Controlling Plant Disease
It's time to get the veggie garden in order now that crops are planted. We mulch with straw to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and moderate soil temperatures as summer sets in. Now is a great time to mulch while soil is moist. Just make sure you have weeded well before mulching. We water by hand at the base of plants or with a soaker hose. Not only does this conserve precious water, but it aids in preventing soil-borne disease spores from splashing up onto leaves. Staking and/or caging tomatoes certainly helps with this problem.
Consider yourself lucky if you don't get disease problems in tomatoes. Agri-Fos is our best natural control for late blight but needs to be applied every two weeks from now on. Fung-onil is a chemical systemic fungicide that works well to manage leaf spot diseases as well as early blight and to an extent late blight.
Fertilize with an all-natural formula such as Espoma Garden tone at least two times within the growing season to keep plants healthy and vigorous.
Aphids seem to be the insect of the week. These guys are tiny sucking insects that can do a lot of damage in a short time. They can appear winged or non-winged and can vary in color. Oftentimes a black sooty mold will accompany an infestation. This is a secondary infection caused by the sappy substance exuded from the host when aphids feed. It is not causing further harm but can look quite nasty. The good new is that aphids are not overly difficult to control. All-natural neem oil will do the trick, as will any broad spectrum insecticide. Aphid generations occur rapidly in warm weather, so keep an eye out all season.
It's not too early to think about fall bulbs for planting. Spring color from bulbs can be breathtaking and bloom simply lifts one's spirit out of winter's hold. Planning now for spacing, color, heights and desired varieties in your existing flower beds (or in new ones) makes everything go easier at planting time. We're placing our order now!