Dear Friend and Gardener: June 27, 2014

Dear Friend and Gardener,

It was another hot and dry week in the garden. I fed the beans with some nettle tea to perk them up. I’m starting to see flea beetle damage but the plants are big enough to be able to withstand it, I think. I have also sown a second crop elsewhere in the garden in case these do surrender their fight before long.

The tomatoes are showing signs of ripening, particularly the Principe Borgheses. I am so ready for them! I love dried tomatoes, particularly in the dead of winter, but have never tried drying any of my own. Another kitchen adventure awaits. The basil tastes splendid and there is plenty of it.

I noticed a little mildew on one of my honeyberries the other day. I shall spray it with a little milk spray if it gets truly bad, but I’m willing to let a lot go for the sake of avoiding toxic sprays. It doesn’t look terrible unless you get up close, and if you get that close, well, you shouldn’t be walking on my garden beds to begin with.

I transplanted a few Blue Hubbard squash seedlings sown from the packets I got at the seed library. I have heard that nasturtiums planted with squash will help deter squash bugs. Do you know if this is true?

Hope your garden is giving you joy and lots of tomatoes.







Camellia leaf gall treatment

Every year, my Camellia sasanquas get leaf gall.

camellia funk

This disease is caused by a fungus, Exobasidium camelliae. Infected leaves become fleshy, thick, and discolored.

camellia petal funk

While disgusting to look at, the misshapen leaves don’t do any serious harm. The disease may be controlled by removing the infected pieces and disposing of them in the trash (not the compost). It’s best to do this as soon as you spot them, before the galls have a chance to fully develop and release their spores.

Moist and humid weather produces favorable conditions for camellia leaf gall to develop. We have certainly met those criteria this spring. I have never seen the disease on my japonicas (the spring bloomers); only on the sasanquas (fall bloomers). Take a look at your camellias and if you spot the problem, don’t reach for a spray. Just nip off the swollen leaves, clean up any that have dropped, and your plants will be happy again.