ShareThis Page

Saturday essay: A garden blight

| Friday, July 19, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

The promise of spring has turned to the sobering summer reality that this will not be a banner year for the garden.

Blight slowly but surely is eating its way up the tomato plants. Neither pruning nor fungicide applications have arrested its march. The bumper crop of last year will not be replicated.

Oh, there will be tomatoes. Even the affected plants will produce some. And a separate bed planted after the Memorial Day weekend cold snap appears clean. For now. But with nothing ripe as the fourth week of July bows, to use the word “harvest” would be a blasphemy.

The decision soon will be made to cut the losses, yank, bag and dispose of the infected plants, treat the soil and sow fall lettuce.

The green beans, too, are kaput. They appeared to turn quite hardy after May's cold. But blooms were few and far between. And in a matter of a single day, blight reared with its telltale spotting and yellow leaves. An entire bed of beans has been disposed of. Fall lettuce already has been planted early.

Not all, however, is lost. The peppers, in the greenhouse, have escaped the scourge and are producing, albeit late. The cucumbers, too, are behind schedule but soon will overwhelm. The first of the eggplant, this year's new crop, is about to be picked. Also in the greenhouse, the Swiss chard, arugula and celery — some “volunteers” from last season — continue to delight.

Indeed, more things grow in the garden than the gardener sows. This year, unfortunately, that also includes tomato and green bean frustration.

— Colin McNickle

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.