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BONNIE'S GARDEN--A Fungus Among Us

According to nationaldaycalender.com, tomorrow is National Water a Flower Day.  Well, it seems to me that Mother Nature has taken care of that little detail for us, here recently.  While we’re not the wettest May on record (last May won that honor), so far we’re about the ninth wettest May on record.  So here are a few observations:

Note to my neighbor:  TURN OFF YOUR SPRINKLER!!!  Watching that puppy going off even in pouring rain is crazy.  Glad it’s his water bill and not mine!

Yes, those black and yellow speckled leaves on your hybrid tea roses are probably black spot.  It doesn’t usually show up quite this early, but we don’t usually have cloudy and/or rainy days off and on for more than two weeks.  There are any number of fungicides that can help.  As an organic gardener, I go for Neem oil.  It’s a good fungicide AND an insecticide, too.  Remember, spraying just before dark will avoid getting any bees/butterflies (and, yes, a fungicide can kill an insect if sprayed directly on them.)

Early blight doesn’t usually show up on a tomato until towards the end of a warm humid June, but it’s showing up now—Yikes!  Luckily, there are things we can do to help.  So here’s a small list:
  1.  Keep tomato leaves from touching the ground.  I snip off any that are low enough on the plant that they touch the soil.
  2. Keep weeds and debris from gathering under your plants.
  3. We can’t control how and when Mother Nature waters, but we can control how we water.  Use soaker hoses or otherwise water at the base of the plant as tomatoes don’t like to get their foliage wet.
  4. If blight has already shown up, pick off the worst of the leaves at the bottom of the plant and treat the plant with an organic fungicide—I use garden sulfur since it is less toxic to bees than is copper.  As always, spraying just before dark is best.
  5. You can do these same things for fungus on peppers.
  6. Remember preventing a disease is often easier than treating it.  If you had diseases on any tomato family member (including potatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos) then do not plant another tomato family member in that same spot for at least three years.  Keep weeds and debris out of your garden area.  When possible, avoid overhead watering.  Water at the base of the plant.
Powdery mildew has already shown up in my garden, as well.  It can show up literally overnight so check susceptible plants often (roses, crepe myrtles, squash, cucumbers, melons).  Making sure plants have good air circulation is important as is keeping weeds and debris out of the area.  Treating with Neem oil or garden sulfur can help.

I don’t care about sharing my yard with dandelions, wild violets or clover.  I do draw the line at sharing it with fungus…
Posted: 5/29/2017 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
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