Tag Archives: vegetables

Common Problems of the Garden Pea Plant

July 3, 2012

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The humble garden pea (Pisum sativum L.) has appeared on the plates of farmers and beneath their children’s tables for thousands of years. This little green vegetable has endured countless botanical biopsies, genetic tinkering and domestic cultivation since 7000 BC, appearing on every continent of the world as food, fodder and forage. The pea is not without its troubles, however. Its primary enemies are fungal and bacterial diseases, usually caused by over-watering, high humidity or stress from inadequate growing conditions.

Blight, Fungus and Mildew
A myriad of fungal and bacterial diseases plague the garden pea. Most of these types of diseases appear during seasons of high humidity and excessive rain. Downy mildew is one of the most common pea diseases, causing the plant to curl up into stunted, discolored leaves and stems early in the season. Humid conditions cause the fungus to produce fuzzy fruits. Powdery mildew develops later in the growing season as a white powder that coats leaves and stems. Both of these diseases are spread by wind during dry seasons and turn the plant yellow. Myospaerella blight cause purple streaks or lesions on the entire plant, which eventually turns yellow and dies. Leaf and pod spot, caused by a similar bacterium, appear as sunken purple or black spots. Control the spread of disease by rotating crops and burying or burning infected plants. Never place infected crops in the compost for recycling.

Rot and Viruses
Seed rot and root rots are caused by fungi that lie dormant in the soil and strike the pea plant when environmental conditions are favorable. Most fungi prefer very moist soil conditions with warm temperatures and high humidity, but the common and very destructive Fusarium root rot thrives in warm, dry soil. Ascochyta foot rot and Pea streak causes purple lesions and streaks similar to Myospaerella blight, forcing the plant to mature and die rapidly. Control the spread of disease by treating seeds and maturing plants with anti-fungal solutions, crop rotation and sufficient air circulation between growing plants. Avoid overwatering especially during times of high humidity.

Deficiencies and Disorders
A plant that does not receive its basic needs — water, sunlight, soil nutrients — becomes stressed. A stressed plant is much more susceptible to pest problems and diseases. Most stresses occur over a period of time. While a temporary lack of rainfall or freezing temperatures can certainly damage the plant, these occurrences do not necessarily cause disease. Routine over-watering, poor soil and improper climate conditions invite disease and pests. Peas prefer well-drained soil, a cool growing season and nitrogen fertilizer in soils with low nitrogen content. They benefit greatly from drip irrigation as excessive surface watering encourage rot and the possibility of fungal disease. Therefore, while environment is not a direct disorder, environment greatly influences the common problems that strike pea plants.

The pea has few parasites that affect production but a stressed plant may be plagued by pests that spread more serious diseases. Aphids feed on the sweet sap and transmit Pea mosaic virus and the virus that causes pea stunt. These diseases are characterized by sudden malformations and blisters that appear on the leaves and pea pods. The Pea leaf weevil, native to Europe, chews on leaves and nodules leaving behind a characteristic scalloped edge. Avoid planting peas near clover plants, a favorite aphid food that encourages the pests to further spread to the peas. Spray plants with insecticidal soaps or foliar insecticides. Purchase virus-resistant pea cultivars.

I hope this helps you with your pea plants. If you liked this post, please share on Facebook, Twitter, or StumbleUpon! Thanks for reading.

Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Doperwt_rijserwt_peulen_Pisum_sativum.jpg.

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Just a Little Walk Around the Gardens

October 26, 2010


We’re in the bowels of autumn now. I tore myself away from the computer to go out and see how my gardens have been doing. I ignored them ALL spring and summer. Thank God gardens bounce back. I will attend to them in the spring.

My Secret Garden looks very forlorn.


Leaves collecting on the porch steps. I had every intention of painting the porch this summer, but the kitchen renovation got in the way. lol. I am glad we did the kitchen, though. It needed it. The porch can wait.


My turtleheads are tired. Their bloom time was short this year. I hardly noticed.


The Rose of Sharon pods. I love Rose of Sharon, but woo! can it spread. I did not pull out all the little saplings that shot up over the summer. Its gonna be fun yanking them out next spring. Looks like more are on the way, too. I like Rose of Sharon because the bushes grow thickly and shield the view of the neighbor’s buildings.


Overgrown Swiss Chard in the garden.


And poor, poor Livvy, stuck in the house while the leaves are having all the fun!


How does it look where you are?

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My Organic Seeds Arrived

April 21, 2010

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UPDATE! See what High Mowing Seeds has to say about my shipping and packaging complaint. WHOA!!! They rock!


I decided to go 100% non-Monsanto, 100% organic with the garden this year. No funky seeds, no funky fertilizers, no funky pesticides. It’s expensive to go organic, lol. My seeds from High Mowing Seeds, a small seed distributor in Vermont, came in.

I’m really happy with the selection of seeds, and am looking forward to planting them… but I’m a little disappointed by the packaging and shipping. I spent a whopping $11 for shipping. For that price, I nearly expected a valet to come to my front door, to roll out the red carpet and unload the packages into my gardening shed. OK, maybe a $3 sturdy box. But this is what I got:


Maybe I’m being a tad fussy…. I’m used to paying HALF that amount in shipping and getting TWICE as good a package. The seed packets were all smashed into this thin little envelope. I haven’t yet checked all the seeds in the envelopes to see if they are crunched. I have a husband who works for the post office, so I know how packages get a severe beating through the mail system. I’m kinda disappointed. Hopefully, the seed quality will be spectacular and more than make up for the pitiable shipping.


Anyway, they are here. I’m really looking forward to planting leeks and kale this year! And cabbage! I’m trying out a lot of new things this year:

  • Giant Chard
  • Red Cabbage
  • Cucumber
  • Siberian Kale
  • Collards
  • A large selection of lettuces
  • Leek
  • Muskmelon
  • Snow pea
  • Spinach
  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini
  • Roma Tomato
  • Rutabaga
  • Basil

They had no Romaine lettuce, so I need to obtain that from another company. I also plan on getting marigolds to keep the slugs at bay. And I’ve got some potatoes ready; the kids may want some pumpkins and I do want sunflowers again this year. Sunflowers do well here. This is what we got the last time we planted them.


It’s been cooler at nights again (high 30s), so I have to delay the seed planting until it’s a bit warmer. We also have to till the beds yet. The Hubs and I spent an afternoon replacing the rotted old wooden boards with new ones.


Lumber prices are CRAZY. Why are they jacking up the prices THIS year?!?! Don’t they know I have a ton of work to do?! :-p These six 2 x 6 x 12s cost me $60. Ridiculous. I could only replace one bed. *whine snivel*

Well, I’m going to be pulling out some plaster and lathe this weekend. Just a little. I’m going to be testing out my plumbing skills with the washing machine set up. Mmmmm… I’ll have more on that later. Please PRAY for me!

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The Last Few Projects

October 7, 2009


We’re attempting to wrap up a few things around the house and yard before winter’s icy grip. It’s been raining non-stop for a few days, and the garden is a large patch of mud right now. I managed to get out between showers and dig up some potatoes. We still have about 10 hills of potatoes, waiting for us to pull them out.

Potato Harvest

I’m also very happy to say that the living room now has window trim! I pulled it off when I gutted the living room two years ago, and we never installed new trim. My husband did the work. He’s very good with detailed work like this; unlike me, who is a “big picture” person. Doing meticulous stuff like trim work drives me nuts!

Window Trim1

I have to caulk the gaps and paint the trim yet… […]

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Harvest Time

August 27, 2009


We spent some time today out in the gardens, now that the humidity is down and it is FINALLY not raining. The weather is gorgeous– sunny, crisp air, and 70 degrees! I’m loving it!

We checked the condition of the vegetable beds. I haven’t spent nearly enough time in them this year. That, and the late frost we had, soaking constant rains, and the humid blast we had last week had been really rough on the poor plants. It was painful to wander back there and see them struggling for life.

My zucchini didn’t make it. This is the first time in all my years in New York State that we have had this happen. Zucchini is the staple of any vegetable garden, usually producing woefully excessive amounts of squash to share. This year, we probably got a dozen or so fruits out of FIVE plants. Usually, I’d probably be getting 5 times that.

Zucchini Blight

The root vegetables turned out very well, as they usually do. I harvested half my potato patch today! And we pulled out a few Monster Turnips. Look at these things! What on earth am I going to do with them?! And there are about 15 more in the garden, still!

Potato Patch

Bucket o Taters

Giant Turnips

Speaking of giants, we spotted this humongous fly on the fence. NEVER seen one so large! Yuck!

Giant Fly

Best of all, there’s my grape vine. My beautiful, beloved grapes! *sigh*

Reliance Grapes

From what I hear, many gardens across the U.S. have not fared too well. My tomatoes did poorly, but I don’t eat tomatoes much, so I didn’t care. I’m very sorry to see my zucchini die, though. How did your garden do?

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Tomato Blight Plague Comes from Supplier

July 7, 2009

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ORISKANY, N.Y. (WKTV) – There’s a disease that’s hitting tomato plants across the northeast and it may have found its way to your own garden here in Central New York.

Officials out in Oriskany from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County say the big box retail stores in our area : Walmart, K-Mart, Home Depot and Lowes all had the same supplier of tomato plants, a company from the south. That company had plants tainted with the disease called “late blight,” a fast spreading disease that will kill your plant and any plants near it.

Will someone please tell me why ALL the major Big Box stores get their tomato plants from the SAME SUPPLIER for the entire Northeast?! Stupid! Sheesh, now even our plant suppliers are consolidated! Ugh!!

My tomatoes had vicious blight last year– I am sure they had the blight before I bought them, because as soon as I got them into the ground, they turned brown and died. (I’d bought them from WalMart. I’ll never do that again. I think WalMart is getting too big for its britches, selling everything under the sun. Next thing you know, they’ll be doing piano lessons). So this year, I got the tomatoes from Lowes. I don’t know why I even buy the plants- tomatoes grow so easily from seed. I’d composted some tomatoes in my large compost pile a year or two ago, and added the compost to my garden. I guess the seeds didn’t compost, because that year I had dozens of little tomato plants growing in the garden beds everywhere. From now on, I’m just going to grow from seed.

If you have bought tomato plants from these stores, Miller says “really keep an eye on them and look for any kind of pale greening, wet soaked areas on the leaf tips and especially if they have started to turn brown and dispose of them as we have talked about.” Miller says the proper method is to put the diseased plant in a dark colored plastic bag, put that plastic bag in another dark plastic bag and leave that in the sun in order to kill the spores. Once that is done, you are ok to put that with your other yard waster to be taken away.

If you want more information, check out the Cornell Cooperative Extension site.

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Victory Gardens are “In” Again

April 17, 2009

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As much as I hate to call gardens a “trend” (I think they should be more a “lifestyle”), the Victory Garden of the 1940s is having a comeback. The nice thing about dirt is that it’s everywhere. šŸ˜€ And where’s dirt, there can be a garden!

Some call them “recession gardens.”

Others label them revivals of the Victory Gardens, an early 1940s campaign that helped people put more food on the table during hard economic times.

Whatever the label, one fact is known _ people are growing more of their own vegetables this year.

Seed specialists like Burpee report vegetable seed sales are up 25 to 30 percent, and local garden centers support that claim.

Seeds can be an economic way to begin a garden but National Gardening Association experts advise gardeners to be realistic about their expectations. A $70 investment in a garden yields about $600 in produce for the year _ not thousands like some seed companies claim.

Gardening is a lot of work, don’t be fooled. But it is WORTH it. And it has many more benefits than eating fresh veggies. It teaches science and botany to the kids, it gets everyone out and exercising, it saves money, there are fewer chemicals and toxins placed in the ground, and eating veggies is much more slimming than ingesting those weight loss pills.

I have my “seed stash” all set this year. I bought extra seeds, too, for emergency planting if necessary. I just don’t trust the government or the food supply (those nasty CAFOs) anymore. I’m a long way off having a bomb shelter, but I really believe we need to prepare for the worst (at any time, really), and it’s high time to get off relying on the government and their Big Business Buddies for our food and basic needs.

My Seed Stash

Another thing to think of is that gardens and local food supplies can benefit the entire community– you can always trade your freshly-grown cantaloupe with your neighbor, for his eggs from his chickens, or your other neighbor’s apples from their fruit trees.

I can’t see anything but good that can come with independent gardening: good for the gardeners, good for the community, good for the nation!

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Buying Seeds Online

March 10, 2009

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I’m a little late in my garden-planning this year. I usually have the beds all mapped out by February. But it’s been a tad busy here and I haven’t even thought about gardening yet! :-O

But now I am starting to gear up. I’m going to keep things simple this year. Whereas I exprimented with some new varieties last year (like Adirondack red potatoes), I’m going to plug in good ol’ white potatoes, basic zucchini and yellow squash, leaf spinach, etc. All the boring but yummy stuff.

While I was thinking about buying my seeds, I figured I’d share with you some of my seed-purchasing resources. I usually order my seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, but due to budget constraints and no specialty gift cards this year, I’m going to go with bargain seeds. Here’s a listing of some good seed companies to buy seeds.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds (they tend to be a little pricey, but they do have sales– and their quality is amazing)
Burpee (I’ve never ordered from them online before, but I’ve purchased them locally; I’m going with Burpee this year)
Henry Fields Seeds (I’ve never ordered from them, but they look good)
National Arbor Day Foundation (they have trees and shrubs, fruit trees, etc)
Park Seed Company (new to me, but they look good)

If you know of any great seed/plant stores, please feel free to share in the comments section!

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Play With That Food!

October 9, 2008

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This video is called “The Vegetable Orchestra” and shows people making and playing vegetables as musical instruments. As I watched it, and had to wonder: is this for real?! Are they really making clarinet sounds with that carrot, or has it been overdubbed? It’s a rather long video, but the most interesting part is when it shows them making the vegetables into musical instruments.

Something about it irks me, though. I think it’s because it seems wasteful. Who knows, maybe they have a vegetable pot luck dinner in their las vegas suites after the concert. I certainly hope so.

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My Tater Plants

July 21, 2008

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My garden is not as varied and not as luxurious as last year’s. But pardon me if I brag a little about my potato plants. Aren’t they gorgeous?! I planted almost an entire bed of them– they are Adirondack Reds.

These are the seed potatoes when I planted them in May.

tn_Red Taters

I’ve never planted this variety before, and never even eaten them! Can’t wait to sink my teeth into them!

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