The garden received a devastating blow last weekend: I discovered that my grape crop (my self-proclaimed garden “crown jewel”) has pretty much been wiped out by a fungus disease (Anthracnose). This is year three for my vines. For grape growers, you know that means that this was supposed to be my first big year of production. I’ve told my kids for the past three years, “Wait until 2013. We’re going to have a ton of grapes.”
Alas, no. I threw away about twenty pounds of contaminated grapes on Saturday. We’re trying to save the rest, but they’re doubtful. At this point, I’m just hoping the fungus doesn’t spread to the rest of my garden, but some of the peppers might already be infected.
So I’m pretty much getting rid of the garden as an active pursuit. Those types of disappointments can’t simply be brushed aside as bad luck. They’re signs of some sort. Of course, I can’t abandon the garden (I have seeds and supplies to last me a few years, plus I’ve committed the aesthetics of my house to it), but I will have to curtail my involvement to preserve my sanity. Next year, I’ll start pulling back and, hopefully, let the raspberries and strawberries spread at will and slowly take over everything, except for my containers (plants in containers are far more resistant to disease). It’ll still be large garden, since I have about 100 containers, plus the fruits that are already planted will not be yanked out. I’m not even going to yank out the &#@!ing grapes that crushed me this year. Other than spite, there’s no reason to pull them out. There’s a good chance they’ll develop the disease again next year, but based on what I read, there’s nothing to lose by letting them stay, as long as I throw away any leaves/grapes at the first sign of disease.
Here are some “before and after” pics of one small area of my garden. I thought they were kind of cool: