful insects I’ve seen around them are the lubber grasshoppers. But, there could be other insects that I haven’t spotted or identified.

Any ideas?

Update: more research suggests a possibility

I’ve been scouring the web for photos of bean diseases and damage. This site has photos of bean plants with various nutrient deficiencies; the photos of potassium deficiency look a LOT like the damage I’m seeing – with some yellowing on the insides of the leaves, but mostly browning at the tips and margins of the leaves.

I’d like to know for sure. I sort of hate to treat for the wrong issue. Logically, a deficiency would fit the symptoms a bit better – because more water has improved, rather than worsened the situation. With blight, running the sprinklers can spread spores. For a deficiency, more water may be allowing the plants to get a bit more of the scarce nutrients in our soil. Maybe?

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