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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Septoria Leaf Spot on Tomatoes: A Good Article

I had 33 tomato plants in. I forget about the hanging baskets. I pulled one plant out because of Septoria. It was a plant I put in - in my Cold Weather tomato experiment. It wasn't growing well from the start.  Four others showed some leaf spotting and I removed those leaves. I have sprayed them for the last 2 weeks with my sulphur spray mixed with some copper. I also gave them an aspirin bath and a follow up aspirin drink with some liquid fertilizer a week later.

The remaining 32 plants are growing strong. What remains of Septoria is the four plants with spots on their stems. Their leaves are fine. I am trying to read up on and find out if my sprays or other sprays stop the spread only and kill off what is there. That is... will spraying stop the advance for good, if you spray long enough. I haven't found an answer but to say Septoria and Early Blight are plagues. There isn't much home gardeners and plot gardeners can do but spray. Basically, what I read says... get use to it. The reason is rotating crops is the key to managing the diseases. Well... we don't have the room to rotate our crops great distances. That means wind and splashing will kindly move the spores around.

I have been spraying every couple of days lightly with a good soaking 1x a week.

I am keeping my 4 stem infected plants because I want to see what happens. Most literature states it will eventually catch the tomato but I can still get a good harvest.  And as of right now the upper growth is strong. I want to see if spraying the stem will disrupt the cycle of fungus spores. I am curious. I might even make a vaseline sulphur mixture and spread it on the stem. What the heck. Let's see.

I also planted new seeds last week and will replace plants if needed in the 3rd week of June. Just in time for Early Blight to come. Woohoo.

This is a good article to learn from: A Good Article On Leaf Spot: Septoria

The HEAT Baked My Potatoes

Just an FYI... Don't used green or semi-green grass clippings to fill your potato bags. I didn't take into account our 98 degree record yesterday, the moist grass, and the black bag. The bag heated up to the point it actually cooked my potato stalks. I killed my potatoes by using green grass. Lesson learned. Dirt or fully compost material as filler. Totally dry grass will also work.

Monday, May 30, 2011

What Does Bolting Kale Look Like?

Plants bolt when the heat is right. They turn from leaf production to flower stalk and seed production. Most plants that are leafy, like lettuces, get bitter. Here is a picture of well bolted kale. It will be removed soon.

Kale that has Bolted to Flower

Building a Sunken Container Vegetable Garden: Part One - Two Containers

The benefits of sunken containers is similar to a raised bed. They will warm faster and you won't be stepping on the plants root systems. They also allow you to concentrate resources and grow a variety of crops. The space between them gets filled with mulch. You can let vines grow over the mulch while the weeds stay under control. The key is sinking the containers and opening holes in the bottom. The plants roots will grow through container's holes and into the ground. This provides some security from watering issues. I use recycled black nursery containers. They are easy to cut, cheap, and black to absorb the sun.

The Empty Space to Become a Sunken Container Garden.

I chose a space connected to my vegetable garden that was only getting walked on and cut. It was also away to get more growing space without discussing "another box!" with my wife.  After you find the spot, get an idea of what you want to grow and how big the containers should be. This isn't science so do your best. I create as if it is a canvas. I rarely have a plan. Some ideas work and some don't but in the end it all works out. Plants just want to grow.

The containers should be laid where you wish. You will notice the steps I used to mark the ground and cut the containers. The holes just have to be cut out in a similar manner and size. Good enough for roots. I cut lines too. The root can fit through anything.

Turned Over Where I Want Them. Holes Cut Out. Traced in Peat Moss.
Containers Removed. General Circle Traced in Peat Moss.

Remove the circle of grass to a depth of 3 to 6 inches. Less for smaller containers and more for larger containers. These containers might even be 8 inches deep. You can really go as deep as you want. If you don't want to see them... bury the containers by 1/2 their size.  Put the grass to the side. You will be doing four main things.

  • Removing the grass
  • Loosening the soil remaining in the circle (ground)
  • Amending the soil in the circle (ground)
  • Setting the container and returning the grass to it (only do this for large containers)
  • *Toss the grass for smaller containers. You don't want it growing up if it isn't smothered.

Remove the Grass to 3 to 6 inches Deep. Or More if You Wish.
Loosen the Soil to a Depth of 8 to 12 inches. Nothing Fancy.
That is the Hole on the Right. It is Amended with Peat Moss. 

I am using a very large container. Smaller containers don't need this much preparation. I amended the soil in the hole where the container will be placed. It is loosened to a depth of 12 inches. I might of added some fertilizer but don't recall. Feel free to boost it with what you have available. I also placed some soil to the side (left). That will go back in the container and around the container. This doesn't have to be perfect. You aren't following a recipe.

The Container is in the Hole. The Grass is Placed in the Bottom as Chunks.

For large containers you can place the soil with the grass roots right in the bottom. The depth of soil placed in the container and on the grass with prevent growth. It is in chunks. The roots will grow through it and into the loosen soil beneath the container.

The Set Container. The Sides Filled.

The sides are filled with the soil I kept to the side. I added peat moss and soil to the bottom and a hand full of vegetable fertilizer.

The next step is filling your container. I am making CHEAP soil. I used peat moss and the cheap bag of soil I told you not to buy. I bought a bag and opened it. It turned out to be sandy and that is what I wanted. My soil is mostly clay. You never know where the soil in the cheap bags come from. This batch happens to meet my needs. I used my large 18 gallon blue container (there on left) to make the planting material. I used peat moss and cheap bags of dirt to about a 1 to 1 ratio. Lots of peat moss was used for moisture control. I also added in all the soil in the picture that I removed.

The Amended Soil Placed in the Sunken Container. 
Two Complete Containers.

They are in the garden as sunken containers and can be planted with just about anything. I will blog about planting them and creating supports for plant growth. This is a fairly quick and limited labor way to cheaply add to your vegetable gardening space. You can never have to much room to plant in your garden. Try it out and let me know what grows.

I have 31 Tomotoes Planted: Free Stuff!

I have planted all I can plant. I even opened a secret garden of tomatoes and peppers. I have plants that I will be throwing away this week. If you need more peppers, tomatoes, or squashes... please email me. You can take a look at what I have. They have all be sprayed and dusted, for those of you that have organic concerns. I can tell you what I used.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What's to Come: Building a Sunken Container Garden in Your Garden.

Here is a picture I will blog about later. I have all the steps to its creation

The Containers are New. This was Mostly Wasted Grass.

Spores! More Spores... The Perfect Weather for Spores!

A few weeks back when I was tending the wet damp mess of a yard due to the week of rain and no sun... I found this.

The Top is to the Left and the Bottom is to the Right.

The first sunny day after a week of spore weather, I found this growing in the mulch at the base of the blue container. What is it? A very phallic mushroom, I'd say. Why is this important? Weather plays a big role in creating conditions for growth be it our tomatoes or spores. Some spores are mushrooms and some are disease.

I have never seen this before in my garden. It came in out of a bag of mulch I put in this year I suppose.  The right weather and bingo. Something alien.

Identifying and Removing Tomato Suckers!

You don't have to remove them. They don't damage your plant. I do leave them on sometimes. The problem is they are new growth shoots and will branch all over. They make the tomato more dense with leaves and that could, I say could, be problematic.

I tend my tomatoes to remove bottom growth and thin them out by removing suckers. I might run an experiment where I actually tend a single vine up a pole and remove every sucker. That is what you see a lot in books, but I rarely have that much time. Here are two pictures to show you what a sucker is, so you can decide what to do with them.  I suggest removing some.

My Finger is Pointing Directly at the Sucker.

The sucker grows between the V of a branch and main stem. I have a link to an article I wrote under tomatoes that details this more.

Removed! You can See the Nub.

Try and cut as close as you can without damaging the stem or branch. You should do this on a dry sunny day. The opening could let disease etc in. The sun will dry and help it to heal and seal. You could also put some sulfur spray on the wound. I don't always do that but am now pruning and tending as I carry my sprayer. I really believe Early Blight will be bad this year in Maryland. I am spraying preventatively!

Replanting a Strawberry Box: The Rabbits Whipped Me!

Well the rabbits defoliated my strawberries. I'll have very few to eat. The birds can now see the fruit like red blinking beacons from the sky.  A side note, the big stores are putting plants on sale. I picked up 5 strawberry plants for .75 cents each. Normally they are $3 or so.

In pictures,  a quick planting of new strawberries in a row container I built.

Old Plants Gone, Soil Loosened, Fertilized and Amended

The Five Orphans I got for .75 cents. Spaced as to be Planted.

The Crown is Between My Fingers. Don't Bury It. Keep it Above Ground.

Replanted! The Stragglers on the Bottom are Runners from the Replaced.

Update on My Tomatoes, Containers, and Garden

First off it is nice knowing I have a third day to tend to the garden. My I wish you a peaceful Memorial Day to those that served and are serving. We have 3 days of 90 degree weather coming. That means GROWTH! Make sure your plants are well watered in.

My tomatoes are doing well. I talked about the leaf spot. The plants axed off my grow list are the two foot dwarf cherry tomatoes. They seemed vulnerable. Some potato leafs had it but I like their heirloom quality and a bit of tending solved the problem.  Here is their growth and progress updated. If your tomatoes are little, they will take off this week. Water them in really well today... Maybe some liquid fertilizer too!

Container Tomatoes 

The red container in the right corner holds the two foot dwarf cherries. They are growing fine but the leaf spot was on them and probably still is. I am treating them with wettable sulphur. The goal is to either remove damaged tomatoes, if you don't have time to tend or treat them. By treating them, the upper growth will outpace the bottom leaves. You will be able to remove the lower leaves, tend, and stop the spread. It is a lot of work, at times. With dwarf tomatoes they STOP growing. So you be the judge.

Tomato varieties above left to right are: 'Rutgers', 'Krim', 'Bradley', 'Virginia Slims' (1st red container), 'Dwarf Cherries', and 'Cherokee Purple' (off picture to right off dwarfs)

Container Swiss Chard, Kale, Peas, and a Tomato

The chard is 'Bright Lights" variety. You can see 2 1/2 gallon buckets work for it but the hot days aren't hear yet. We will see. You can also see the new grow on the the 'Rutgers' tomato if you enlarge the photo.

More Ground Planted Tomatoes

There are 5 in there and a 6th behind the blackberries.  The closet one by the red lettuce is "Bonnie". The three in the middle left to right are 'Suddath's Brandywine',  'Brandywine Pink',  'Homestead', and the hidden one is 'Orange Russian'. The two in the far back right (click photo) are 'Jersey Devil' and 'Orange Jubilee'.

More Tomatoes

The big one is 'Delicious'. Notice the alyssum and mound of cilantro.

Flowers are important to a garden because they attract beneficial insects and pollinators. I am using alyssum and flowered cilantro next to my vegetable plants but also have lots of flowers all over. Here are some pictures.

Irises, Columbines and Other Perennials

Rose: Notice the Colors. This Bloom Changes Color.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Planting a Hardy Kiwi -30 degrees: Male and Female Needed

I purchased an 'Anna' variety kiwi (female). It is not like the grocery store fuzzy kiwi. It is a smaller more grape-like variety and you eat the fruit and skin like a grape. Who knew. I did expect a fuzzy kiwi but after researching it I learned there are many varieties. The cold hardy are smaller and good to Zone 4.

I planted my male and female kiwi where I get a lot of water. I built the ground up with cheap dirt and used some pebbles to help with immediate drainage around the root base. I read they like moisture so...

My Kiwi's - Male and Female and Sweet Potatoes.

The Male. Any Variety Works as a Pollinator.

The Female. 'Anna' Variety.  Good to -30 degrees.

The Neglected Area.

Turned the Ground .

Cheap Dirt I say Don't Buy. I Bought a Bag to Check it Out. It was Fine.

A Full Bag Dump in,  Mixed, and Turned in with My Clay.

The Dug Out Hole and Stones in the Bottom.

The Female Goes in Level to How it was Potted.

The Male on the Left and Female on Right.

I finished it off with mulch and put in 6 foot bamboo poles in a X. This was about 7 days ago.  The female has already grown to the top of the pole and 6 inches past. I read I will get about 100 pounds of kiwis in about 3 years. I also read they can grow 30 feet. I will get more pictures up and figure out how to train it. I found these at Lowe's. Under $10 each. 

Two Varieties With Septoria or Bacterial Spot: Treatment is the Same.

Two varieties of tomatoes showed leaf spot in my garden. Another gardener showed me the same thing. The Brandywines because of their potato leaf seem susceptible and that is historically true. One of my Brandywines have it. The dwarf cherry 2 foot variety have it. What does this mean? They need to be sprayed. The rest of my plants are doing quite well. It also means I won't be growing the 2 foot dwarf next year.

Spray them with wettable sulphur or with a copper spray. If you are in River Hill, I have a premade sprayer of sulphur and copper I am using (yes a combo). You are welcome to borrow it for a quick spray. I'll be around all weekend. You can also fill up a small hand sprayer if you have one. I can teach you the process.

Yesterday was humid and 90. Today is humid and hot. This is not May weather. Treatment works by covering the infected areas and uninfected areas with the spray that makes the leaf surface acidic and unliked by the spores. By keeping up spraying you break the life cycle of the disease.

Treatment Course
Cut off the yellowed and spotted leaves and throw them in a trash can.
Do not compost them.
Do not touch the other leaves during this process.
Spray the entire plant. (stem, top of leaves, bottom of leaves, and soil base)
Mulch beneath the treated tomato.
I also Miracle grow my spotted tomatoes to get more upper growth growing.
I am spraying every three days. (it is more then recommended)
I use aspirin but that might be a myth.

Treatment Success and Recovery
The disease will stop progressing upward.
Yellowed leaves will stop showing.
The spots will just turn brown with no yellow around them. (though you should remove that leaf)
Green growth should continue upward from the growing tip.
Green stems will come out where you pinched of the infected leaves.
Maintain spraying about 1x weekly (some say 10days) and more after heavy rain for prevention.

Don't be afraid to yank them. If they look really bad... you have to remove the tomato plant. I would suggest trying another variety in that space and spray the plant before putting it in. You won't lose time. The heat and humidity is bringing early disease I believe, but it will also bring fast growth. I have tomatoes from last years fallen fruit popping up in the ground. They will actually catch many plants in about 10 days.

And if you live in my area, I really believe early blight is going to be bad. It typically comes in later June but I would start spraying now even if you don't have signs. It is much more difficult to control then the spotted diseases. The spores can travel in the air.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Battling Vegetable Garden Insects (Flea Beetles): Greener versus Fully Green

What are Flea Beetles? They are little hopping black beetles. They look like tiny pure black specks of round dirt on your plant. Where do they show up in our area... on eggplants and peppers. They do invade other plants at times. The damage is holes, the size of a pin. If you tap your eggplant you will see them jump.

There is a totally green method to handle flea beetles. That is to cover your plants with crop fabric before the beetles come to feed. You would have to roll it (protection) and unroll it for harvesting and tending. That is simply too much work for me. You could also find other green products that work. I haven't found any. I have been through many sprays and even made a few.

That is why I garden with attempts to reduce chemicals and become greener. It works for me. I use styro-foam cups versus peat pots. You know why? The cups are cheaper but more importantly they don't mold, grow algae, or wick water away. I tend to get more 'damping off' with peat. I do recycle the cups for re-use. I could use plastic containers but they are a petroleum product too. You need to use what works for your situation.

Flea beetles can be killed off in 24 hours with a small dusting of Sevin Dust. That is only 1 treatment. I used it 10 days ago on my eggplant and still no return of the beetles. Dusting it 1 or 2 times weekly is not needed and just puts extra poison in your garden. The flea beetles will return. It has to do with their life cycle I am sure. They will get a small dusting when they return. Use what works wisely. With two or three dustings over a season, I get huge eggplants.

Peppers will get flea beetles. They don't seem to like them as much as eggplant. If you notice holes. Same process. A little dust.

I did come up with an idea for the green cabbage worms. The fabric cloth is a barrier. It lets light and water in. The white butterfly moth winged creature demons bring the cabbage worm eggs to your garden. They are only around for like 2 weeks. I can use that knowledge to prevent the eggs from getting on my kales and cabbage greens. Next year I plan to cover them for that 2 week period of the insects life cycle. This should prevent the eggs from getting on my vegetables. Very green.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Don't go Green - Go Greener: Managing PESTS in the Garden: Ideas and Updates

This is the first year that I systematically applied iron phosphate to manage my slug and snail problems. The outcome is... it really really worked. You can check my past blogs on the problem I had with slugs and snails last year. Total devastation. This year I started scattering the pellets early and scattered them 1-2 times a week. I slowed down a bit in the last three weeks and found some tiny slugs or snails. I started up again.

The iron phosphate gets ingested from bait and disrupts the slugs digestion. They starve. I covered the ground regularly through a whole life cycle (I think), since March. The outcome... very little slug damage. I also cut back on over using chemicals broadly. I now use them with a fine focus. The benefit... I found a toad. Toads love snails and slugs. A correlation... probably. Less toxicity keeps the good creatures around.

I will never go purely Green (it isn't realistic for me) but always try to go Greener. I use Sevin Dust as the big killer. I used to dust it or spray it too liberally and found I killed off way too many beneficial insects. I mentioned before I consider Sevin a safer chemical alternative to others in that class. But it is toxic. You can do the research.

I also use wettable sulphur and wettable copper. Both are actually considered organic. Sulphur is more liked. Copper can kill worms, "they" say. Again, use them with a focus. I have been spraying my tomatoes with sulphur because of my belief disease is coming. I usually start in June. I am starting early. As I said the trees around me look ill and its actually been rainy and even muggy.

My tips are this... you can reduce a lot of damage from insects by learning about their cycle of life and disrupt it. And you can prevent diseases or diminish disease damage by striking early.

1. Slugs and Snails get Iron Phosphate starting in March.

2. Sevin Dust gets sprinkled with a focus.
  • eggplants in May to kill flea beetles
  • peppers in May to kill flea beetles if holes appear
  • stems of zukes, cukes, and squashes in May for all kinds of bugs. (stem only where it touches the ground)
  • keep Sevin available for other pests

3. Tomatoes, Cukes, Zukes, and Squashes get a weekly spray of wettable sulphur to pre-emptively diminish early blight, septoria spot, bacterial spot, and mildews.

4. All my plants are getting dosed with aspirin as per past blogs. (this is an experiment)

I haven't found a cure for my grapes, they always get something. And my apple tree always gets something. I think I have to use dormant oil spray on my apple tree but always forget. Now it is too late.

It is important you think about prevention and use my ideas (if you want) and other ideas early and wisely.

A Garden is Only Complete With Patio Furniture

I have spent many hours growing plants indoors and preparing the garden to hold them. It is a passion which brings me a lot of enjoyment. I am off to a good start this year and the garden is growing nicely. I recently planted a full spread of containers on my deck. I have tomatoes, flowers, and even greens. What I don't have is patio furniture. A key element to any garden is a comfortable place to sit and enjoy your work. Creativity comes from more than what your local home improvement store has to offer. I enjoy browsing the web to find ideas for my garden. I found a place that offers patio furniture in a well organized and easily navigated portal. What better way to create your garden space.

Everything doesn't have to match, just fit your stylistic theme. Comfort is found in deck chairs and couches, and a bit of creative flair might be found in tables. I found comfortable seating to be the best way to start building my patio set. Figuring out what direction you want to face and having enough patio seating to not only seat guests but present full views of your garden is key. One of the best ways to find seating is through patio chair searches. You have to look to know what is out there and ordering only line is just as easy as setting up local delivery. Why not view thousands of items on-line versus a dozen at local stores.

Now I know the garden can be overwhelming. Sometimes the idea of planting, tending, and planning a garden of dozens of plants can be overwhelming to the point people don't garden . That is why I say go with tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers to start. Keep it simple. Sometimes it is easy to find what you need for the outdoors through complete patio sets. Sometimes having the work done for you is the easiest way to buy. All I know is there are thousands of patios sets that can be viewed and purchased from all kinds of companies. What better way to find what you need in the way of patio set sales then a portal that does all the searching and organizing for you. Don't forget to enjoy the garden in comfort!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Things to Plant Now: Cukes, Zukes, Beans: Plant in Waves Every 2-3 Weeks

It is time to get all the warm crops in as seeds. Germination will be fast. The 80 degree days and 60 degree nights are here for good.

If you didn't buy transplants, it is time to put your pepper and tomato seeds in. I use transplants but even seeds will sprout and grow really fast with the arrival of heat.

These plants will grow great from being seeded in your garden: cukes, zukes, squashes, beans, and melons.

Anything you want to try out can go in over the next week as seed.

My only tip... Don't over plant. If you do, everything matures at once and you just can't eat it. Where you have space for 6 cucumbers, plant 3 now and 3 more in 2-3 weeks. This will give you more over a longer period of time.

Cucumbers and Zukes often get diseases and bugs. By planting every 2 to 3 weeks you can better survive the difficult periods and will have new stuff coming up to replace the battered and harvested plants.

Gardening goes to November in Maryland. Lots to do. No rushing needed.

Good Luck!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Leaf Spot: No Not the Garden... The Neighborhood Trees!

Well, I am not experienced on trees but in the neighborhood of River Hill the trees lining the streets are covered with leaf spots. They look like early blight but I know that doesn't effect trees. The problem is our weather. We had a week of wet damp rainy weather with no sun. I think that pattern spawned a tree disease. That means it is bad or will be bad for all plants.

If the diseases are in the trees, then they are coming to a garden near you.

Look around River Hill on tree leaves. I saw on the weather today, 4 or 5 days of 80 degree days and 60 degree nights with 40% chance of rain daily. This pattern is prime spore production for fungi and such. I also have bizarre mushrooms coming up. Spores! I took a picture of one. It is very odd. And will blog it later.

I am mulching  my plants and as I mention am spraying a sulphur preventative. If you have the time I think it is prevention time for the gardens. I am starting new plants this week too. With the warm weather they will germinate quickly and if I need to replace plants... little time will be lost. My extras will be free if you are in need. I am done selling plants.

If anyone knows about trees, what is that spot all over leaves? It wasn't there last year.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sprayed with Wettable Sulphur and Aspirin Early

I didn't like this rain and cloudy filled week. Typically it breeds disease and bugs. I sprayed my tomatoes and roses with my wettable sulphur recipe and I added the aspirin to the mix. My hope is to reduce the tomato blight and biz-zillion diseases my roses get.

I will be at the River Hill Flea Market Sunday. I have plenty of everything including tons of basil. I will be putting up my Kiwi blog entry and taking pictures of different leaf types on tomatoes.

Enjoy the weekend.

Oh the chicken wire worked. No big rabbits but a baby rabbit is living in the yard. I guess I will let him or her roam.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pictures of My Garden as of May 16th

A picture update of my garden and things slated for the Riverhill Flea Market on May 22nd.

From the Hill

My Perennial Patch for Beneficial Insects

Greens and Peppers. The Rabbit Snacks.

Cold Weather Tomatoes. Kohlrabi in Back.

Chard and Minnesota Melons Behind Trellis.

Tomatoes and Peppers for the Sale

Herbs and Flowers for the Sale

Beans and Squashes for the Garden and Sale

Plant Your Vegetables in Containers: A Picture of My Progress

The containers are 5 gallon buckets and 18 gallon containers and a mix of other stuff. They all have lots of peat in the mix for moisture control. The 5 gallon tomato containers have stones in about a inch of the bottom for a water reservoir. I just wanted to show you some pictures for ideas.

The single tomato on the left is an heirloom varitety Virginia Sweets. It is a 1 pound bicolor tomato. The group on the right are actually 4 tomatoes. They are my 2 foot dwarf cherries. I put 4 of them in there.  We will see how they do.

The tomatoes are in 5 gallon paint buckets. I have a Krim, Rutgers, and Black Plum.

A Response to a Question to Help Me Out With Rabbits: Chicken Wire

I have rabbits watching my new garden and they have already "tasted" my bell pepper (left it there of course). I would like to deter them before my peas/beans come up (they are starting to).

Have you tried/had success with using chicken wire? 

I have a fence and chicken wired most of it years ago because the holes were to large. Yesterday, I just went around and repaired the holes and chicken wired the rest. As of this AM no rabbits. To answer your question, yes I had success and now I hope to have more.

I cleared out my bolted radishes and spinach. That has exposed some hidden beets. I will know in a few days if I missed something.

Thanks for the suggestion.

A Response to a Question About Strawberries: Two Tries

I am trying to start a strawberry container garden using strawberry pots. I have made two attempts but am not sure what I am doing wrong. 

The first try I used an ever-bearing strawberry root (pkg similar to the one in your pic above). I thought I placed them corrected per your detailed directions/pictures in terms of the crown/root but it is about a month now since and I still see no green growing. Is it possible to put too much fertilizer? Do I give up? Or is there something else I can do? If I do discard, can I reuse the dirt for another try at strawberries (or another plant?)

The second try I used an ever-bearing transplant from a local nursery. There were five in a container. It took me about a week before I could transplant them, but even them I saw quite a bit of growth from each plant. Then I transplanted them. I will say that the root network was quite entangled and perhaps I damaged them too much by trying to separate, but almost immediately, they limped over within the pot. I placed them in the shade for two days waiting for roots to get established, but the leaf edges started turning brown. I placed them in the sun, leaves continued to brown. It has been about a week now and there is still green, but definitely not much growth if any. I do notice a few growing a bit of fuzz on top of the moss - do they have the disease? Did I over water? Can I save them? 

The root crowns from the pack are difficult. I had to scrap some and used transplants from my garden. Sadly a rabbit came and sheared them all down. Argh.

If your second bacth were growing at the nursery, they probably will be okay. They might be in shock from having the roots pulled apart. if the soil is moist, I'd stop watering and keep them in partial sun. You don't want them in shade because strawberries are prone to leaf disease. 6 hours of sun will do. There is a good chance the leaves will die back and slowly you will see new ones appear.

If the fuzz is mold or fungus, scrape it away and keep them in the sun. Remove the damaged and dieing leaves. If the roots are strong new leaves will come. If you don't get new growth is another week, you might try one more time.

I don't know enough about soil disease and strawberry roots. I don't think that is the issue. Maybe someone else could give you soil ideas.

If you go for attemp three I would do this assuming you are using a bucket or large pot. Just buy 3 single plants in pint containers. Plant them and let them grow. They will grow runners. You can just put the runners where you want and a plant will grow. This may not get you strawberries this month but it will establish plants for you.

Frogs! or Frog: Slug Killers

One of the benefits of greatly reducing toxicity in your garden is good things come to it to kill the bad things.

I use iron phosphate for slug control versus another non selective killer. The benefit... a FROG.

They will wander around eating slugs when the slugs come to eat your plants.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Cabbage Caterpillar: Identifying and Destroying It... Them

Well I should be using BT to spray my leaves but I can't find it. It is lost in a mess of my garage.

So, in pictures, look for holes. Once you see holes you know the green cabbage caterpillar is there. If you look on the leaves you will also see green droppings. Look carefully, you will see them.  The caterpillar probably has a name. I will look for it. No it isn't Bill.

My kale... it attacks the leaves of the cabbage family. Notice the clear holes. The eggs are laid by those dang ugly white moths you saw about 1-2 weeks ago.

Green Caterpillar Damage to My Kale

The caterpillar is in the above picture. But to make it easier take a look at the end of the stick.

The Caterpillar is Right on the Point
I Moved it for a Better Look
Removed and Killed

If there is one there is more. Carefully check the leaves with holes. They don't like to move. Check the front and backs of the holed leaves and down the stem. I found three on this plant.