July 29, 2006
The heat and humidity have made the plants and the weeds grow quickly. There doesn’t seem to be many years where the plants grow as fast as the weeds.
If you are going on vacation, it can be hard to get someone to tend to your plants. There are a few things you can do to get your garden to survive while you are on vacation.
Weeds can take up a lot of water from the soil. If you weed your garden before you go away, your gardens will use less water. You can then add Soil Moist or one of the other water absorbing polymers to the soil. These products look like grains of salt. When they are exposed to water, they absorb a tremendous amount of water. As the soil dries, the water is released back into the soil. If you add a layer of mulch to the soil and then water the soil thoroughly, your gardens should have an easier time surviving your vacation.
You can also run soaker hoses through your garden and hook the soaker hoses up to a water timer. You will set the timer to come on at a specified interval. The timer will then allow the garden to “water itself’.
If you have a vegetable garden, you can cut down on the amount of water needed by doing some harvesting before you go on vacation. Almost everyone who has had a garden has experienced going on vacation and coming home to baseball bat size summer squash, zucchini and cucumbers. If you pick all of the squash and cucumbers, including the tiny ones before you go on vacation, you will lessen the need for water for developing vegetables. While you are on vacation, new vegetable flowers will open and you will come home to normal size vegetables.
Japanese Beetles are still a problem for many gardeners. They should continue to be a problem until mid August. If you have your beetle traps set up, remember to change the bags. As beetles fill the bags, the beetles die. As the bags are exposed to hot weather, the beetles begin to develop, shall we say, a certain “air about them”. This smell masks the scent of the trap. Changing the bags will help to keep the traps working efficiently.
If you spray your plants with Neem, you will find that the Japanese beetles do not like the smell and they will leave the plant alone. If the beetle is foolish enough to eat part of the plant, then the Neem will paralyze the beetle’s mouth. Eventually the beetle will starve to death.
In the last few days, we have had a number of people come into the store with tomatoes that have a problem. The tomatoes have sunken holes in the green tomatoes. The tomatoes may also have blackened areas that extend deep into the tomato. The most likely cause is sunscald. If the leaves of the tomato plant cannot shade the developing fruit, then the sun “burns’ holes into the tomatoes. If the tomato plant has a fungus disease, then leaves dry out and drop. In some cases, the fungus disease cuts down on the number of leaves that develop. The lack of leaves prevents the shading that is necessary for the proper development of the tomato. If the plant has a fungus disease, then the disease can get into the openings caused by the sunscald. If your tomato plants have or develop a fungus disease, then be sure to treat for the disease. This will, in turn, help to decrease the amount of sunscald on your tomato plants.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.