The Garden Journal - June 5

Tragedy strikes! I'm afraid all our tomato plants may have the curly top virus....

There's nothing to be done - once they have it they won't produce much if any fruit and the only thing to do is to remove them. They get it from the leafhoppers, so there's no worry about spreading it through the soil, but it's good to get the plants out so the leafhoppers don't spread it from them to other plants. I don't feel quite ready to rip them out just yet, but unless they start looking better this week, I guess I'll have to buy all new tomato plants. It's too late to start them from seed - it takes so long for the plants to mature, I'd hardly get any tomatoes. The only way to keep the leafhoppers off is to seal them under a cloth, like the Reemay I used on the cabbages.

On the bright side, the marigold seeds I planted have already sprouted. You can tell they're marigolds by the tiny serrated true leaves coming out between the seed leaves. Last year I completely forgot to plant any marigolds. I wonder if they would repel leafhoppers - maybe I should have planted them sooner!
The yard-long beans have sprouted too! Beans are very gratifying because they are so quick to sprout and easy to grow. The trellis is re-mesh, my new favorite garden material - used for reinforcing concrete slabs, you can buy a 4x7ft section of it for $7 at Lowe's. It's also great for making tomato cages, because it's tall enough to support a great big plant and long enough to make a cage about 2 feet in diameter. And best of all, the holes are big enough to pull a 2-pound tomato through!

The strawberries are starting to go into full production, even though they're still such small plants. The sowbugs keep eating the bottoms off the berries, though! This mulch needs to be much thicker - two or three inches at least, and maybe that will stop the little buggers. This week I need to get out there and really mulch everything. I had been waiting for the spring winds to stop so my straw wouldn't blow away, but they seem to be continuing later than usual this year.

We love volunteers! Not sure what this is, growing next to one of Dave's chiles, but I'm guessing some type of melon or squash. Last year we had a gigantic kabocha squash vine growing out of the compost pile, across the yard and up the plum tree! It produced 6 or 7 healthy squashes and they were delicious. I've often had the yellow pear tomatoes volunteer in different places around the garden, and the arugula was great last year.

And to finish up this week's garden journal, one of my favorite plants, the walking onion. Dave's mom gave me a few of these several years ago, and they just keep hanging out, spreading and coming back every year. Aren't they beautiful? They're tasty too.


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