I need some help with identifying a problem. In the past couple of days a few of my bean plants have developed curling leaves, and I noticed tonight that one of the plants has what looks like bulging veins. I looked up the leaf curl, and I see that aphids are a potential culprit, but I don’t see any and we have a gazillion ants in the beds, so I’d be surprised if they weren’t taking care of aphids. Any ideas? Could it be a simple case of getting too cold at night?

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Also, one of my cauliflower plants was leaning over on its side, but still attached. I can’t tell if there are nibble marks at the base or if they’re just stress marks from it bending over. We had very high winds here yesterday, so I’m not ruling out natural causes. It’s just weird that it’s in between other plants and none of the surrounding ones look affected. I cut a straw and put it around the stem to support it and keep it upright, just in case there’s any possibility of it healing itself.

But here’s the big news……wait for it……

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….the first flower bud! Actually, THREE flower buds clustered on a Bloody Butcher! I’ve been trying to start the hardening off process but even though our daytime temps are in the 60s and 70s it has been dropping down to the high 30s at night. That is supposed to end in the middle of the week, so I need to construct something to contain the plants and be able to leave them outside. I’m thinking just making a “tomato pen” out of plywood and laying something with holes in it across the top so it gets partial sun and partial shade. I have to think about what we have in the garage to use.

In other news, the peat pots have killed my remaining crookneck plants. I swear it’s those pots!!! I check everything every day, I make sure to water deeply so the pots get wet, and then the next morning they’re bone dry and the plants are dead. Against the popular advice about peppers not appreciating transplanting, I decided not to leave them in those blasted pots anymore, and I VERY CAREFULLY moved them into plastic cups like the tomatoes. I only did this on Saturday and, maybe it’s my imagination, but they already look so much better! The purple veining has vastly improved since my fish/seaweed fertilizer application too.

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I’ve managed to keep my last two eggplants alive in the peat pots but they’re not even growing.

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At least the cucumbers seem to be okay. I think the round peat pots were much more prone to drying out than the square ones, so the things that were grown in the squares have fared better.

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I actually went out yesterday and direct sowed the last bed, even seeding for the squash and cuke plants I have growing inside. I just don’t trust those pots! I hope I can keep everything that’s still surviving alive and I don’t have to be set back by starting seeds outside weeks after I started them inside, but at least there will be some kind of backup if these peat pot plants fail. I’m already looking forward to next year when I can live a peat-pot free existence!