Ask a Question forum: **First timer needs some help**

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Name: Chris
Vero Beach Florida (Zone 9b)
Jun 16, 2017 4:11 PM CST
I started a vegetable garden a few months ago. Recently we've been getting a lot of rain almost everyday here. I've had one tomato plant completely rot away. Another is developing small dark spots. Soon after the leaves and branch rot and fall off. My Cucamelon vines are showing signs of stress too. Is this just over watering from all the rain or some kind of disease? Any help to point me in the direction of a solution is much appreciated :)
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
My dogs love me; some people don't.
Deer Bookworm Keeper of Poultry Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Georgia
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Jun 16, 2017 4:26 PM CST
Looks like some kind of fungal infection.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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Jun 16, 2017 4:41 PM CST
Hi Chris and welcome! I've got good news and bad news.
Bad news: Tomatoes really don't do well in general through the summer months here in Florida. It's not so much the heavy rain as the blight and fungal infections that really ramp up once the nights are warm. In addition most tomatoes don't set fruit when the night temperatures are above about 70deg F. So, even if you can keep them alive you very likely won't get fruit until October. I'd pull out the diseased tomato plants and plant something else. Eggplant and peppers both do much better through summer than tomatoes.

Good News: You can plant some more tomato seeds, or new plants in the fall and have ripe delicious tomatoes all winter and all the way through until about May. They may need an old sheet or blanket thrown over them for the few cold-ish nights we get in winter, but is SO worth it to have your own tomatoes to eat all winter.

So-so News: Your Cucamelon (interesting, what is it?) has a fungal infection on the leaves from all that wet weather. You can battle it with a solution of baking soda and water, (1/2tsp. to a quart spray bottle) sprayed on the leaf surfaces every few days. It won't remove the fungus infection that's already there but will keep it from spreading to new leaves. Spraying milk does the same thing, but is a little more expensive. All it does is make the leaf surface not hospitable to all the little fungus spores floating around, by changing the pH on the leaf. Btw, if the weather does dry up as it's supposed to this weekend, be sure to water in the mornings, so the leaves can dry off in the sun and try to keep the water down low on just the soil so that the leaves aren't wetted. The drier you can keep the foliage, the less chance the fungus will have to spread.

I've got a book on growing edibles in Florida "The Edible Landscape" by Tom MacCubbin. It's so dog-eared it might fall apart at any moment but is just full of stuff you need to know. Probably in it's 4th edition by now, but you can get it at the library or online. (I think you need to own it)

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Chris
Vero Beach Florida (Zone 9b)
Jun 17, 2017 11:43 AM CST
Hi @dyzzypyxxy . Thank you so much for the post and information! I'll transplant my tomatoes into my earth garden and see if they make it. I do have some peppers and okra that should be ready in a couple weeks to take the place of the tomatoes in the raised planter. Fingers crossed that the rain lightens up a little for us. Crossing Fingers!

I will definitely look into that book and try the baking soda solution on my Cucamelons. Cucamelons are pretty interesting. My girlfriend found out about them and ordered some seeds for us to try. They're sometimes called Mexican sour Gerkins and Mouse melons. They make a grape sized fruit that looks like a miniature watermelon. I haven't had one yet but I've heard they taste like a cucumber with a lime like tang to it. Mine just started to produce flowers right before they got hit with the infection. If they make it I will try to put some progress pictures up.
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