Thursday, July 25, 2013

Advantages of Fall Vegetable Gardening

I just recently presented a class on fall vegetable gardening at the Bloomfield, KY Library to a an enthusiastic audience.  During that talk I outlined several advantages to the fall garden versus the spring garden or as an extension to the spring garden.  First I will point out the reasons it isn't as popular as the spring garden and then I will list the many advantages to the fall garden. 

Everyone loves a spring garden for many reasons not the least of which is that we have been cooped up in the house all winter looking through seed catalogs and just getting the itch to be outside.  We have a uncontrollable instinct to refill the pantries and strong desire for the flavors that come with a garden.  For me its the smell of freshly tilled soil that just makes me happy.  We begin the garden with vim and vigor and end sometimes in a flurry of I just cant keep up.  This year is one of those years that epitomizes why fall gardening is just not as popular.  In a year like this the garden can easily be run over with weeds, taken by some evil fungi, or wiped out by a marauding herd of potato beetles.  Those scenarios in themselves are reason enough to give up. But lets not quit hastily, here are some of the advantages of the fall vegetable garden:
  •  Provides valuable produce production extension
  • Excellent quality produce due to cool temperatures
    • Sweeter
    • Increased tenderness
    • Less off flavors
  • Vegetables hold longer in a fall garden
  • Fewer pests to control
  • Helps keep weed seed numbers down for next seasons garden
  • Adds additional organic matter to the garden
  • Less disease pressure
For more information of vegetable gardening in general stop by the office at 317 south third street, Bardstown KY 40004 or take a look at Vegetable Gardening in KY

Monday, July 22, 2013

What is that yellow grassy looking plant in my lawn and landscape?

Are you as aggravated with the yellow grass like plant that grows faster than your turf, invades your landscape and just makes the yard look anemic?  The plant that we are talking is Yellow Nutsedge.  Yellow nutsedge is in the sedge family and has been long consider a wet area and wet season plant.  That however has changed and it seems to dominate in about any location.  If you believe the patches are getting bigger each year you are exactly correct.  The plant spreads via rhizomes (underground stems) and the dispersion of the tubers through cultivation.  The plant is square stemmed and the growth point is low to the ground which allows it to tolerate mowing.  General cultivation doesn't work for the removal because the plant forms tubers underground that can remain dormant for long periods of time and can get moved around through tillage practices.  So how do we cope with this annoying weed. 

I usually tell folks to move but there are a few things you can try.  Well when we are talking small clumps hand pulling can work.  If the the clump is a stand alone (with nothing else around it) then spot spraying with a glysophate solution can work.  Otherwise a nutsedge control will need to be used to control the population in a turf situation.  The active ingredients you will look for is betazon, halosulfuron, sulfentrazone to see the retail packaging you can find these active ingredients in visit Controlling Weeds in Kentucky Home Lawns and look on page 3 and 5.  Always follow label directions in whatever you decide to use.   

Friday, July 19, 2013

Wet spring means big problems and big blessings

A wet spring means that the water hose is lonely and our boots are muddy.  It also means that we should spend more time in the landscape and garden scouting for a plethora of potential diseases and insects that will be abundant in this season.  The following are some of the things are more prevalent as I walk around yards this spring.
  • Roses are being eaten heavily by an insect called the rose slug and the rose rosette virus has become more common on all types of roses.  
  • Maples are suffering from what appears to be verticillium wilt
  • Bacterial cankers are showing up on all types of plants, from weeping cherries to smoke tree.
  • Spider mites are on spruce, juniper, holly, annual flowers etc.  
  • aphids are still running wild on many plants but none worse than daylilies
  • Tomatoes are being threatened by both early blight and late blight, preventative controls should be implemented for both of these problems.   

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Are your Tomatoes Fired Up?

A very common problem I have encountered in gardens this spring is known as Early Blight.  We have had a especially good year for the development of this fungal disease.  Cooler temperatures, heavy and often rains have caused this to progress somewhat faster than in other years.  What to do?

Control begins with clean transplants, which means no spotting on the leaves, and good green color to the plant.  Since this is a soil born disease there should be a mulch placed on the soil to keep soil from bouncing on to the leaves during heavy rains.  Any thing will do such as newspaper, leaves, grass clippings, etc. An early spray program of chlorothalonil or mancozeb (these are active ingredients) will insure that you keep the plant clean longer through the season.  If you are not partial to chemical treatments then particular attention will need to be paid to the cultural practices that will reduce the risk.  Water under the foliage with drip irrigation or soaker hoses, but never over the top with a sprinkler.  Also if you reuse trellises, cages, stakes etc. you will need to sanitize these during the winter.  The tiny spores can overwinter on these structures and cause re-infestation the following year. 

In central Kentucky you still have time to replant tomatoes to get a crop but the above practices need to be used.