39 August 6, 2008
August has arrived and our gardens are producing all kinds of flowers and vegetables. If your garden isn’t producing all of the flowers and vegetables that you would normally expect, maybe your garden is trying to tell you something is wrong. With all of the rain we have had, many plants are growing, but they may not be doing as well as we would expect them to do. The reason is that many people forget to fertilize the gardens when the gardens appear to be growing anyway. The lack of fertilizer in the soil can be due to a long time between applications of fertilizer or it may be due to the fertilizer being washed out of the soil by all of the rain. Whatever the case, if you want the flowers to grow and the vegetable to produce more vegetables, than you have to fertilize the gardens. Vegetable gardens and annual flowers need to be fertilized right up until the frost kills the gardens. This means you have at least 8 more weeks of making sure those plants have the food they need to keep on producing for you.
While you are in the fertilizing mode, don’t forget to fertilize the lawn. The lawns are growing based on all of the rain. A lack of fertilizer will make the grass look yellow. A lack of fertilizer can also lead to the fungus disease red thread when the blades of grass stay wet all of the time.
August is also the month that we seem to have the most damage to our plants from the Japanese Beetles. As bad as the damage is to our plants, the hidden danger is almost as bad. The female beetles are laying eggs in your lawn that will hatch out as white grubs around the first week of September. Now is the time to put a season long grub control on your lawn. The season long grub control contains the chemical Merit. Merit attaches itself to the roots of your grass. As the grubs feed on the roots, they are killed. It takes about a month for the Merit to really attach to the roots. If you apply the Merit now, it will be at a highly effective state when the grubs begin to attack your lawn in September.
Another form of grub control that you can apply now is the organic control called Milky Spore. Milky Spore is a bacterium that attacks and kills the grubs that feed on the roots of your lawn. The Milky Spore is applied to your lawn as a powder that is placed in small piles 3 feet apart in rows 3 feet apart. As the powder settles into the soil, the spores in the powder wait to come in contact with a grub. As the grub comes into contact with the spore, the spore becomes active and kills the grub. Once in the soil, Milky Spore can remain effective at killing grubs for 20 years. Milky spore does not infect birds, animals or humans. It is a very effective way to organically control grubs in your lawn.
All of the constant rain has created the perfect environment for fungus diseases in our yards. Powdery mildew is on a rampage through plantings of squash and cucumbers. This disease is also attacking many annual and perennial flowers. If you see a white powdery looking coating on the leaves of your plants, than you had better apply a fungicide to the infected plants. Left unchecked, powdery mildew will kill the leaves on squash and cucumbers eventually leading to the loss of the entire plant. Ditto for most annual flowers. The disease may not kill perennials, but it will weaken the plant and make the plant easier prey for insects. The same goes for rose bushes and many trees.
There are many other fungus diseases out there attacking other plants. Blights and leaf spot are only 2 of the diseases we have seen in the last weeks on tomato plants. Again, left un-treated, the tomato leaves will die and ultimately you will not get any tomatoes.
You should be checking all of your plants for signs of diseases and treating infected plants with an appropriate fungicide. If you don’t treat the plants, it will quickly become a poor gardening season.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.