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FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
5/24/15 7:00 P

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TexasLynn, that is good to know about the Weed and Feed. I never knew it reactivated every time it was watered. Cassie gets itchy enough without me adding more to the lawn than the actual lawn I have been using the mulcher for my grass when I mow, but Pete bags the clippings. He usually will do my front lawn. Would rather he would do the lower half of the back and I will do the front. The hills in the back are really hard for me and the front is flat.

I will have to do something with the trees (at least the one in front) because they are dying from borers. I think even the locusts are dying and only the wild ones are growing. The ones that are planted are pretty far from my garden, though.

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
5/23/15 6:14 P

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Corn gluten applied in late winter/early spring should help prevent weed seeds from sprouting. Blood meal is a good source of nitrogen for the grass. Both are organic.

CBRINKLEY401's Photo CBRINKLEY401 SparkPoints: (104,431)
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5/23/15 6:04 P

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We don't use weed and feed either. Hubby will use weed killer to try and get the creeping charlie under control, but he just uses that in the areas that are really bad (there was no way we'd ever be able to pull all that out either). Even organic weed control formulas, like using borax, will build up in the soil over time, so you still have to be careful. We use the dandelion digger to keep the dandelions under control in the yard, and it has definitely helped keep them under control. I'm looking to get some compost to put on the yard too, to feed it and keep it healthy.

We rent garden plots from the park district, and friends will give us their grass clippings to help keep the weeds down (we don't generate enough from our yard to cover the whole garden, plus I want the clippings to be mulched instead of bagged up, to help feed the lawn), but we have to be careful and always make sure they haven't recently treated THEIR lawns with weed and feed.

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TEXASLYNN's Photo TEXASLYNN SparkPoints: (37,571)
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5/23/15 5:49 P

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We are not using anything but organic fertilizer on our yard this year. The yardman told us that repeated use of weed and feed was ruining our grass and actually causing more weeds plus one of the mutts displayed a severe skin allergy last year after we sprayed the yard. She had to wear a t-shirt all summer and fall because ever time the grass was watered, the spray was reactivated.

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FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
5/22/15 8:00 P

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I have thought of digging them up that way (can't find those weed diggers around here lately, though), but it would take me the entire summer just to get the ones up that are there now and I cannot get up and down. It is 1/4 acre lawn. I can dig the weeds up in the garden, though. I will try the vinegar thing.

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5/22/15 7:40 P

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As long as the dandelions aren't blooming, there shouldn't be a problem with the seeds. And instead of using weed and feed on your grass, you could always go the old fashioned route and just get a dandelion digger and take them out by hand. That's what my hubby does. They do grow back, but if you keep at it, they will eventually use up all the food stored in the taproot and will die.
You don't want to use the grass clippings from lawns treated with weed and feed in your beds until you've had at least 3 mowings, since the chemicals are in the grass blades and could kill the plants in your beds.

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
5/22/15 3:00 P

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The vinegar will kill the dandelions if you spray them several times, whenever they sprout back up.

Several layers, 4-5 pages, of news paper help keep weed seeds from sprouting but you will need to put something over it to hold down, like a light layer of mulch.

FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
5/22/15 2:34 P

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Thank you for the ideas and info on the peat. I guess my grass might not be the best idea since I have a lot of dandelions. Having pets I don't want to put the weed and feed stuff on the lawn. Probably will have to sometime since neighbors might complain about the dandelions.

I have heard to put newspaper over the ground around the plants to keep the weeds down. Have you used that method? I have a lot of papers from when my last dogs had problems and I haven't thrown them out. I would like to get enough produce to keep some over the winter if I can get a small freezer.

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
5/21/15 10:06 P

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Vinegar does work as a weed killer. On some weeds you may have to spray the a few times to kill them. I have killed poison ivy with it and even if you have to repeat spraying them its a lot cheaper than roundup and a lot better for the environment and you.

Grass clippings make a great addative to your garden as long as they do not contain weed or grass seeds. Peat moss is organic but is on the acid side side so don't add too much of it

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5/21/15 9:37 P

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Adding the grass clippings is an excellent way to improve the soil. We had a garden when we lived in an apartment. When we first turned it over it was hard and didn't have any worms at all. By the time we moved several years later, after only adding grass clippings when we mowed, the ground was loose, black, and filled with huge worms - a good indication of healthy soil.

If you drink coffee, you can add the used coffee grounds to the soil (including the filter, which will also break down completely. Just dig it in to the soil before planting. You can also sprinkle it around the plants AFTER you have the area planted - you'd never know they were there except for the coffee smell. If there's a coffee shop in your area, you can check and see if you can get their used coffee grounds too - some may be willing to save them for you or give them to you when you stop by.

And crushed eggshells are also a great addition both before and after planting. Sprinkling them around your plants will help keep any slugs off if you have an issue with that (lettuce and hosta are favorites of slugs).
Shredded paper is an excellent addition to a compost pile or bin if you have one.
If you live near any stables, it is worth it to check and see if they would be willing to let you haul off some of the well rotted manure mixed with straw that they may have. We were able to do that one year for our garden. If it's well rotted, it doesn't smell, and it is excellent for plants. The straw in it will also help keep the soil loose. Most likely it will have lots of earthworms in it too (and often you will see mushrooms growing on the pile).

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FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
5/21/15 9:06 P

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I have used that weed killer spray. It did pretty well on the weeds by the house, but they did grow back. It took a while for them to die, though. That is about all that grows up by the house, so I put the potted herbs there.

I am hoping to get some top soil and peat moss or something like that for my garden. (not sure if peat moss is an organic, so will have to check on that). Then will mow the lawn again and put the grass in. My neighbor is talking about getting a rototiller to turn the soil and get it deeper (he is so nice -- I can't afford to rent one of those and can't handle one anyway). I don't have much that makes a compost, but is there anything else I can do to make a better garden? It is about 6-8 feet wide and 16-20 feet long on the lower terrace and about the only place out back that gets enough sun to grow anything.

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5/21/15 9:11 A

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I haven't tried this, but I just read about a weed killer solution that is supposed to work like Roundup.
Just fill a spray bottle with 5% strength white vinegar and add a teaspoon of dish soap. The dish soap helps the spray to stick to the leaves of the plants. It supposedly will kill ALL plants that it is sprayed on, so be careful to spray it ONLY on the plants you want to get rid of. I'm going to try this and will let you know how it works.
It's best to spray it on a warm sunny day, and for best results, you probably don't want to spray if rain is in the forecast within 24 hours.

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
3/11/15 5:14 P

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I've never done cover crops. I filled my raised beds with a combination of top soil and compost and to maintain them the way I described below. I have a total of about 150 sq ft of raised beds that I grow enough veggies in to feed me, give some to my neighbors, and freeze some for use in the winter. Some of my gardening friemds comment on how great my veggies grow compared to theirs.

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3/11/15 4:19 P

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I was listening to the Organic Gardener podcast last night and she was interviewing an Aussey gardener who gardens this way. I'm going to try and follow his blog and see if it is helpful.I'm not finding the site real helpful. Moore has written an ebook at a cost of $.99 called No Dig Gardening. I do like this idea and am going to try it.

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3/11/15 4:08 P

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SharJo- so you never put in a cover crop? I worry that it may get in the way but plan to chop it with the weedeater right to the ground before I put the amendments on the beds. This may help suppress it. Knowing plants it may just bolt through and throw up seed heads anyway.
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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
3/10/15 5:26 P

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I would think that if you let the grass go to seed, the seeds would start growing in your garden beds, which you would not want during the growing season,
I add a small amount of blood meal, bone meal and wood ash on top of my cleaned up beds in the fall and top that with a layer of shredded leaves. In the spring I add a what compost I have ready and work it in. If your layer of leaves and compost isn't too think you can do it while doing your planting. I have been doing this to my raised beds for several years and have great results.

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3/10/15 5:09 P

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It is getting close to till the garden time and I'm ready for a change in habits.

Does anyone here practice no til? I have raised beds and always turn the soil in the spring since I plant a cover of annual rye grass. It really helps keep the soild freiable and adds a green manure to it. Is it possible to do no till where the rye grass is or is this growing grass going to become a monster? Annual is supposed to die back when it goes to seed (and is that seed going to be a problem?) I have a couple beds that don't have the grass so I will try no till there by adding a cover of compost and then just planting in it. My daughter does this and seems to have great luck but she does add a LOT of compost. She does not plant a cover crop. I was thinking 1-2" of compost would do. Anyone doing this?

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CBRINKLEY401's Photo CBRINKLEY401 SparkPoints: (104,431)
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2/6/15 7:12 P

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As long as the seeds don't also need light to germinate (tomatoes don't), you can put the tray on top of the refrigerator, which is usually warmer than on counters, at least until the seeds sprout. Then they DO need to be put near a window or other source of light. You could also put them on the fridge at night so they stay warm, then move them to a sunny spot during the day to get warmth from the sun.

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
2/6/15 7:59 A

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Seeds from warm season plants, like tomatoes can be slow to germinate if they don't get adaguate warmth. So try to keep them in the warmest area of the house or use a heat mat under the tray.

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2/6/15 7:19 A

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I'm trying a beefsteak plant. Its part of the James Wong collection, I think with Sutton seeds in the UK. I looked up the latin name and actually a Japanese herb, I've got the purple kind. Very slow germination in the kitchen at the moment.

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DJ4HEALTH's Photo DJ4HEALTH Posts: 47,101
1/27/15 1:55 A

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I throw it out because if I don't put it in a container then it will absorb the moisture and get hard. I do have an old tomato book that has that info in it and I just have to find where I put it.

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
1/26/15 7:43 A

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Info on using epsom salts in the garden is usually on the package.

DJ4HEALTH's Photo DJ4HEALTH Posts: 47,101
1/26/15 2:23 A

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Will try that with my tomatoes and I also heard that you can put epsom salts on the tomato plants, mixing it with water and then putting it on. Will have to find the info on how to do it.

Dorothy

If you tell God no because He won't explain the reason He wants you to do something, you are actually hindering His blessing. But when you say yes to Him, all of heaven opens to pour out His goodness and reward your obedience. What matters more than material blessings are the things He is teaching us in our spirit.
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FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
10/1/14 11:20 A

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Thank you, Cathy. I was just going to peel and freeze them. I sure don't have enough for much of anything else. My computer won't open things half the time, so I will check out the web site when it does.

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10/1/14 12:28 A

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light beige skin sounds more like sun scald, though that's usually at the top or sides, depending on what part is exposed to the sun (green peppers can get that too). If that is the case, the tomato is safe to use, though I would trim off the beige spots. Tomatoes with sun scald don't keep well, so you need to use them up quickly.
Blossom end rot can start out as a beige spot, but as it progresses it gets darker and sunken in.
Here's a link to images I found when I googled "tomato blossom end rot". Perhaps some of those may look like what you have?
https://www.google.com/search?q=toma
to
+blossom+end+rot&client=firefox-a&hsR>=1mX&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&
ch
annel=sb&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=u
niv&sa
=X&ei=c38rVJuqEM6LyATjhoH4Cg
&ved=0CEwQ
sAQ&biw=1280&bih=895


It is not a disease, but is caused by a deficiency in calcium - either because the soil is lacking in enough calcium, the PH of the soil is to high or low so calcium can't be taken up by the plants, or too much or too little water result in not enough calcium. If water is the issue, you can't do much about too much rain, but you can make sure that they get enough water if the weather is dry. I added compost with finely crushed eggshells to the bottom of the hole when I planted my tomatoes this year, and definitely saw less blossom end rot than last year, though I don't know if that was the reason or not. Lime works too, though both take time and aren't much help if you are already having a problem. Dissolving epsom salts in water and spraying it (or applying using a watering can) on the leaves of affected plants may help. If you boil eggs, save the water, let it cool, then water the leaves of the tomato plants with that (lots of calcium and other minerals are in egg water).

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FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
9/30/14 6:24 P

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I picked several tomatoes yesterday and found that some have a light beige skin at the blossom end that extends down about 1/3 of the way of the tomato. I have been trying to find out about it by looking at the web, but nothing I have found has anything mentioned like that. When I try to find it by pictures all google does is send you to another search engine, which sends to another search engine and that just keeps continuing. Does anyone know what that would be and if it completely ruins the tomato? Was wanting to have enough to make sauce or ketchup, but it looks like I won't have very many.

Darlene


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FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
8/22/14 1:56 P

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Thank you for the information. I will try taking something to get more manure whenever I go out to see Fancy. I did use horse manure last fall, but that only got about 3/4 of the garden so I can use more if I get the grass out of there this fall.

Darlene


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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
8/22/14 10:48 A

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An additional thought regarding you increasing your garden area. Something I do to improve my existing soil that is low cost. Each fall I put on some blood meal, bone meal and a little wood ash (from untreated wood) then cover that with a layer of shredded leaves. In the spring I add compost from my bin and turn it in. The blood meal and bone meal don't cost much and the rest of it is free. If you know anyone with horses or cows you can usually get manure to add to your garden for free, the fresher manure you can add in the fall before covering the area with leaves, if it is well rotted you can add it in the spring before turning in the leaves.

FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
8/21/14 10:31 P

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Thank you. I did have to plant late again because it kept snowing off and on until the end of May. I went to a class a couple weeks ago on how to extend the life or your garden and hope I can get some of that stuff done before next year. It will help to start the things earlier, even if it is a little snowy, I think. The guy who did the class is in Colo Springs and that is a higher elevation than here. I hope that will mean I can start things around the 1st part of May rather than the 1st week of June.

I will try to get some of the DEh mixed with water and see if that will help. I had tried it on the ground, but in some cases it didn't work too well.

Edited by: FANCYQTR at: 8/21/2014 (22:33)
Darlene


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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
8/21/14 7:49 P

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FANCYQTR
Here is a link to an article with a few ideas on getting rid of earwigs.

www.hgtvgardens.com/garden-basics/bu
g-
off-get-the-earwigs-out-of-my-garden


If you decide to use the diatomaceous earth, you can mix about tablespoon of it in a quart spray bottle of water and spray it on that way. It is easier to get the undersides of leaves that way. I always wear a dust mask when using it.

Some of the other problems you have may be caused by various insects on the squash and pumpkin plants, squash bugs/borers maybe the problem, or stink bugs. The diatomaceous earth will help with the stink bugs.

As far as the size of your tomatoes, it could be a number of things. If they are still green, they will probably get bigger before they ripen. If you have not gotten any ripe tomatoes yet, you may have planted them late. Also, this year a lot of things in my garden have been coming in late due to the very cool, very wet weather.

FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
8/21/14 7:10 P

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The bugs eating my plants have turned out to be earwigs. I found them on the bottom side of the raspberry bush leaves. I have seen a couple down in the garden on the ground, but I guess there have been a lot because the leaves are getting eaten on everything.

I am getting totally frustrated trying to have a garden and get any produce from it. I have pumpkin, apparently, that just grew all over the place, but there are only two pumpkins on it that would be worth harvesting (if they completely ripen). There are plenty of blossoms on everything, that vine plus the spaghetti squash that has only 4 squash on the entire plant and they are very small. I have tomatoes on the tomato plants. A few of them are larger than cherry tomatoes (they are Better Boy) and the plum tomatoes are no larger than the cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes (in a different area) have some the size of cherry tomatoes and the rest the size of grape tomatoes. I have been trying to get produce so that I can save money on things, but the garden is costing a lot more than buying high priced vegetables. Plus my pumpkin vines are completely dead in the center of them and I don't know what happened there. It just got that way in the last week. And I have mildew on the spaghetti squash that I cannot get rid of. I have used neem oil on it as we were told at a class I took and it has just spread more. How do I get anything to actually grow well? I used well aged manure for fertilizing this year. I would like to expand the garden a little again since the tree that was shading the yard further over has had several branches die and doesn't shadow it now. Of course that will take more top soil, compost, peat and everything, which will make it a lot more costly to try to grow anything.

Darlene


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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
8/20/14 9:42 A

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Nematodes should work for grubs as well as for Japanese beetles.

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8/20/14 9:13 A

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Good question! I did try some several years ago, but we really don't have a big grub problem - to the extent that we can see actual damage to the lawn, I didn't get enough to actually treat the whole yard, and I never checked to see if they worked or not. So I haven't tried it again.


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Question....I've found grubs in my soil...has anyone tried nematodes? I came across an article about them, and wondered if anyone tried it.

Fall seven times...get up eight.

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FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
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Oh, I hope it isn't those. Would Diatomatious Earth (don't know how to spell) work on them? I poured some of it around the basil. Then had a bug repellent recipe from some essential oils and mixed up some of that to try on the plants. I will have to do something for the Cannas that I have out front. The bug repellent is actually for pets, people, etc. but I thought maybe it would repel them from the plants, too.

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Not sure what is eating your basil, but I've found that japanese beetles do love basil, along with rhubarb, cannas, and roses. Of course, I don't know if there is a plant that japanese beetles don't like, but those are the ones in my yard that they seem to go to first. They seemed fond of my eggplants 2 years ago as well.
I go around with a dish of soapy water, knock them into the water, and let them drown. They also leave pheromones on the plants they feed on, as a way of marking them to find them later and also of attracting a mate. So I do my best to spray the leaves thoroughly of the plants they have fed on, especially the undersides, to try and wash those off.

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FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
7/3/14 2:06 P

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I am always reading to plant Basil around other things because it keeps the bugs away, but they are eating my basil and leaving about everything else alone. Does anyone have any idea what bugs would be eating basil and how to get rid of them?

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FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
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Don't know where you guys are located, but if you anyone is in Denver don't bother with the Extension Service. They don't seem to know anything. Some of the better nurseries have Master Gardeners there that can answer questions. I walked in a different door of one and found they have a Master Gardener right by the door that can answer questions like "what is this bush that is growing wild." Actually found out I have a wild plum growing but the extension service has no idea what to even look at to find out what it is.


Well, the extension service finally called back and said that the bush looks like a flowering quince. I looked that up and the bush doesn't look anything like it.

Edited by: FANCYQTR at: 7/3/2014 (14:08)
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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
6/26/14 12:24 P

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ANDEPK
Home Depot will probably not be much help. Most of the big box stores that have a garden center don't employ many people who know much about gardening. You would be better off checking with your local Master Gardeners or your county agricultural office. You can usually find either one by searching on line (ie Master Gardeners city, state or County Agricultural Extension county, state.)

ANDEPK Posts: 22
6/26/14 7:43 A

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I can try to catch them but they do fly. I don't know of a nursery that is organic that can help but will check with Home depot or maybe my daughter will know of a nursery near by. Thank you for the info. I will continue to check my books.

SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
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: ANDEPK
When trying to control bugs, it helps to know what kind of bug it is. If you can capture at least one in a tightly sealed container, jar or ziplock bag, you can take it to a good nursery or your county agricultural extension/Master Gardeners office and they may be able to identify it and let you know the best ways of taking care of the problem.

ANDEPK Posts: 22
6/25/14 12:42 P

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This year my tomato plants are producing really well. I have some tomatoes that are bigger then my hand. I have one problem. I find there are small bugs like small fleas that are eating my tomatoes. I have tried mint and that has helped a little. Any suggestions?

FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
6/24/14 6:19 P

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I will have to keep an eye out for those slugs. Haven't seen them before.

I have an apple tree that is producing this year. Last time every apple on the tree had something eating it. Is there anything safe to use to keep the insects/worms away from them? And any ideas to keep the birds from eating on each and every apple?

I have heard that basil is good to plant with veggies to keep the bugs away. I have a problem, though. I have my herbs all in pots so that I can bring them in in the winter and the only herb that the insects are eating is my basil. What can I do for that. I did get seeds to plant marigolds. Should I try that in with my basil?

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
6/24/14 1:24 P

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Here are a couple of articles on squash bug control.

Since add a link doesn't work for me you will have to copy and paste the addresses.

http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-an
d-grow/technique-organic-squash-bug-co
ntrol

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect
/05609.html

HOPEFULHIPPO's Photo HOPEFULHIPPO Posts: 6,674
6/24/14 12:36 P

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well I know crushed eggshells are good for slugs, I don't know if it'd do well for squash bugs... maybe a spray container of cayenne, garlic, dawn??

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MICHELLELEE150's Photo MICHELLELEE150 Posts: 427
6/24/14 5:04 A

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Just noticing squash bugs! Yikes! We are raising guineas to eat bugs, but they are not quite ready to go outside yet. We have cats, so we have to be careful what, if anything, we apply, even if it is organic (pyrethrum is out of the question). I live in zone 5. Any suggestions?

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FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
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Thanks for the info. I just planted 3 more squash and hope they make it okay. I didn't know that they don't like to be transplanted. Would seem they wouldn't be selling them that way when they are a problem to transplant. I am not too good with starting my own seedlings. They always die at 2 weeks.

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
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Some melons and squashes don't like their roots disturbed after they start growing. Be careful when you transplant them to take them out of the container as gently as possible and do NOT loosen up the root ball. In the future you might try starting them from seed in peat pots of other containers that you can plant directly into the ground.

FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
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I got my garden planted the other day. Some seeds and some started plants. I particularly wanted some Spaghetti Squash because I have started using that if I want spaghetti instead of the pasta. I bought 2 pots (3 plants each) of the squash and 1 pot of cantaloupe. Everything was dead the next day. I just got some more spaghetti squash and hoping it will live. Does anyone have any ideas why my plants die the second I put them in the ground? My tomatoes, peppers and cauliflower are doing okay, but they look like they will be going any time now, too. The ground there has bags of compost and also composted manure (manure is 2 years old and was spread out since fall, so isn't a hot manure). We have gotten some hot weather since I planted, but I have made sure to water to get everything starting well.

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
6/5/14 5:47 P

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Go ahead and try planting it, the pit is the seed so once it has sprouted the roots should sustain the plant. I would put it in a sunny window until you see how it is doing then if it does alright move it out to a mostly shady location then slowly move it to a sunnier spot as it adjusts to the outdoors.

HOPEFULHIPPO's Photo HOPEFULHIPPO Posts: 6,674
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I started an avocado tree from a pit. it grew about a foot with two little leaves in the water. One day the leaves started looking like they were turning brown. I saw that it hadn't been watered and refilled the water while I got the pot soil ready.

When I went to transplant the seedling on side of the "pit" broke off the tree. I have it planted but there are no leaves and I hope I didn't screw this up. Any one have any other suggestions for keeping this baby alive and continue growing? Should I take it outside or is 100 degrees to hot for a seedling?

Any and ALL advice appreciated.

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3/27/14 4:54 A

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No, I've never tried those types of eggplants. We always plant Black Beauty Eggplants. I'm afraid my hubby is pretty well stuck on those, and trying something new is not his forte'. lol! I've always coated them in raw egg, then cracker crumbs and fried them. That's another thing he's stuck on, fried foods. :( I THINK I tried roasting them one time last year, and for some reason, they came out soggy in the middle and not fully cooked around the edges. Not sure why, but it was probably something I did wrong. lol!

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3/27/14 2:26 A

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Have you ever tried fairy tale eggplants? They are divine. They are small and tender, grow in clusters of 5 or 6. They are light purple with white stripes. They are prolific. Slicing them, mixing them with a tiny amount of olive oil and tossing with a seasoned salt then roasting till carmelized at 350 degrees in the oven is absolutely divine. I won't be able to do much gardening this year, but I WILL have some small tomatoes and those eggplants.

; )

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I like Shar's suggestion about using pots for this year. Once you find where your dry spots, wet spots, most and least nutritious soils etc.. are, you can take it from there, for permanent planting. I love tomatoes and eggplants! Not everyone likes eggplants. We can't even give them away around here. emoticon *sigh*

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
3/26/14 7:30 A

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Even in a new house you can guess fairly well what areas will have enough sun for a few of your favorite veggies, and if nothing else you can always put them in pots and move them to spots that get good sun.

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I'm in a new house and I'll have to spend this year figuring out what I have already, where there is sun and shade, that kind of thing. I'm sure I'll have to have a couple of tomatoes and eggplants, though.

; )

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
3/23/14 9:34 A

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I'm out here!
I'm just getting my veggie garden ready to go for the season.

DHSEKERKE's Photo DHSEKERKE Posts: 554
3/23/14 2:58 A

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I found the forum. Now, is anyone out there?

; )

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
10/18/13 9:01 P

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Interesting idea, I may try that next spring.

HABITATVITALITY's Photo HABITATVITALITY Posts: 1,611
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Hi All, I guess this is where I log an idea that I have just tried that really works. You can check out my blog for today for an explanation and photos. I have made pretend cabbage moths out of white plastic, put them in my garden on skewer stakes and it keeps the real cabbage moths off my garden. See blog for full information. Link: http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_j
ournal_individual.asp?blog_id=5517203
Cheers Karen

Edited by: HABITATVITALITY at: 10/18/2013 (18:08)
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I agree that Iris are extremely hardy. My grandma's neighbor was thinning their irises and left the extras in bags, out in the yard, over the winter. I was helping to clean up my grandma's yard and came across the bags the next spring, and the irises were alive and growing! I planted them and they did great.
They should do just fine being transplanted this time of year. I have some I need to move and will be transplanting them sometime within the next month once I get the area ready. I'm sure they will be fine. I don't cut back the foliage on mine though, as that reduces the amount of nutrients the plants will manufacture and store in the bulb for next year, and thus also reduces flowering. I wait until the leaves are dead or mostly brown before removing them.
If you mulch them now it may help keep the soil warmer and thus prolong the time they have to root in to the new area before the ground freezes. (For established plants and beds of course, it's best to wait until after the ground freezes to mulch, so a sudden warm spell doesn't start the plants growing again prematurely, or cause the plants to heave out of the ground with too many freeze/thaw cycles).

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
9/1/13 5:47 P

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Iris are a really hardy plant. They can survive transplanting almost any time except winter. However I most often see it recommended to transplant them in the fall. That will let them get the roots established and increase the chances of them blooming the next spring.

ROSES17's Photo ROSES17 Posts: 11,743
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Where I live (zone 7) you can go ahead and so them now or you can wait until very early spring. Check with your extension agent about that.

Lottie
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I have a question about bearded iris. I need to move some of mine and am wondering if this is a project I should do now, as I'm cutting down the foliage, or if I should wait until spring to transplant. I'm in Zone 3 if that matters. Any suggestions or ideas?

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Oh, thank you. The spindly stems are definitely one of the problems. Then they fall over and die.

Yesterday I noticed that one of the vines that grew where I planted the cucumbers had something that looks like one of those individual watermelon. I took pictures and found out it is probably a pumpkin. I know that I didn't plant any watermelon. So I have a little more than I thought. Hooray!

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Also, to make sure your stems aren't week, be sure to lightly brush your hand over the tops of the seedlings once a day, or put an oscillating fan on them on low for a few minutes at least. When plants are grown from seed outside, the wind blowing on them strengthens the stems. Inside the air isn't moving so having a fan blowing gently on them or brushing your hand over them does the same thing.
Tomatoes, cucumbers, and pumpkins can form roots along the stems, so if your plants are a bit leggy or spindly, be sure to bury part of the stems in the ground. I do this anyway with tomatoes, as they can always benefit from having extra roots.

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FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
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Thank you. I will try that when I start them next year. Years ago (when Dad was still around) I started the plants inside and he transplanted them and they grew like crazy. He always had a great garden, even in the shade.

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When starting seedlings inside, sprinkle a little peat moss on top of the soil, this helps prevent damping off. When using a light to help your seedlings, be sure to keep it as close as possible to the plants without touching them. A distance of even 6 inches from the plants will greatly reduce the amount of light they get.

FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
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Thank you. I broke up the soil down there as much as I could. We cannot plant until Memorial Day since we often have snow in May (had it one year in June), so the growing season is late. I keep trying to start the plants inside, but they keep dying every year before I could get them in the ground. Even in the ground they are too spindly to live. I got a couple replacement plants this year -- a pepper, the pumpkin, a tomato and a "cantaloupe." The cantaloupe was mismarked and turned out to be zucchini, which is where I got two of my zucchinis.

I am not sure what I am doing wrong starting the plants. I had a light on them this year and in front of a mostly south facing window.. I get free seeds from the city plus a few transplants. I will have to see if I can scrape together enough for one of those soil testing things. Thanks.

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Horse manure is an excellent fertilizer. A fellow gardener uses that to grow his giant pumpkins (not sure if he ever won, but they were definitely large enough to enter in contests). Horse manure (and any compost for that matter) benefits both heavy and light soils in regards to moisture retention and drainage.

If you haven't done so already, I would recommend having your soil tested first to help identify any possible deficiencies that need to be corrected. I've purchased soil testing kits before at garden centers and they weren't very expensive. I even have a probe now that gives moisture, ph, and light levels and doesn't require chemicals. Not sure where I picked that one up at.
PH is important since most vegetables do best with neutral to slightly acidic soils. But too much either way and plants won't grow or produce as well, and are more susceptible to disease.

As to this year's crop, it helps to know when you planted them, weather conditions, etc. My tomatoes took awhile before they finally started growing normally and producing. Heavy spring rains compacted the soil, and we didn't break it up enough so the roots were struggling to push through and water wasn't getting absorbed into the ground properly. Beans and potatoes are also not doing as well as last year, and my peppers are less than a foot tall. Big difference from last year. Planting was delayed, so when we could finally get in to the garden plots to plant, we were so anxious to get things planted that we rushed instead of doing things properly, and it shows. Pumpkins for us are behind as well. We often would have our first orange ones show up in August, but none are even close to full grown yet this year.

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This has been another strange gardening year for many of us, with a wet late spring, followed by a very cool stretch in late July and early August. So many things are very late this year. I usually have ripe tomatoes by mid July and this year didn't get any until early August. So some of your problems may be due to the weather. I had to re-sow some things because the seeds rotted before they sprouted.

The manure will probably help the soil, it depends on what type of soil you have to begin with. If the soil has a high clay content the organic matter with help loosen it up and if it is sandy it will help it retain moisture better. It will also add some nutrients to the soil. How much it will help depends on the condition of your soil to begin with and what nutrients it needs, which you can only tell by getting your soil tested.

FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
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I got very little from my garden I planted this year. We dug several bags of compost soil into it before I planted the seeds and transplants. I do have quite a few tomatoes, though they haven't begun to ripen. I got 3 zucchini that I can find and I think 3 very small butternut squash (not anywhere near ripening). The butternut squash are about 5 or maybe 6 inches long with about a 2 1/2 inch diameter round part. I have about 2 small Anaheim peppers and 2 very small Big Jim peppers (about 1/2 inch in length. No cantaloupe and no pumpkins. I had only one cucumber plant growing and nothing else that I planted even sprouted.

My question is if I put my 3 barrels of manure on the garden and dig it in, will that be enough to get the garden going better next year? It is currently about 8' x 12', but I want to add about 18" to the side and maybe 4 feet in length. The manure is 1 1/2 year old horse manure. I have known people who use that type for fertilizer who got good results and I cannot afford to purchase fertilizer.

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You can always tell the male flowers from the female ones for any of the squash family, as the female ones bloom right near the vine and have a baby squash/pumpkin/cucumber located right behind the flower even before it blooms. The males have longer stems and just the flower. Pickles usually only have female flowers so they include some other cucumber seeds in the packets to provide the male flowers to pollinate them.

Cucumbers last longer if you do NOT refrigerate them. The ones you get from the store however have been refrigerated so they do need to be stored in the refrigerator.

-Cathy B
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JANEYBEE's Photo JANEYBEE Posts: 1,091
7/16/13 2:20 A

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I finally do have some more baby cukes forming. Looking forward to a fresh crunch!

Janey

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
7/1/13 9:47 A

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Cucumbers and squash plants will generally produce both male and female flowers on the same vine. The male flowers usually start opening before the female ones.

JANEYBEE's Photo JANEYBEE Posts: 1,091
7/1/13 1:12 A

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Thanks, I hadn't thought about the male/female cucumber thing, I bought plants this year, but I know with seeds some varieties include a male pollinator. All of mine have produced at least one cuke, so something must be working, maybe just not enough.

Janey

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
6/24/13 2:12 P

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JANEYBEE
Here is a link to a good article on pollination of various garden veggies including cucumbers.

http://www.spokane-county.wsu.edu/Spokan
e/eastside/Fact%20Sheets/C148%20Why%20
Blossoms%20Fail%20%2005.pdf

Sorry but you are going to have to copy and paste the link because add a link didn't work.

GEORGIEGURLZ's Photo GEORGIEGURLZ SparkPoints: (12,471)
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6/24/13 11:49 A

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Thanks Roses for the info. I didn't think it was a blight because it came back in the volunteer plants this year. I had never seen this type of tomato disorder til last year. Also copper sulfate has no affect on it when the volunteer plants came up this year.
I will pass this information on.
I have pulled out all of the plants that came up volunteer and destroyed them. Now I have signs of early blight in my other tomatoes!
We have had a monsoon season here in WV for a while. I have pulled off the damaged parts on the tomatoes. Know any remedies? I am trying copper sulfate.

Edited by: GEORGIEGURLZ at: 6/24/2013 (11:55)
Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.


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JANEYBEE's Photo JANEYBEE Posts: 1,091
6/24/13 2:30 A

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Do cucumbers need a specific temperature range to successfully set fruit? I had at least one fruit from each plant, (3 varieties) by the first week of June and now I don't see any new ones in progress. Some flowers, but no baby cukes. emoticon Our temps have been up and down, not our usual June gloom pattern.

Janey

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SOUTHERNMOM72's Photo SOUTHERNMOM72 SparkPoints: (5,638)
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6/20/13 2:22 P

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Sometimes 'sun scald' or even just overwatering can look like tomato blight. Water on the ground early in the day-try not to let the water sit on the leaves-also, tomatoes would rather be flooded twice a week than watered a good bit everyday. Central Florida is a great place to grow just about anything that can be grown in the south, just as long as you know a few tricks.


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ROSES17's Photo ROSES17 Posts: 11,743
6/20/13 5:57 A

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There is a wilt that has the same signs that you are telling me. The best thing to do is to pull them up and make sure that you do not put them in your compost pile. I saw a lot of that last year as I helped my horticulture agent at the cooperative extension agency. I am a Master Gardener and love to share advice and knowledge to others. Also, rotate your garden from year to year. Don't put things that are in the same family in that spot for a couple of years as this is soil born.

Edited by: ROSES17 at: 6/20/2013 (05:59)
Lottie
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GEORGIEGURLZ's Photo GEORGIEGURLZ SparkPoints: (12,471)
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6/19/13 9:04 P

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Last year my tomatoes took a blight. I went to the local extension office and they said it was late blight, even though it was very early in the season. The leaves looked like they had been burned. Some of them would turn yellow, some of them had spots and they would fall off. They told me to use copper sulfate. I did that and I saved my harvest, but by the end of the season the plants were done for. I destroyed all the plants. This year I had some volunteer tomatoes come up. I left some of them in the garden because I recognized them as varieties that I grow each year. They soon started showing signs of the same "blight". But the copper sulfate is non effective on these plants. Any ideas on what kind of a disease this could be and what to do about it. My Mom and 2 sisters have had the same problem with volunteers that came up from their gardens. They had the same "blight" last year also, and their volunteers did the same things mine did. We have pulled and destroyed all the volunteer plants.
I took one plant to the extension office yesterday and asked if they could test it to see what kind of disease this is.
Any suggestions?


Edited by: GEORGIEGURLZ at: 6/19/2013 (21:05)
Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.


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FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
5/27/13 8:34 P

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We started rototilling the garden today and found that it is full of ants. Does anyone have any ideas how to get rid of them? My friend told me to take back the DE I got because she has some and she told me about something with Borax and jelly. I need to clear out a plot 8 X 12. I have quite a bit left to get done in there after they are gone since it turns out there are a lot of tree roots in it.

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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
5/26/13 11:37 A

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Hi, welcome to the team.
Successful gardening begins with the soil. The better it is the better the crops you grow will be.
Most of us are not lucky enough to have great garden soil, so we have to create it. Add as much organic matter to your soil as you can. If you don't have a compost bin, start one. Organic matter/compost loosens up clay soil and adds a lot of nutrients to sandy soil as well as helping sandy soil with water retention.

FANCYQTR's Photo FANCYQTR Posts: 7,092
5/26/13 2:17 A

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I just joined this team and may need a lot of help with trying to get my garden going. I have some seedlings started to put out there, but they are dying, again. The same thing happened last year. I planted them in the containers that you can just put in the ground and they disintegrate. I have 7 bags of organic soil/compost to put in the garden. I have some "pizza peppers" (I don't know what that means, tomatoes, lettuce and spinach that is all going. Other than that I have planted some squash and cantaloupe. I also plan to have winter squash, pumpkin (don't know if there is time for that to grow), chili peppers, carrots, cucumbers and I have 2 kinds of tomatoes that are transplants. I will try to get some herbs started in containers. I have tried tomatoes and chili peppers the last several years and haven't gotten anything from those plants. I also have raspberry in a pot and have a strawberry plant that I don't know if I can get to grow properly or not since the cat kept eating it. It has one stem left.

Does anyone have any advise what I can do to get these things to grow and product in zone 5 (Denver)? I have an 8 x 16 plot we are trying to get prepared on Monday.

Darlene


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BRAVELUTE's Photo BRAVELUTE Posts: 3,944
4/14/13 2:22 P

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Yes Roses, my strawberries love the raised bed and I expect they would have taken over the 4X4 foot area if I had planted the 2 plants in the center instead of the outside squares. They started putting out runners immediately. I have other plants in hanging baskets, and they are pretty, but the raised beds are doing better.

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ROSES17's Photo ROSES17 Posts: 11,743
4/14/13 1:41 P

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I have tried to do strawberries in one of those upside down things and they just died right out. Big waste of money. The ones that I put in the raised bed a finally doing something. I think those will make it.

Lottie
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TERRIJ7's Photo TERRIJ7 SparkPoints: (161,355)
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4/14/13 11:42 A

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My dad tried the upside down tomato bags and said it was a waste of time, too. He has always been one to try "novelty" plants for the garden, just for fun--like the giant, 16' corn and foot-long green beans he grew when we were kids--but he said he wouldn't do those tomatoes again.

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BRAVELUTE's Photo BRAVELUTE Posts: 3,944
4/11/13 9:47 P

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PS: I tried tomatoes in one of those upside down tubes last year. Big waste of my money. I'm doing much better this year in the ground with the soil ammended with lots of Mels mix. I at least have fruit. Hopefully I'll get some to maturity.

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BRAVELUTE's Photo BRAVELUTE Posts: 3,944
4/11/13 9:44 P

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Yesicon, I live on the Gulf Coast in Central Florida. I don't consider myself an expert. The most success I've ever had was this past year, using the square foot gardening method. I set up four 4 x 4 raised bed boxes in the fall and had lots of salad greens, peas, squash blossoms. Garlic, onions, and shallots are still going. I planted peppers and tomatoes in that fall garden, but they never made it. I'll have them going earlier next year.

I'm afraid I got everything in my spring garden going too late. I was in NC in January and should have started my transplant seeds then. I can't help you too much with tomatoes. I've never been successful except with patio pots. So that might fit your situation.

Re: the heat: I have put containers on the east side of my house. They get the morning sun, and then are shaded in the hot afternoon. And let me tell you, the afternoon is hot. The watercress is doing well there, at least for now in a tub that I keep VERY wet. I'm working on grow bags for the greens which I plan to put in the narrow strip on the west side of my house. Things will be shaded in the morning, and get full sun like from 11 - 1, then dappled shade from the hedge on the west lot line the rest of the day. I'm hoping I can get the cool weather crops like the greens and maybe broccoli to grow there now. However, the broccoli is still going strong in the full sun raised beds.

I have found that basil does well just throwing out some seeds. And it reseeds itself quickly. I'm trying stevia which is supposed to like the heat. I found seeds, but Walmart sells it.

I watched a video about sprouting seeds for sprouts to eat like barley, wheat, mung beans, etc. And they were all grown just with ambient light inside.

So perhaps your patio or porch might be the place to try. And consider grow bags with a mix like Mel Bartholomew recommends for square foot gardening: 1 part coarse vermiculite, 1 part peat, 1 part blended compost from 5 different sources.
Grow Bags would allow you to carry your plants to new places for different times of the growing seasons. More sun in the fall, less sun now. I even put things in them in the fall that didn't want to have frost and moved them inside when a hard freeze was expected, then back outside after it warmed up.

I also grew lots of greens in Dollar Tree plastic containers. Especially leaf lettuce. My patio table was covered with them and once they matured, I had a salad every day for about 2 months from 6 containers. Red Salad Bowl was spectacular.

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HACK_HACKER's Photo HACK_HACKER SparkPoints: (15,922)
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4/11/13 9:26 P

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My grandmother is an avid gardener in Florida. You'll have to do a lot to avoid sunburn--on the plants, I mean! The screen on your porch should help a little, but I'd get in the habit of only allowing the plants to sit on the porch from dawn to noon, or from afternoon to sunset. That's if your going to grow during the summer.

You can get a more typical growing season if you grow during the "winter," but bulbs of any sort will have to be dug up and put in the freezer after their growing season. Most other plants, you'll find, will bolt (throw up flower spikes and seeds) prematurely in the Florida heat.

Tomatoes would have to be grown during Floridian spring or fall to avoid splitting or burning the fruit. The biggest trick will be keeping the container (or the ground) from drying out too much, because the fluctuation between a heavy watering and the drying heat will split the fruit too. There are some varieties bred to avoid splitting or burning, and growing upside-down or in tomato bags might help. Best of luck!

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ROSES17's Photo ROSES17 Posts: 11,743
4/7/13 3:52 P

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I plant cucumbers and squash in pots on the south side of my house. They tend to do really good and it keeps them off of the ground. I don't know much about gardening in Florida but you may want to give cucumbers and squash a try.

Lottie
Eastern North Carolina


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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
3/11/13 4:07 P

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YESICON2
Many herbs are great for container gardening, though many that we use are native to the Mediteranian area and are traditionally grown on sunny slopes with poor soil so they may do well in your area

Since I'm from Missouri, I don't have experience with the Florida growing climate and season but tomatoes would probably benefit from lots of compost being work into the soil. Also planting them on a side of the house that gets less sun, east, might help them

Hopefully some other team members who know more about growing in your area and add to this..


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3/11/13 3:22 P

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Hi Shari, I have been a member of Sparkpeople for a while, however, I've not been very active. Hopefully that will change. I love gardening but here is central FL it's really tough. My goal for now is to grow some herbs on my screen porch. Later I would like to expand to a real garden. I don't have a lot of shade and the sun gets unbearable in the summer. I'm hoping others out there will have some ideas. Also if anyone has any helpful hints of growing tomatoes down here, I'm all ears! (or e-mails as the case may be.) emoticon

The road of life is made smoother when traveled with someone you love!


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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,958
3/7/13 3:43 P

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Hi fellow organic gardeners!
My name is Shari, I have just join the other co-leaders of this team to try to help all of you become better organic gardeners, hopefully you will also be helping us do the same.

The idea behind this topic is to have one place for all of you to ask your gardening questions and get information and solutions to help you out. I will be "overseeing" this topic to be sure each questions gets at least some reply promptly. This does not make me the be all and end all expert on any and all qardening questions. I hope that many of you will contribute to help supply each other with ideas on how to deal with questions and problems. Since this is an organic gardening team, I do ask that you keep any recommendations organic.

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