The death of a garden bed

Yesterday I ripped everything out of my cucumber and zucchini bed. I left for Denver for five days, everything was plugging along when I left, but while I was gone we had three wet rainy days. During that time the infection crept up to head height and the mold was everywhere.

Zucchini with mold and possibly mosaic virus

Zucchini with mold and possibly mosaic virus

I spent two days deciding what to do. By that time it was obvious I would get no more fruit, the remaining cucumbers all had blossom end rot and the vines were dying, even though they will still trying to flower.

Piles of cucumber vines

I decided finally to give up on this season for that bed and just pull it all. Solarizing the bed, putting a thick sheet of clear plastic over the bed to trap the heat in the soil, should kill the virus and any other nasty plant diseases. Six weeks of 140 degree soil will speed decomposition and stimulate the good soil fungi too.

The bed with almost everything pulled

I also spent an hour or so yesterday trimming the non-producing tomato vines and re-tying the producing vines to the stakes. I also sprayed the whole tomato bed with Bt spray. I was really trying not to spray again but the caterpillars were completely out of control. Two different cutworms, cabbage loopers, and tomato hornworms have all been glutting themselves on the plants and the damn cutworms actually chew into the fruit. So frustrating. Now it’s raining, which means I’ll have to spray again tomorrow.

Showing cutworm damage on one of the tomatoes

Showing tomato cutworm damage on the tomatoes

I’m already planning the second season. The first year of Florida vegetable gardening has certainly been a learning experience.

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