May 18, 2016
Well, haven’t we had the roller coaster weather this past week! It’ s so hard to believe that Saturday could be so nice and then Sunday turn into something that felt closer to winter. The winds were brutally strong. If you recently put plants into the ground, you should check the plants for signs of wind damage. If you see white leaves on your plants or if you see leaves that have brown edges, then the wind was the likely cause of the damage. Depending on the extent of the damage, the application of some water and fertilizer should help the plants to survive. In some cases, you can take off the damaged leaves and the plants will continue to grow. If the damage is severe, you may need to take out the plants and put new plants in the ground.
People have asked me if it is safe to plant tomato and other warm weather vegetable plants. The adage has been that you always plant tomato, pepper, squash and cucumber plants on Memorial Day. Recently, the though has been that you plant after the last average frost which in our area is May 10th. If you planted on the 11 Th, you have seen the roller coaster ride the weather has taken. The answer as to the right planting time is probably after the full moon in May. The full moon is Saturday and the early weather forecast calls for cloudy weather that night. If the night is clear, a frost might settle in low-lying areas. I know that this isn’t a real answer, but with the weird weather this spring, it is the best I can do.
Once you get those plants in the ground, it is important to keep up with fertilizing your plants. Most of the plants that you are buying now are hybrid plants. In exchange for giving you lots of beautiful flowers or a bountiful harvest of vegetables, you need to supply the plants with a steady supply of fertilizer. If you do not keep up with fertilizing the plants, you will be disappointed in the outcome of your gardens.
The winter moth caterpillars have emerged and they are busy eating a lot of leaves on maple and oak trees. They also have a fondness for blueberry bushes and any of the flowering trees. At this point in time, an application of a biologic caterpillar control called BT is the best way to knock the population back. This product is mixed with water and applied to the leaves of the plant. It should be re-applied at an interval of every 7 to 10 days until the caterpillar population declines. The only good news is that this caterpillar only feeds for about 6 weeks. Once they have stopped feeding, you should apply fertilizer around your trees and apply water around the tree. Many of the trees will put out new leaves and this will minimize the long-term damage to the trees from the feeding of this pest.
For those of you who have been waiting for our supply of the sweet potato vegetable plants to arrive, they should be here by the weekend. Many people have had good success with growing sweet potatoes in their garden. One year, we even grew some sweet potatoes in a large flowerpot. They grew like crazy and we were rewarded with over 8 pound of sweet potatoes.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.