Caroline Schoeder said, “Some people change when they see the light, others when they feel the heat.” The plant world reacts much the same way as people. With that said, I’m wondering what all this damp, humid weather can do for our gardens. If the mosquitoes and rain kept you from puttering outside this weekend, you may want to consider showering yourself with bug juice and checking your garden for diseases and insects. Although certain plants thrive in these types of conditions like ferns, this weather can raise havoc, specifically with our vegetable gardens. It’s best to treat early and often; stay on a cycle. Diseases, unlike insects can be more challenging if you don’t spot it early. If you miss it, it may be too late.
There are a number of alternatives for protecting your crops with fungicidal applications, some of which are rated for organic gardens. For instance, if you have heirloom tomatoes, continual treatment is necessary. These varieties are highly susceptible to diseases. One of our local farmers said that as soon as he plants his tomatoes, he sprays with copper, which is a fairly benign treatment and is organically rated for vegetable gardens. There are a number of organic alternatives to consider, especially for those with an aversion to any spray programs.
Your vegetable garden is looked at differently than your landscape plants. Your vegetables are grown in a compressed season with one goal in mind – to produce a crop. Ornamentals are not treated or seen in the same light as your vegetables. Find the exact program that works best with your specific plant. Do your homework and as always, read the labels and apply accordingly.
If you do find diseased plants, remember to remove from the garden, do not replant in that area for 3 to 4 years and never compost the diseased plant. You will only harbor the pathogens. So spray yourself with bug juice and assess what may be ailing in your garden.
This may be a repeated message but it is worth the air time, especially during these periods of high-disease pressure. Think of it like checking your own vital signs. Make sure all your plants have a clean bill of health.
Cartoon Image from the Internet.
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