Saturday, May 26, 2012

Diggin' In The Dirt

Diggin’ In The Dirt

By Tim Brown
Randolph Farmer’s Co-Op

Thanks to the early arrival of mild weather this spring, the gardening season is well under way. Many gardeners have set out their plants earlier than is customary for our area. As a result, gardeners should take every precaution possible in order to bring in a healthy harvest of fresh vegetables.

 First, one of the most common maladies seen each year is end rot of tomatoes and peppers. A number of actions can be taken to provide calcium which is the necessary element in prevention. Supplementing granular gypsum, distributing lime around the plant, and frequent spraying of liquid calcium product to the foliage are all useful methods. Also, pelletized calcium nitrate can be used as a supplemental fertilizer.

Second, there is a widespread problem with various worms that feed on the foliage of plants. A widely used product today is known by the letters Bt. Bacillus thuringiensis is a naturally occurring property that can be applied as a dust or liquid for the control of feeding worms.

Third, there are several ways to stop those pesky squash bugs. A few remedies include pelleted bifenthrin, carbaryl, imidacloprid, and permethrin. These are available as liquid or dust. Finally, consider using a couple of common fungicides to battle blights that frequently affect tomatoes. Chlorothalonil and mancozeb can greatly reduce the risk of fungal infections that can greatly reduce a vibrant plant into a plant that withers away.


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