Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.

Gardens are sometimes the best mysteries!

Posted by: Helen Yarmoska under Vegetables, Weeds Updated: August 13, 2014 - 8:27 AM

Sometimes gardening is a mystery.  Because I’m a Master Gardener, people think I know all the answers. 

Certainly, there are gardeners that do… but I’m not one of them.  Throughout the growing season, I get handed bags with weeds or bugs and phones with photos and asked, “What is it?”

Some are easy, some require research.  Of course I like the easy ones because it makes me look smart, but the toughies can be a fun challenge.  The first photo is an easy one.  “Milkweed.  Let that grow so the monarchs have something to eat.”

The second photo is a bit different.  They are beets in a tiered garden that doesn’t get much air circulation.  “Fungal disease,” I reply.  But,  I need to know more.  I find that it is botrytis.  A fancy name for something you don’t want on your beets.  Everything I read said, remove from garden, discard - do not compost and wash your tools with bleach after removal.  Similar to tomato blight, there is no easy answer to tell the gardener.  There will be a reduced crop and don’t plant beets there again for a couple of years.

That said, many mystery plants can be fun.  Like in the third photo case, a mystery squash.  Let it grow and see what color it turns, then eat it.  I’m thinking a pumpkin by the looks of the stem, but maybe not.

Have you had mystery plants pop up in your yard?

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