36June 29, 2017

So, how does your garden grow? I have had a chance to talk to a lot of customers this week and, in the process, to get some feedback on how their gardens are doing at this point in time. It would appear that some people are having good luck with their plants growing and other are having to deal with plants that are not growing too well. The difference between the 2 groups is the people who are fertilizing their plants on a regular schedule are the people who are having great success with their plants. If you planted early in the season, your plants put out lots of growth from all the rain we received. Once that rain slowed to normal and the sun came out, the plants began to suffer from lack of fertilizer. It is extremely important that you set up a regular schedule for fertilizing your plants. So many of the flowering plants that you buy are hybrid plants. They need a steady supply of food if they are going to perform at their best. The same can be said for your vegetable plants. Even if you are growing heirloom plants, they still need to be fertilized if they are going to give you a steady supply of vegetables. Make a promise to your self that you will fertilize your plants on a regular schedule.

Fungus diseases are beginning to show up on many different plants. At this point in time, powdery mildew is the # 1 plant disease. This disease gets its name from the appearance of a white powder appearing on the leaves of plants. If you water your plants late in the day or if your irrigation system comes on at 2 AM, the wet leaves in the nighttime hours encourages powdery mildew to grow. In reality, wet leaves in the nighttime hours are the main culprits for most plant diseases to get started in your gardens. Change the time that your irrigation system comes on to 6AM and your plants will get the water they need and the leaves of your plants won’t be exposed to long periods of time being wet. Watering in the morning is the best time to water your plants. It helps the plants to get through the warm part of the day with sufficient water. If you have to water at night, direct the water at the base of the plant and not onto the leaves. If you see powdery mildew or other plant diseases attacking your plants, you must treat the plants with an appropriate fungicide. If you don’t treat your plants, you can quickly lose those plants to fungus diseases.

The other thing that has become a common sight in customer’s gardens is the appearance of holes in the leaves of their plants. Many times, people don’t see any insect feeding on the plants. The reason for this is that there are a slew of insects that only feed on your plants in the nighttime hours. Earwigs are beginning to show up in the garden. Their damage usually appears as the top surface of the leaves being chewed off. The leaves then have a transparent look to the leaves. Slugs, even though they are not an insect but more closely related to clams, are also night feeders that can damage your plants. Cutworm will also dine on freshly set out plants. If you have damage to your plants and you are not finding any signs of pests, take a flashlight and go looking at your plants a few hours after dark. You will likely spot the critter that is feeding on your plants. Quick action on your part to control the nighttime garden pests will help your plants to survive.

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

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