Six on Saturday 6/25/22

Joining the Propagator for another Six.

This time it’s five problems in the garden that I have yet to diagnose and address effectively and one montage of plants that are looking particularly lovely at the moment. I would appreciate any help with identifying what’s going wrong and suggestions of organic measures that can be taken.

1. Let’s start with the saddest case: my cistus has taken ill. While it has continued blooming, its leaves have been turning brown and falling off. The leaves that are still green also have a sickly appearance. My efforts at research turned up verticulum wilt as a possible culprit. I am becoming convinced that I will have to remove the entire plant.

2. The plants I have grown from seed have generally not performed well. Specifically, their growth appears to be stunted. I have identified several possible contributing factors: (1) insufficient nutrients in seedling mix; (2) waiting too long to transplant into larger pots; (3) competition among seedlings not thinned out; (4) old seed (in some cases).

3. Also very upsetting is my vegetable garden’s continued failure to thrive. The vegetables I grew from seed appear stunted, putting on little growth over the course of the past 2-3 weeks since they were planted out. Last weekend, I attempted to address a suspected problem with the exhausted raised bed soil by side dressing with some organic fertilizer. The fact that a skunk has been digging over the bed on a nightly basis has not helped matters any. I have also endeavored to water more consistently.

4. Salad burnet grew vigorously, then collapsed at the center in unsightly fashion.

5. Strawberries are generally nibbled on by slugs and insects before they can be harvested.

6. And now for the more visually appealing offerings. From upper left: Idaho gumweed (Grindelia nana), Penstemon, Kniphofia, pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana), blanketflower (Gaillardia x grandiflora “Goblin”), Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii), Santolina Chamaecyparissus.

11 thoughts on “Six on Saturday 6/25/22

  1. Cistus plant is a plant that I don’t grow because I don’t have the right soil. You need sandy and limestone soil and dry ground : here it’s the complete opposite. Maybe the reason for your failure comes from this?
    In any case with the #6 you show us some great successes and very pretty flowers ! ( I don’t know why I don’t have feijoa flowers this summer?? : in the past years I had a lot)

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    • Interesting about the limestone soil. I didn’t have any feijoa flowers last year. We had a relatively dry spring that year, whereas this year we got a lot of rain through May, so I’m wondering if that might be part of the explanation. Flowers or no, I have never had any fruit on my feijoa. Do you hand pollinate?

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      • Yes, I did and got 8 fruits (3 tasty, 5 medium). I learnt that some plants are self-fertile, some are not. Fingers crossed that yours will be! Don’t hesitate to brush pollinate them every day , for a few days, from flower to flower.

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  2. I can relate to at least 2 of the 5 problems: the slugs got to my strawberries too, I was lucky if I was able to get one or two half-nibbled ones and eat the un-nibbled half! And seedlings – yes I think your diagnosis is right, a healthy start makes a healthy plant. They don’t need much nutrition to start with, but if left to linger or over-crowded, they go all spindly reaching for the light and never really recover. I was given some overcrowded cabbage seedlings and despite much nurturing they never really made it and became easy prey for slugs and snails. I find sowing in modules rather than seed trays helps, as each seedling at least gets its own individual space. Love your Santolina, wish I could grow that here.

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  3. I was discussing potting compost here with friends yesterday and some of them were saying that some of the types seem to be getting bulked out with roughage which has little nutritious value for seedlings. But other than that I’m no help, sorry.

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  4. I’m glad number six ended on a positive note. That Penstemon is lovely. I think I leave some of my seedlings too long before transplanting them sometimes . My annual climbers (morning glory and black-eye Susies) are looking very ropey after a promising start, although a few are looking a bit better after a weak feed.

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  5. Your flowers look great. I have not seen a Santolina in years, love it. I had to look up Salad Burnet, it sounds wonderful. The damage looks like it came from the roots do you have nematodes or voles or something like that? I have gone to growing all veg and cutting flowers in containers and starting the seed in seed starting mix and then potting them up to six inch pots before planting in the garden. My garden soil is nasty. Sugar Sand.

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  6. Verticillium wilt is a possibility. I can’t grow Japanese maples here because of it, and even Smoke Bush (Cotinus coggygria) has the occasional branch wilt suddenly, especially if drought-stressed. Are there trees in the vicinity of the plants that aren’t doing well? I have two large Norway maples about 25 feet from my intended vegetable patch, which has since become a herb patch, because veg simply couldn’t cope with the invasive feeding roots of the maples as well as the light sandy soil. I suspected some sort of allelopathy as well, but have no proof.

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    • These are good suggestions. Of all the possible culprits I could find online, verticulum wilt seemed like the best fit for the symptoms I observed. I haven’t noticed problems with any of the surrounding plants, and the cistus is pretty far from any trees. Sadly, as the plant’s condition appeared to be steadily deteriorating, I made the decision to remove it altogether today.

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  7. I think you made the right decision by removing the Cistus, as unfortunate as it is. I’m not much help with the other problems either, except that I grow my strawberries in pots which works better than growing them directly in the ground. The Santolina is definitely the star of the Six!

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