Moist

I’ve read that “moist” is one of the most hated words in the English language. This summer I’m starting to understand why. The moist weather and moist air are a bother for some crops. The trouble I am having with my onions has only gotten worse.

Black Onions

All of the yellow Spanish onions lost so much foliage I finished pulling them all this weekend. The red ones seem to be more resistant but they’re succumbing, too. It was disgusting. Every time I touched them clouds of black spores would billow up. They are curing in trays under the umbrella on the deck and I’m hoping this won’t affect their storing abilities. I have no idea. 2014’s last onion is sitting on the counter waiting to be used.

The garlic was infected with something, too so I’m not exactly sure if it was ready to harvest or not. I knew it was getting close so I dug it all in one session. Last year we had too much and this year there is even more! I need to look back in my records and see how much I grew back when we didn’t have enough and figure out a compromise.

Tomato Stems

The tomatoes aren’t liking it so moist, either. Back when they were just big enough to do so I started plucking off the lower leaves that were showing signs of disease. Fungal spores can splash their way incrementally up a tomato plant from the ground. That’s why I use straw mulch instead of leaves from the community pile. I eventually had them limbed up pretty well—think miniskirt instead of ball gown. They’re still yellowing and spotty.

The last several years August has turned dry. I’m sort of hoping that happens again, although it’s too late for the onions and the tomatoes appear to be robust enough. The other crops don’t seem to have any complaints about the moisture. Some things I grow are absolutely loving it, but that’s a topic I’m working on for a future post.

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Trouble in the Onion Patch

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I pulled the first onion today! It’s a good size and the top had definitely fallen down which is what I take as a signal to harvest. Lots of onion leaves are toppling.  Whether that’s a good thing, I’m in the process of looking up right now.

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There’s something that looks like a fungus attacking the leaves of the onions. It seems to be spreading from one area making me think it’s something that’s spreading by spores helped out by the near-daily showers we had in June and the cool weather that’s been hanging around. Preliminary investigations are leading me to believe we’re not going to be eating our own onions for a full year like we have been until now.

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I also took a leek in the garden Winking smile Every year I’ve been ignoring them until they’re big monsters so I’m making an effort to eat them as the season goes along. Fingers are crossed that this disease won’t attack them, too.

There was insect activity today, as usual. I’m slowly working at learning what some of them are and, more importantly, who’s a friend and who’s a fiend.

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An obvious friend was this bumble bee hard at work pollinating the tomatoes. Look at that load of pollen!

Bee on Cilantro

This little solitary bee was one of the critters feasting on the cilantro flowers. First, I hadn’t realized how pretty cilantro flowers were until I started looking at these pictures. Second, see her cute little tongue probing the bloom?

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Here’s another angle so you can see how she carries pollen on her leg hairs, not all packed in a ball like the bumble bees and honey bees do.

Fly on Cilantro

This fly was visiting the abundant cilantro flowers, too. I can tell it’s a fly and not a bee because its eyes meet at the top of its head.

Bug on Cilantro

I almost didn’t notice this bug on the plants nestled between unopened buds. There were several of them just hanging out. I saw one on a pole bean tee-pee, too.

Grasshopper on Squash Leaf

This little grasshopper, on the other hand, was easy to spot on a squash leaf.

I’m really enjoying observing and trying to photograph the insects that I’m encountering in the garden. Discovering the burst mode on my phone’s camera has helped a bit in photographing them. It also means I have dozens more images to sort through to see if anything is in focus. There was an amazing fly with a ridiculously long nose working the cilantro blooms that I just couldn’t get because it was moving around so fast. That will be the next challenge to overcome.

For the time being I’m back to researching onion diseases. My fear is that they won’t keep as long as they would have otherwise or, even worse, they’ll need to be discarded right away. Wish me luck!