Squash: Year after year, all my squash plants succumb to something. This year I had vine borers in the heirloom Table Queen acorn squash as well as squash beetles later on. I grew Burpee “Pic-N-Pic” hybrid, a yellow crook neck summer squash, beside a row of basil plants. Squash beetles and vine borers moved in despite the basil’s aroma. The summer squash plants were poor producers…. Yet my basil did great.
Tomatoes: I had over 20 plants. Only a few were pretty enough to give away. Yet I canned more of these ugly beasts than before record keeping even began. Well, at least for me. Unfortunately, thanks to August’s rainy weather, my heirloom tomatoes succumbed to blight by Labor Day. The North Carolina bred Mountain series of hybrids such as Mountain Magic, however, still continued to pump out fruits. Why? This tasty hybrid is resistant to both early blight and late blight as well as other diseases.
We can grow things here we can’t in other regions. Yet at the same time the climate in Central Virginia is challenging for many cultivars. Even if you were born and raised in this area, new plant diseases, insect varieties and blights have emerged that weren’t common 20 or 30 years ago.
When the seed catalogs begin arriving in December and January, don’t forget what worked and what didn’t in your vegetable garden. For example I won’t be growing the heirloom tomato, Cherokee Purple again. I will leave that up to better growers, more patient than myself.