Looking a Bit Rough

In my opinion, things are looking a bit rough out it the garden today. For some reason, cool temps with buckets of rain, followed by hot sun and wind is not a recipe for gorgeous gardening success!

The first thing I noticed when I walked out to the garden this morning is that about 25-30% of the sunflower seedlings are flopped over, almost like they are broken off at the base. Upon closer inspection, it appears that they are suffering from some sort of damping off type disease. The wet soils caused the stems to start rotting, and then they flopped over in the wind. We will either have to plant some more seeds or find some different flowers to plant in that spot.

UPDATE: Bob, our other Hort Agent said that he thinks it looks like sunflower cutworm that chews on one side of the stem and then the plants flop over. Could be possible. In any case, there’s not much we can do about it!

The other plants that I’m pretty concerned about are the peppers. They were a little too leggy when we transplanted them, and they haven’t really grown much since then. Granted, the weather hasn’t really been ideal for fast growth, but they are developing more flowers and little peppers that I really don’t want to pick off. However….I really think we’re going to have to if we want the plants to be in good shape going into the summer. Some fertilizer is definitely called for too!

Lots of things in the garden are looking (surprisingly) a little dry. I know that this is just because they are so used to being soaked after the last 2 weeks that even a little drought stress is hard. The plants probably suffered some root loss when the soils were saturated too.

Then there’s the squash plants. One variety, ‘Soleil’ yellow zucchini has a bright yellow leaf (like nitrogen deficiency) on all the different plants we have in the garden. Normally I would just call it nitrogen deficiency due to all the rain, give it some fertilizer, and let it go at that. In fact, that’s still probably what I’m going to do, unless something more drastic happens. However, another squash variety right next to it looks completely healthy! No signs of insects or anything else going on. I’ve almost had my fill of gardening mysteries for the year!

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on May 24, 2010, in Plant Problems & Diseases and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I highly recommend taking the first couple flowers off the pepper plant and then add epsom salts when other blooms start to form. It worked for me. This is the best pepper producing year I have had.

  2. My Swiss Chard has done the same thing as the sunflowers. Someday I’m going to give up on the stuff… we ate a few test leaves off some two years ago, and nothing since. They’ve invariably met with disaster: been invaded by ducks, pounded by hail, you name it. This year they’re apparently keeling over JUST BECAUSE.

    And yeah, I’ve been watering everything a bit, just because of the wind. I figure nothing’s bothered to set roots more than half an inch deep yet, and the winds dry it out that far down.

  3. Did you ever figure out what was happening with your tomatoes? I can’t even get my squash to germinate, let alone grow yellow leaves.

    • After sending a sample to the K-State Plant Pathology lab and having one of the K-State greenhouse professors look at it, the determination was that it was indeed a magnesium deficiency. No idea how it happened though! Happily, all the tomato plants are looking good outside now!

      I would plant your squash again…I think it’s just been too wet. The seeds are probably rotten or eaten by now.

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