Cutting My Losses with Melons and Beans

| July 28, 2015 | 8 Replies

Cutting My Losses with Melons and Beans – It seems the garden was healthy and lush for way too brief a time this July. The start of the month was stupendous and I was filled with expectation of two months of production before issues took over. In spite of all that I have learned in these three years of gardening, my desire to plant still surpasses my ability to maintain. And powdery mildew spores are here ready to spring into action at the slightest opening. A few weeks of June gloom was like a written invitation to move in and bring all their family members!

Cutting my losses with melons and beans - vines

Powdery mildew coated melon vines

After the sun went down and it was cool enough to work, I somehow crawled into my packed parkway last night. First, I had to eliminate the Contender beans which had developed blight. (See how things looked on July 2. The Kentucky Wonder plants are looking good, BTW.)

Cutting my losses with melons and beans - contender

Contender bush beans with blight

Funny how when leaves become unhealthy, pests invade as well. I’d never seen such an intricate pattern of whitefly on the back of one leaf.

Cutting my losses with melons and beans - whitefly

Spiralling whitefly on bean leaf

The blight had spread to my Scarlet Runner beans as well, but I’m madly trying to save those vines. The Contender are bush beans and had about exhausted themselves anyway.

Cutting my losses with melons and beans - blight

Blight on Scarlet Runner bean leaf

On hands and knees I wriggled up to, and squeezed around, the White Star eggplant, and trimmed most of the Collective Farm Woman vines, which were coated in powdery mildew. Even after spraying with Neem a couple of times to beat it back, the unexpected, rare, but most welcome, rain event last weekend spread the spores like mad, and I could take it no longer. I accidentally clipped a vine with three melons on it, but managed to salvage one, though on the small side, that seemed ready. Then, I sprayed the very few leaves and vines I allowed to remain with Neem oil.

Cutting my losses with melons and beans - melon

Collective Farm Woman melon

I sliced the melon open the next morning and it was perfect. The seeds were sent to me by my friend, Bob, in North Dakota, and I didn’t know what to expect. The flavor (and scent) is rather indescribable, very sweet.

Cutting my losses with melons and beans - sliced melon

Cut Collective Farm Woman melon

I look forward to seeing if the vines rebound or if this collection is all I get. This is a short season melon, and it should have prospered. The most-needed rain, ironically, spread the powdery mildew like wildfire. Better luck next year.

Cutting my losses with melons and beans - remaining vines

Remaining Collective Farm Woman vines and about a dozen melons

I’d had great luck with beans till this year, so I went all out and tried a number of varieties. Guess I’ll have to play it safe next year, and remember my Late Bloomer Lesson, “Be Vigilant.” I had to cut my losses with melons and beans this year. You have to jump on viruses and pests at the first sign before they threaten to overwhelm. Have you experienced blight on beans? Please let me know how you handled it.

If you have a friend who would enjoy this blog, please share. Be sure to subscribe!


Stock up on fall seeds and save on shipping on orders over $40!

Cutting my losses with melons and bean - buy now

I receive a small commission for promoting products I’ve used and believe in. Your support of these products helps me to continue to produce “Late Bloomer” episodes to inspire people to grow their own food and take control over their food security. Click on button to order products! Thank you!

Help me inspire people to grow their own food and take control over their food security. Your donation of any amount makes “Late Bloomer” possible and available for anyone.


Thank you!


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Late Bloomer Lessons, Pest Management, Pests, Plant Diseases, Urban Gardening, Vegetables, Warm Season

Comments (8)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Jane says:

    I thoroughly enjoy your show, especially your honest journey that includes both success and failure. You are an inspiration to me. I learn from each one of your episodes and admire your perseverance. I live in Orange County, CA and would love to drive up to see your garden up close. My devotion is to pumpkins, which I grow annually and get great joy from having all the little ones in my family come to pick one out and take it home each fall. This year I am growing Cinderella variety for the first time and am very pleased with the results, so far. Pumpkins can be challenging and are very susceptible to powdery mildew. I have hand watered exclusively this season and it seems to have kept the PM under control more than ever before. I have not turned on a garden faucet even once all year because of the drought and have kept my garden growing on laundry gray water that I capture in a large trash can and carry to each plant by way of a watering can.
    Very sincerely,

    • I don’t know how I missed this comment, Jane! Please forgive me! Thank you so much for telling me. Just when I wonder if it’s worth all the hard work, I will get a comment like yours. I really appreciate your support. How did your garden do this year? Of course you can come up and visit. Just let’s pick a convenient time for each of us. Probably best now to wait till spring at least. If you are still following the vlog, I am working on a driveway project, moving plants around and growing fewer annuals this winter. Also, I could possibly come see your garden when it is at its height. Are you a member of the Orange County Organic Garden Club? Here’s their FB page. I would definitely go to meetings if I was closer. I was a guest speaker there in 2014 and gave away extra tomato plants. Congrats on success with pumpkins. I am less than 1/4 mi. from the ocean so we get so much June gloom which invites PM, plus with such a small garden I always crowd things together. Please get in touch. I’m sorry we missed out on a year of conversing because I missed your comment! Happy Holidays! – Kaye

  2. Heather says:

    Hi Kaye! I wanted to ask your opinion about neem oil. I have not yet tried and have gone back and forth about using it to combat my powdery mildew problem. I’ve read that although it works pretty well, it deters beneficial insects. What is your experience with it so far? Thanks!

    • Hi, Mailia, Neem Oil is as effective as anything I’ve tried, but it deters, does not eliminate spores which are everywhere. I use it, but only early morning and after dusk when bees are not present. I wish there was a magic bullet that worked and didn’t harm beneficials, but there just isn’t. I’ve also tried, milk, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide, and haven’t found the perfect answer. Neem is OMRI certified for organic gardening, so as long as you spray when beneficials are not present it should be okay. Good luck!

      • Heather says:

        I too have tried the diluted milk spray and baking soda spray with very limited and temporary success. I’ve been holding out on the neem oil but might give it a try in the future. Or I might succumb to the fact that perhaps pm is a part of my gardening existence. Sigh. Whatever the case, thanks for the tips and for taking the time to help me out. Love everything about what you do!

      • Krati says:

        Hi Kaye,
        I am wondering how much does the neem oil cost and how much do you spray ? I m a beginning farmer in New Jersey. I will be starting to grow my food soon. In my first year, I do not want to spend too much on expensive products.
        I am an Indian and have eaten the bitter neem leaves quite often growing up Neem is excellent for treating skin conditions on human beings. Even though neem is bitter, I love it for its health benefits.

Leave a Reply