28August 15, 2012

The hot weather continues to beat down upon our area. In some cases, it has been good for the vegetable gardens because we have had some rain to keep the plants growing. Window boxes have, in some cases taken a beating due to the heat. The good and bad news is that hardy mums will very soon be available to plant in those not so pretty window boxes. One of the things that always happen in late August is the influx of customers who are unhappy with the results in their vegetable gardens. The tomato plants may have a lot of green tomatoes but not many red tomatoes. The summer squash and zucchini and the cucumbers that were once yielding are now leaves with very few vegetables. I’ll ask a few questions and then I’ll ask the question that easily gives the solution. The question is “ When was the last time you fertilized the garden? “ Sometimes the answer is that they water the garden, sometime the answer is that they fertilized in the spring when everything was planted. Vegetables require a steady supply of fertilizer if they are to produce the crop that you want to have from your garden. Depending on the type of fertilizer, you may have to fertilize your garden once a week at this time of the season. Tomato plants won’t ripen those green tomatoes unless there is enough potassium in the soil. In many cases, once people begin to fertilize the tomato plants, those green tomatoes begin to ripen very quickly. Your vegetable garden needs to be fertilized from planting time right up until you pull those last plants out of the garden. Don’t let all that hard work of planting, watering and weeding go to waste. Keep up with fertilizing your vegetable garden. Many of you have told me about the problems you have had this year with Japanese beetles feeding on your plants. While the beetles have been feeding on your plants, the female beetles have also been laying eggs in your lawn. Those eggs will hatch out in early to mid September as the white grubs that feed on your lawn. If you are going to use one of the season long grub control granules on your lawn, now is the time to apply this product. This product is applied to the soil and then watered into the soil. The grub killer actually attaches itself to the roots of the grass. As the grubs feed on the roots they are killed by the grub control. The process of the grub control attaching itself to the roots takes about 30 days to be fully effective. If you do the math, now is the right time to apply the product so that it is effective as soon as the grubs hatch out in your lawn. If you want to use a more organic approach, there is a product called Milky Spore that can be applied to the lawn. This is a bacterium that is in a spore form (think of spores as eggs) that targets only the Japanese beetle grubs. As the grub eats the spores of this product, they quickly stop eating and then they die. The Milky Spore stays active in the soil for at least 10 years. This is a very organic method to control those grubs. Now would be a good time to apply this product. It will need to be watered into the soil so that the spores are done near the roots of the grass. Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week. lea

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