It’s Been a Tough Summer

whitefly damage to tomato
Whitefly Destruction

In case the recent string of posts about garden pests hasn’t tipped you off, it’s been a tough year for the plants on deck. So tough that it’s too depressing to post the monthly update photo. So tough that the only remaining cherry tomato is the Gold Nugget, heretofore referred to as Champ. On the bright side, it seems that blights and fungi were largely avoided this year.

Anyone who says container gardeners don’t need to worry about bugs live  a charmed life.

Let’s see, a random nutrient deficiency finally slaughtered the Isis Candy (maybe copper, maybe iron, maybe potassium, maybe all of the above) and whiteflies took out the pampered Black Cherry (pictured left). Next year I’ll make up a batch of yellow sticky traps and see if that doesn’t do the trick. Aphids have taken over and samples of the brown marmorated stink bug have been collected. And oh, yeah, it’s been hot, hot, hot and dry, dry, dry.

And guess what? The rescued Black Brandywine isn’t looking so good.  Its calcium deficiency may be terminal but it’s got one lonely fruit that I’m unwilling to sacrifice just yet.

Whitefly close-up
Whitefly close-up

Each year I resist the urge to buy a pH kit to test each container’s soil as it seems just a little too garden-geeky, but let’s face it, the little blue deck has had a blog devoted to it for over a year. If that ain’t geekdom, what is?

Now, all hopes are pinned on the currently thriving Greensgrow Mr. Stripey. Cross your fingers, please.


6 thoughts on “It’s Been a Tough Summer

  1. I’m honestly sorry that you’ve had such bad luck. I have been complaining that *my* garden wasn’t up to snuff this year–we had a long, cold, wet spring that rotted out some young plants, and stunted the rest. I started my tomatoes in late January, but we only started gathering fruit a couple of weeks ago, that’s how far behind everything is.

    You definitely have my sympathies about the aphid problem. I don’t think I’ve ever cured a solid aphid infestation; that poor tomato plant.

    1. Thanks for the sympathy. It helps! I’m trying to be all optimistic — it allowed me to get my fall planting in without any guilty conscience. Right? (More on that in a couple days).

  2. Thanks for the kind comments! I’m afraid I don’t have a forum, but I’m happy to try and answer any questions I can, so please feel free to fire away. Basil generally does well with the heat, but may require twice daily waterings when the temps soar. It also likes full sun and can yellow pretty quickly if it doesn’t get it. About the ants, well, I think you’re probably right, but take a close look for aphids…Good luck!

  3. I’m so glad I found you! I am an avid urban gardener using every inch of my fire escape. I don’t get enough sun for most veg but have pretty good luck with herbs, flowers and an occasional pepper. Just recently I notice large black ants all over my morning glories. I’m not sure but my guess is they’re attracted to nectar and I don’t think they eat the leaves. (Though my fuschia has been attacked by leaf cutter bees – what pretty perfect circles those suckers cut!) My basil completely wilted this year and my nasturtiums and sweet peas succumbed to an as yet to be identified wilty-yellowing thing (probably some mildew.)

    I have tons of questions, always, is there a forum here for them?

  4. I’ve had bad luck as well. The harmful bugs have mostly stayed away, but I think diseases are affecting a lot of my plants. My tomato plants look like crap, and the growth of my beans seems to have been stunted. The Philly weather has only made things worse, but I’m not sure that accounts for everything. I also have an urge to check the Ph of my container soil.

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