Community Garden Woes

While all of this rain may be good for some things – uhhh flowers? reservoir levels? gutter repairmen? – it has certainly hurt my garden more than it has helped. The Boston area has had the rainiest summer in many decades, and judging by the yellow and brown water spots on my too-small tomato plants, it has rained too much.

I thought things were looking up when the weather finally turned summer-like this week – all heat and sun and humidity, hooray! But on my most recent trek a few blocks away to the community garden plot to finally water it (after a few days of no rain – a garden needs about an inch of water a week, preferably over the course of a few days, not all at once) I noticed a not too welcome sight: mold. My otherwise lush bed of zucchini and summer squash plants, with a watermelon and cucumber thrown in, was more than halfway overrun with white mold spots on their leaves and stalks. My plot neighbor was there and said it will spread if I didn’t cut it back, so a fifteen minute visit to the garden turned into an hour long butchering session. Sadly a few plants didn’t make it – including my only fruiting summer squash whose bounty I had hoped would grow a bit bigger before picking. I also plucked a few zucchini whose mother stems I weren’t sure were going to make it either. The garden went from lush to lackluster.

But there is a bright side. Some leeks that were being shaded by the zucchs are now in full sun. I found a small tomato plant lurking under the leaves of a squash bloom. And my kind neighbor gave me enough pole bean seeds (fruits in 55 days – late September!) to plant three poles worth in what used to be a patch of orange blossoms. And I have three new squash to cook. My favorite recipe of late has been to roast them in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or so (cut in large chunks) and toss with a fresh dill horseradish butter. Now that makes the mold issues just a little more palatable.



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