Well, the heat is setting in here in central Texas. Yesterday the high was 101 degrees! That means I have been spending a lot of time making sure the plants are all adequately watered. In addition to the heat, the squash bugs and stink bugs have been making a meal out of my tomatoes, and i have had a few problems with both downey mildew and powdery mildew on my curcubits (read cucumbers and squash).
For the stink bugs I read somewhere that they won't eat tomatoes that are covered in oil because of the scent, so I experimented with spraying my tomatoes with olive oil Pam cooking spray. While it worked to keep the bugs away from the tomatoes I sprayed, the leaves that we're caught in the crossfire ended up getting fried in the sun after a week or so. Luckily the tomatoes were fine and ripened well and there was minimal leaf damage. While I am not sure if I would recommend using Pam for everyone's tomatoes, if you are careful to keep it away from the leaves, it might be a good organic pest control method.
Now for the Downey mildew that has affected my squash (both my zucchini and yellow crookneck) I have just had to remove the damaged leaves before it spread. So far that has worked to keep a few of my plants alive. I also lost a few yellow crookneck squash to the squash vibe borer. I cut the borer out of the vine as soon as I saw the damage on the outside, but since the plants were so small, the slit in the vibe was too much and the plants wilted and died. As for the powdery mildew, I just found that on my lemon cucumber leaves yesterday, and since it has not been rainy here at all (just very humid), I think I have been over watering them. I cut off the infected leaves and then sprayed the remaining plant leaves with a milk and water solution. I am not sure what it is in the milk that is a threat to the powdery mildew, but people swear by it. So far it is working to control the powdery mildew from spreading. I used about a 20/80 solution of milk/water and made sure to spray the leaves in direct sunlight so the solution could do it's magic. I am also supposed to respray every couple weeks to keep the cucumbers powdery mildew free. I love simple organic cures like this!
Other than that, I have been picking peppers, beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes daily with the occasional squash here and there. And today one of my potato plants was looking like it was on its last breath, so I pulled it and got two baby Yukon golds! This is my first time growing potatoes, and I can't wait to grow more!
Here are a few pictures of the garden that I snapped today while watering and harvesting along with today's haul.
How is your garden growing? Any problems or solutions you want to share?