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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Treatment for White Spots or Powdery Mildew on Cucumber, Squash, Melon and Other Plants

Treatment for White Spots or Powdery Mildew 
on Cucumber, Squash, Melon and Other Plants


Powdery mildew and other leaf mildews tend to appear when the humidity and rains come in. It starts out looking like little white powder spots on the top and undersides of your cucumber, zucchini, squash and melon plants. The white spots will grow to cover the enter leaf and spread across the vine. It will also grow on plant stems. You may also see leaf yellow spotting where the fungus is sitting.

Prevention is best. If you know when the fungus arrives in your area... spraying the susceptible crops 2x's weekly with 1 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 gallon water is best.

If you notice you have the disease, like I do in the video you want to spray a little bit differently as the goal is to kill off the fungus and stop it from spreading or reproducing. I recommend the same strength spray, you should use a quality sprayer, of 1 tablespoon baking soda to 1 gallon of water. I would spray daily for 3 days and then every 2 days for 1 week. After that I would spray 2x's weekly for prevention.

Remember to spray the tops and bottoms of the leaves. You want to soak them down. The change in PH from the baking soda is what causes the cure. It is also a good idea to remove badly infected leaves.





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Monday, July 29, 2013

From Garden to Grill: Grilled Poblano Peppers

From Garden to Grill: 
Grilled Poblano Peppers 
Copyright 2013 Gary Pilarchik

Here is my third installment of From Garden to Grill. You can key word search my YouTube Channel for more. The 'Poblano' pepper is used in many Mexican dishes and it is used in many ways.

One outstanding use of a poblano is grilling it. Not only does grilling the poblano add great flavor, the charring of the outer skin makes it extremely easy to remove. The skin is fairly thick and indigestible. You want to remove it.

What do you do with grilled poblanos? Eat them warm with olive oil and salt. Add them to any sandwich. Slice a few of your heirloom tomatoes and top them off with grilled poblanos. You have to give it a try!




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Friday, July 26, 2013

From Garden to Grill: Round Zucchini Stuffed with Heirloom Tomatoes

From Garden to Grill: Round Zucchini 
Stuffed with Heirloom Tomatoes
Copyright 2013 Gary Pilarchik

Here is the 2nd installment of my series From Garden to Grill. The round zucchini is a great vegetable to core out and fill with heirloom tomatoes and any other vegetables and herbs you enjoy. This video shows you the picking of the round zucchini and a great tasting basic method for stuffing it with heirloom tomatoes. Of course the zucchini gets grilled and plated too. Enjoy!




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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Late July Container Update: 8 Varieties of Tomatoes & 5 Types of Peppers

A Late July Container Update: 
8 Varieties of Tomatoes & 5 Types of Peppers

A late July update of my container tomatoes and peppers. Some of the plants are well over 6 feet. The peppers have grown nicely and everything has fruit on them.

You can see how the techniques used in my other videos worked to help these plants grow. I also give you the names of the tomato and pepper varieties and talk a little bit about them. Just a basic tour. These were the tomatoes that were hit by a late season frost. Many were damaged. They all rebounded and grew!




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What are Those Bumps on My Tomato Plant/Stems?

What are Those Bumps on My Tomato Plant/Stems? 

The bumps that appear along the stems of your tomato leaves are root buds or nodes. These root buds normally form when a vine falls to the ground and stays moist. It recognizes the right conditions to grow roots.

When you get consecutive days of rain and 80% or higher humidity for several days... your tomato gets tricked into thinking it is contacting the moist ground. It forms these bumps up and down the stem anticipating the need to grow roots. It is not a disease and not a reason to worry. It just look bizarre and freaky.




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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Yellowing Tomato Leaves Maybe Normal: High Temperatures?

Yellowing Tomato Leaves Maybe Normal: 
High Temperatures?


Yellowing leaves can be a sign of different issues that may be effecting your tomato plants. There are disease and fungi that create leaf patterns that may turn leaves yellow. There are nutritional issues that may turn leaves yellow. There are insects and pests that, you guessed it, will turn your tomato plant leaves yellow. Those reasons are reason of concern and often merit a specific treatment or response from the gardener.

There are however, other reasons for leaves to turn yellow that aren't red or should I say yellow flags of alarm. Determinate variety tomatoes die out once they reach a set height and set fruit. That is a normal yellowing and life cycle of the tomato plant. The video highlights my indeterminate varieties of tomatoes and follows 4 planting areas of the 'Brandywine' variety tomato. With 7-10 days of 95-105 degree heat and nearly 100% humidity... a healthy tomato plant responds. That response is often yellowing leaves. And that is nothing to worry about. The tomato sheds leaves knowing it can fall over, set roots to the ground from its stem and grow strong again. It doesn't know we have it staked up.

You do have to make sure you keep the basics going. Make sure they are being fed, watered and inspected and managed for diseases and pests. When all those thing are in check... sometimes yellow leaves are normal. The 'Brandywine' always gets yellow leaves and 'leaf die out' come the high heat in my area. My new variety 'Matt's Wild Cherry' is yellowing heavily. Around this yellowing tomato are healthy green tomato plants that have been cared for the same way. The only difference is the heat, humidity and how different tomato varieties respond to the climate in your Zone. There is something you can do and that is to try out different tomato varieties each year and remove varieties that do not do well in your Zone.





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Saturday, July 20, 2013

What are Those Bumps on My Tomato Plant/Stems?

What are Those Bumps 
on My Tomato Plant/Stems?

You might find a lot of bumps or nodes along the stems of your tomato plants. They look funky and creepy but they are nothing to worry about. If you are in an area with high humidity or get long periods of rain... you tomato plants often get tricked.

The water vapor makes the tomato think the stem is touching the moist ground. The bumps on the stems are budding roots. It is not a disease or fungus and there is nothing to worry about. The video will show you examples of the bumps on the stems and explain why the occur.





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Monday, July 15, 2013

60 Seconds or Sow: All About Determinate Tomatoes /Massive Fruiting

60 Seconds or Sow: 
All About Determinate Tomatoes /Massive Fruiting

There are basically two kinds of tomatoes. They can either be indeterminate varieties, which grow all season long or they can be determinate varieties. Determinate varieties generally follow a standard pattern of quicker development and have their uses in our gardens.

Determinate Varieties:

1. They grow to a set height and stop growing
2. All their flowers bloom at once or in a short period of time
3. All the green tomatoes start forming within a short period of time
4. The tomatoes fully ripen within a short window of time (about 10-14 days)
5. After their fruit ripen, the plants die out

When you grow determinate tomatoes, you will end up with a massive amount of ripe fruit all coming at the same time. The video will give you a good idea of what they look like and how they mature.

Determinate tomatoes typically bring tomatoes to your table in 55-65 days. While indeterminate tomatoes may take 80-100 days to deliver mature tomatoes, determinates provide you with a great way to eat tomatoes while you wait for the larger indeterminate varieties to ripen. Determinates are also great in containers and for areas with shorter growing seasons.




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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tomato Blossom End-Rot: Emergency Treatment and Prevention

Tomato Blossom End-Rot:
Emergency Treatment and Prevention


Blossom End-Rot is the browning of the bottoms of tomatoes. If you have it... you know it. It happens because your tomato plants either can't easily utilize the calcium in the soil or there is not enough calcium in the soil. In either case, adding some calcium in the from of a limestone slurry will help cure the problem and it will prevent blossom end-rot from happening. Keyword is calcium.

If you have container tomatoes and the containers dry out completely, the root systems of the tomatoes get damaged and they can have a hard time accessing the calcium in the soil. Adding more calcium helps them. The first step in preventing blossom end-rot is adding calcium to the soil when you transplant your tomatoes. Egg shell or lime are good sources of calcium. Making sure you water you plants regularly is important too.

If you get blossom end-rot the calcium slurry will help. When your tomatoes get to size in your containers it is a good idea to add calcium as prevention against blossom end-rot. The video shows you how to apply and make the limestone slurry. Good luck in your garden!




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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Cucumber Plant Maintenance: Nutrients, Disease and Pests

Cucumber Plant Maintenance: 
Nutrients, Disease and Pests

Let me start with saying if it is healthy... don't fix it. Each garden has its own special needs when it comes to managing nutrients, diseases and pests. I am in Maryland Zone 7 and my garden is blessed with hot humid summers that bring in their own set of diseases and pests. I also have very clay soil that is great for macro-nutrients but poor in the big 3, better known as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) So... I am giving you guidelines and ideas but not exact recipes of maintenance. It is important to know your garden needs. Start with less and add more as needed.

Cucumbers are a favorite crop of many vegetable gardeners. They are heavy producers but that also makes them heavy feeders. They seem to be quite susceptible to powdery mildew and soft bodied insects that suck the sap out of them. Yellowing leaves can be caused be nutrient deficiencies or pest invasions. It is not always easy to tell what came first.

This video gives you some very effective ways to manage your cucumber plants with hope they live long and produce. I address adding nutrients, spraying for diseases and spraying for pests. I also include the recipes. Good luck in the garden!







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Monday, July 1, 2013

From Garden to Glass: How to Make A Dirty Cucumber Basil Martini

From Garden to Glass:
How to Make a Dirty 
Cucumber Basil Martini
Copyright 2013 Gary Pilarchik

This is a new YouTube video series I just started. It is called From Garden to Glass and it highlights fresh picked garden vegetables as the main ingredient for alcohol and non-alcohol drinks.What is the point of having a garden if you can't enjoy the fresh vegetables and their flavors!

Ingredients:

1 8 inch cucumber or equivalent (thinly sliced)
7 basil leaves (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
2-3 ounces of vodka
1 ounce of dry vermouth
1 lime slice (optional)
1/2 - 1 ounce simple syrup (optional)

The cucumber basil martini focuses on the flavor of your freshly picked cucumbers and basil. The drink will only be as good as the flavor of your cucumber. I actually find they vary based on growing conditions. With lots of rain... the cucumber sometimes has less flavor.

An eight inch cucumber is used as the base to make two martinis. A standard dirty martini has olive juice which adds salt. The cucumber slices get salted to draw out their flavor essence for the martini. The video shows you how to make it. Cheers!





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