38June 6, 2012

Rain, Rain, go away. Come again another day. So much for the talk about a summer drought! I know that we can still have a dry summer but all this rain for such a long period of time makes it hard to believe that it will turn out to be a dry summer.
An extended period of rain can cause havoc in the garden. Plants that have wet leaves for an extended period of time are almost certain to develop some type of fungus disease. Tomato plants, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, impatiens, tall phlox, zinnia and many other annuals and perennials will all surely suffer from some type of fungus disease. Once the rain stops, you should be spraying these plants with a fungicide. There are many types of sprays, including some really good organic sprays. The whole key is to get the spray on soon to prevent the start of any disease. Please do not put off doing a preventative spray to stop fungus diseases. You will regret it if you do.

Rainy weather also washes fertilizer out of the soil. This makes it harder for plants to grow once the sun does come out. The lack of fertilizer also makes for a weaker plant that is more likely to develop a fungus disease. It doesn’t matter if the plants are in the ground or if the plants are growing in containers, they all will need fertilizer once the rain stops.

I haven’t talked about this yet and now seems like a good time to bring up something that will help your tomato plants to give you a better crop of tomatoes. A few years back, scientists found out that if you place red sheets of plastic mulch on the soil under your tomato plants, the tomatoes will produce more tomatoes. If you want to try this, we have this product in the store.

An extended period of rain means that slugs will be attacking your gardens. Over the weekend, we had dozens of customers who brought in leaf samples with evidence of slug damage. Slugs generally feed only at night. Sometimes during very dark rainy days you may see them on the plants. Generally speaking, they are night feeders and you won’t see them on your plants unless you go out after dark. Whether you see them or not, they are going to be eating your plants. Now is the time to apply slug bait around your plants. You can also use a copper mesh called Slug Shield that is applied around the base of the plant. The copper in the product produces a mild electrical current that the slugs do not like at all. Whatever you chose to do now is the time to control slugs before they ruin your plants.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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