We are definitely nearing the end of the busy gardening season. This week in the garden, the zinnias and the roma tomatoes have come to an end. The zinnias have been looking pretty pitiful ever since the powdery mildew showed up a few weeks ago. The roma tomatoes could have lasted another week, but the temperatures are so cool that they would not have ripened.
We picked off any tomatoes showing a hint of color, as well as the green tomatoes that were of mature size. The plants went to the compost bin and the cages went into storage. We could leave the straw to decompose into the soil, but we prefer to put it in the compost bins instead.
The butterflies are enjoying the zinnias in the garden, so you’ll have to suffer through several butterfly pictures. Hopefully you won’t find it to be too torturous!
A special thank you to Monarch Z. Butterfly for graciously allowing this photo shoot.
Have a great weekend!
Last week, one of our Master Gardeners asked, “Why don’t the zinnias in the Demonstration Garden have powdery mildew? Zinnias always get powdery mildew!”
My brilliant answer to that question was, “Well, for some reason the weather has not been as good for mildew this year. Let’s not complain!”
Of course, no sooner had a I said that, then I saw this out on our zinnias:
Yes, my friends, that is none other than the pesky fungus, Powdery Mildew. This fungus shows up on the leaves first, looking like spots of talcum powder. The disease will eventually spread to the flowers, then kill the plant.
Powdery mildew is particularly fond of cooler, low-humidity weather. That would explain why we are just starting to see it now. If we really wanted to fight the disease in the Demonstration Garden, we could spray with Immunox or some other fungicide. However, we’re near the end of the growing season. It’s probably just as well to let nature take its course at this point.
The mildew is showing up on the ‘Benary’s Giant Mix’ Zinnias, which is an older variety of zinnia with no resistance to the disease. You should be able to find zinnias to plant that are resistant to powdery mildew, but ‘Benary’s’ is THE BEST zinnia for cutting flowers. It will be interesting to see if any of our other zinnia varieties end up with powdery mildew.
The garden has changed a lot this week! The hot weather is pushing things along, so there are some exciting things happening!
This is easily #1 in the exciting category! The first ripe tomato! (Well, not counting the tomatoes in the hanging baskets.) This is a Golden Rave Roma tomato. I expected it to come in first in the ripe tomato contest. Exciting!!!
The Master Gardeners were hard at work earlier this week getting the tomatoes and eggplant mulched. We use wheat straw. The mulch will help keep the soil cooler and evenly moist now that summer is upon us.
Everyone stay cool this weekend!
Things are looking lush and green!
Have a great weekend!