Troubles With Worms in the May Vegetable Garden

I would ordinarily consider May to be the beginning of vegetable growing season, but already I am giving up on one of my tomato plants and the summer squash.  Worms are doing a number on everything else, and I am not sure it’s worth having a garden at this point.

Almost as soon as I planted the squash I had trouble with blossom end rot. I began watering less, and added a fertilizer with calcium.

I managed to pick two very small squash, but that is it. Other than those two, every squash that has grown, on both plants, has wizzled up and rotted. One squash plant has no flowers and no squash. The other has flowers and little squash, but all the squash are doing the same thing.

summer squash plant with yellow flowers
The summer squash began fine, then went downhill

I will be pulling up the plants and putting something else in the fabric bags. I do have zucchini seeds which I may try. Summer means fresh squash to me, and I hate that I can’t seem to grow it here.

Tomatoes should be easy to grow here in Florida. Tomatoes like sun and lots of water. Of the two plants I bought, one is a “celebrity” which is still doing okay. Currently it has around 8 tomatoes growing.

The other plant didn’t even have a name, and that one has bit the dust. The leaves began to turn brown and then the green tomatoes are rotting and falling off the vine.

I’ve grown tomatoes for many years, and very successfully, in New Hampshire. Just one year I had a problem with late blight. I don’t have blight this time, but I don’t know what the issue is. Honestly, I think the plant may have simply been bad stock. I hate having to buy my vegetables from a big box store.

green tomatoes
This tomato plant turned brown and the tomatoes are rotting off the vine.

Also I have been overrun with cutworms. They are eating the leaves of nearly every plant I have in the garden. I started picking them off by hand, but many of the leaves are already chewed. Being more vigilant will help, I hope. It’s been very rainy, which keeps me inside. Garden pests can get out of control if they are not caught quickly.

These worms are eating everything from the cucumber leaves to the tomatoes, basil and pepper plants.  Cutworms can also cut off the new stems of seedlings.  I don’t have that problem.

cut worm
Cut worm that fell into the birdbath

The squash and cucumbers have another kind of worm which bores into the vegetable and makes it mushy.  They also eat through the stems which makes the rest of the vine droop and die, like in my photo.  For more info on growing cucumbers and dealing with the pickleworm, read the post at the Central Florida Garden blog.  It seems there haven’t been too many newer posts, but I intend to search it for useful information.

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.21.42 PM

All in all, I am disappointed in my May garden.  The orange ruffle hibiscus still has fuzzy mites on the leaves even though I have sprayed and trimmed it way back.  I’ve seen this same circular white ring on the backs of some of my pepper plants.  That is all I need!  I didn’t have half these problems in the North.  No wonder I don’t see farms around here!

Hot pepper plant with chewed leaves
Hot pepper plant with chewed leaves
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