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 Post subject: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening ?
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:24 am 
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Some of you know, but some of you may not--I work for a high profile gardening company. Bring me your gardening woes. Ask me some questions. If I don't have an answer for you, I have a plethora of others who can answer those questions.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:39 am 
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Okay, I have a question! Kale: I planted some last year and it came up again this year. I picked some, but the cental stalk got crazy thick and tall and it started flowering pretty quickly. I cut the tall flowery part down and it grew back really fast. Now, the leaves are really small and it's just putting all it's effort into growing the tall stalk only. Last year, it stayed small like a bush. What gives? I have no idea what I'm doing!

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:55 am 
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Hey Joyful G:
If the winter is mild enough, kale will come back each year, especially if you mulch over it in the winter. Since kale is a green, it doesn't need a lot of phosphorous or potassium--the two elements that produce fruits and flowers. It does need nitrogen--vegan sources are seaweed, neem cake, grass clippings, and chopped up comfrey. I'm thinking maybe the plant food you're giving it is high in P and K, so check the NPK reading on your plant food. Have you had your soil tested? County extension offices will do that gratis, and it is worth exploring.

The plant could also be diseased. Can you post a photo of this plant? Once a plant is diseased, there's very little you can do for it, except give it some actinovate, which can be expensive. i personally like to have a couple of plants just for insects so they stay away from the other plants. if you find the plant is diseased, don't put it into your compost pile, because you'll lovingly spread the sickness around and you'll infect future generations of plants.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 1:46 pm 
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I thought kale is a bienniel? So, like the swiss chards in my yard, the 1st year they're nice normal leafy plants, then they come up again in early spring, and go to seed really quickly.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 6:11 pm 
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D'oh! Aubade, you are correct. There are some breeds that are perennial, but most are biennial! I feel like a big weenie mc dweeb. Since I have never maintained mine* after fall-(this is the first season in 5 years where I will have successfully grown it!), I always assumed it was super tough and would come back if it had a good mulching. When most leafy greens bolt too quickly, it has much to do with temperature and nutrients.

I actually looked up photos of bolting kale--how pretty!

*I have only grown lacinato kale.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 8:01 pm 
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Firstly, I love the title of this thread

Do you know what this little guy is?
Image
He & his friends are on my basil plant - thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 10:09 pm 
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Ooh, I like this thread! I am about the only person in my office that isn't an expert in horticulture, and I keep meaning to ask about this and keep forgetting:

Last year, my potted basil went in bright green and lush, and then quickly turned kind of a yellowy green with tougher, smaller leaves. And the stems got kind of woody and it bolted faster than usual. This year, I started from seed instead of transplanting, got a new pot, and new soil, and the same thing is starting to happen. It's getting a ton of water and sun. Any ideas why this is happening? I want pesto, damnit.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 12:25 am 
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I wonder if abbierae's basil problem has anything to do with pot size? As I have never had basil work in a pot, only in the ground. I will be interested in seeing what jewbacca has to say!

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 9:10 am 
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Thanks for the info jewbacca and aubade! I miss my dear kale!

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 10:24 am 
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I hope you realise that I've had Dr. Worm stuck in my head for most of the day now!

How do you recommend getting rid of bindweed without herbicide?

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 10:49 am 
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Mars wrote:
I wonder if abbierae's basil problem has anything to do with pot size? As I have never had basil work in a pot, only in the ground. I will be interested in seeing what jewbacca has to say!


I went with a much bigger pot this year because I suspected that. But my neighbor does basil in this little wooden planter with less root space than mine have in their pot, and his gets waist high and is all green and lush and beautiful and awesome. What gives man.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 7:08 pm 
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I went back to the nursery and showed a guy the photo and he said it's an aphid so I bought some Eco Oil.

dropscone wrote:
I hope you realise that I've had Dr. Worm stuck in my head for most of the day now!

I woke up with it in my head, I think we need it in this thread just in case someone hasn't heard it, I had to play it to my bf this year because he had no idea what I was singing!


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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 1:13 am 
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Jewbacca, I cut down all of my mint and winterbalm in the fall, but they survived the winter. Now they're back and growing all over the place, but also there are more delicate sprouts mingled in to the mess, too. They're small and look like mint except for a paler color, but they taste like winterbalm. Did my plants breed or something?

abbierae wrote:
Ooh, I like this thread! I am about the only person in my office that isn't an expert in horticulture, and I keep meaning to ask about this and keep forgetting:

Last year, my potted basil went in bright green and lush, and then quickly turned kind of a yellowy green with tougher, smaller leaves. And the stems got kind of woody and it bolted faster than usual. This year, I started from seed instead of transplanting, got a new pot, and new soil, and the same thing is starting to happen. It's getting a ton of water and sun. Any ideas why this is happening? I want pesto, damnit.


If you're doing everything else right, which it sounds like you are, it's probably a nitrogen deficiency. Mix your used coffee grounds or tea leaves in the soil for a while and see if that helps any.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 5:54 pm 
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Jewbacca! I've got a pest question!

This is the first year I've done radishes and while they have grown very well I have some kind of little slug eating at the actual bulb part and at the leaves. Its a really small (about 1/4 inch) gray slug that I have never seen before. I know of the dangers of root maggots but these look like slugs! What is it?? And how can I get rid of it (preferably without chemicals)?

Thank you in advance!

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 6:06 pm 
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woah, ask and you shall receive! i took the day off yesterday, but i will answer these questions tomorrow. i have some errands to run and will be thinking about all this stuff, including TMBG songs. yay!

kitteh, i don't know what that bug is. it kind of looks like a pirate bug. does it have a long swordlike mouth? if so, don't kill it, they're beneficial.

xo jewy

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 7:23 pm 
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jewbacca wrote:
kitteh, i don't know what that bug is. it kind of looks like a pirate bug. does it have a long swordlike mouth? if so, don't kill it, they're beneficial.

Thanks! I thought the guy at the nursery was wrong because it doesn't look like an aphid. Damn him, I sprayed the basil with eco-oil yeserday arvo :(

ETA: The Eco-Oil website does say it's safe for beneficial insects, I'm going to email them to ask which kinds it won't kill.

Also, I feel like it's not ok to talk about killing insects as we're vegan and that other vegans or non-vegans will pick on this. I don't want to kill insects, I rescue spiders and any other bugs I find and release them and I don't want to kill insects, even if they are eating my herbs.

What do you guys say to people who question killing insects on your plants?

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 10:42 pm 
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Kitteh wrote:
What do you guys say to people who question killing insects on your plants?


This is a tough one... I don't kill any insects inside or out, but I wasn't always this way. I hate cockroaches, and ants especially. I'm really not opposed to talking about it, and I won't be offended if other vegans talk about wanting to kill insects... but you bring up a good point. When someone asks us why we don't eat honey, what do we tell them? I know I tell them that honey is a product of bees, and bees didn't make it for humans to consume, and they have a right to live their lives without people stealing all their ...uh... vomit, you get the point. So do beneficial insects have a right to live more than non-beneficial insects? If there is a way to control their population without killing them directly, would you try that first?

These are just questions to ponder, I'm not judging anyone for their choices.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 12:08 am 
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jessica wrote:
If there is a way to control their population without killing them directly, would you try that first?

For me, yes, I would assuredly try that first. However I wouldn't be outwardly opposed to killing them off if they were non-beneficial and also it's be nicer on my conscience if they were also an invasive species. Yeah considering I won't eat honey and definitely identify as vegan it is a bit silly. But sometimes I just feel the scale is just too insane when it comes to things so tiny. I mean, at work, there are often tiny little bugs crawling on our workspace (I often work with plants) like aphid size, maybe smaller. I often wipe my desktop down with a rag, thus probably killing them. I often see them, and knowingly do this. It doesn't bother me though because I feel like this is no different than all the much killing we probably do of insects too small for the human eye, but just a wee bit bigger so that I can see it. I don't know, I feel there is a point we have to realize the scales are too crazy.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 10:50 am 
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Hey everyone, Happy Memorial Day! It's gorgeous n' hot here in hoosierland, so I'm taking a break to answer some questions.

Kitteh-they said it was an aphid, seriously? Here's what made me think it was a pirate bug:
http://www.myrmecos.net/insects/Anthocorid1.html
Aphids have a special feature called a dual exhaust pipe. That doesn't look like an aphid to me. Here's a video of me discussing beneficial insects and pest insects to answer any other questions you may have. This will also address the root maggot question presented later in this thread:
http://en-gb.facebook.com/pages/Worms-W ... 3167177144

That slug problem doesn't sound like a root maggot. Root maggots are baby fungus gnats and will emerge to cause other problems for your plants. It sounds like a slug, which comes in all sorts of sizes and colors. I'm not a fan of them. Companion plants that are good for slug control are red lettuces, for some reason they don't like 'em. They are NOT deterred by companion plants in the pyrethrin family-(daisies, mums, marigolds). There are various approaches to slug control that you can find here: http://sustainableecho.com/organic-garden-slug-control/


Bolting Basil, Batman! Okay--the yellowing is likely a nutrient deficiency. I believe someone mentioned getting plant food with nitrogen. Look for a higher number on the NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) on the bottom of the bottle. Many plant foods aren't vegan, so stick with maxicrop or bio thrive grow by general organics. Basil will bolt if you don't continuously pinch off the top, so in addition to picking the leaves, harvest it regularly from the top. Woody stems indicate a mature plant. If you have an abundance of basil and you don't want it to go bad, puree it all with olive oil and the nut of your choice, freeze it in cubes and store in freezer for later use as a pesto base. Basil is an awesome companion plant and if planted near other fruiting/flowering plants like tomatoes and peppers, it will keep some (not all, but some) garden pests away.

To my knowledge there aren't any selective herbicides on the market, and I would seriously question how safe one was if it did exist.
You can use something like sharp shooter, or any clove oil based herbicide will kill the bindweed--but I would say that pulling it out is the safest way to keep it out. I know, it's a pain in the ass--consider weed pulling a way to release anger or something. I love pulling weeds.

Plants will crossbreed if they are close to each each other and they have flowers. When our bee friends fly from flower to flower it happens. Wind does its thing too.




I'll keep this short n' sweet. About problem bugs in the garden: just like in my eating life, I ain't the vegan po-po. I'm not a moderator. I agree that a sensible and loving approach can and should be used in the garden, but that will vary between all of us. If you want to get into a battle of ethics with someone about to kill/not kill an insect, read Isa's handy feedback about parlor room etiquette in the parlor room. I will say this: if we spend too much time trying to get into an ethical showdown, we probably won't have much fun here in the greenhouse or anywhere else in cyberspace or the real world. Interpret this any way you wish.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 5:13 pm 
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jessica wrote:
Kitteh wrote:
What do you guys say to people who question killing insects on your plants?


This is a tough one... I don't kill any insects inside or out, but I wasn't always this way. I hate cockroaches, and ants especially. I'm really not opposed to talking about it, and I won't be offended if other vegans talk about wanting to kill insects... but you bring up a good point. When someone asks us why we don't eat honey, what do we tell them? I know I tell them that honey is a product of bees, and bees didn't make it for humans to consume, and they have a right to live their lives without people stealing all their ...uh... vomit, you get the point. So do beneficial insects have a right to live more than non-beneficial insects? If there is a way to control their population without killing them directly, would you try that first?

These are just questions to ponder, I'm not judging anyone for their choices.

Great point and I'm not judging anyone either, I know lots of vegans talk about killing spiders and we had the thread on killing fruit flies/tiny flies that live in kitchen/bathroom drains and no one questioned that. I don't want to have to kill insects that are in the garden. On the Eco-Oil website they sell beneficial insects for certain problems and there are lots of links about how to attract beneficial insects instead of resorting to spraying.

Mars wrote:
For me, yes, I would assuredly try that first. However I wouldn't be outwardly opposed to killing them off if they were non-beneficial and also it's be nicer on my conscience if they were also an invasive species. Yeah considering I won't eat honey and definitely identify as vegan it is a bit silly. But sometimes I just feel the scale is just too insane when it comes to things so tiny. I mean, at work, there are often tiny little bugs crawling on our workspace (I often work with plants) like aphid size, maybe smaller. I often wipe my desktop down with a rag, thus probably killing them. I often see them, and knowingly do this. It doesn't bother me though because I feel like this is no different than all the much killing we probably do of insects too small for the human eye, but just a wee bit bigger so that I can see it. I don't know, I feel there is a point we have to realize the scales are too crazy.

I realise this too, I'm sure we kill lots of insects accidentally but if I can avoid killing them, I'd be happier.

jewbacca wrote:
Kitteh-they said it was an aphid, seriously? Here's what made me think it was a pirate bug:
http://www.myrmecos.net/insects/Anthocorid1.html
Aphids have a special feature called a dual exhaust pipe. That doesn't look like an aphid to me. Here's a video of me discussing beneficial insects and pest insects to answer any other questions you may have. This will also address the root maggot question presented later in this thread:
http://en-gb.facebook.com/pages/Worms-W ... 3167177144

I'll keep this short n' sweet. About problem bugs in the garden: just like in my eating life, I ain't the vegan po-po. I'm not a moderator. I agree that a sensible and loving approach can and should be used in the garden, but that will vary between all of us. If you want to get into a battle of ethics with someone about to kill/not kill an insect, read Isa's handy feedback about parlor room etiquette in the parlor room. I will say this: if we spend too much time trying to get into an ethical showdown, we probably won't have much fun here in the greenhouse or anywhere else in cyberspace or the real world. Interpret this any way you wish.

Yup, he took a quick glance and said "aphid" and I said "really?" and he said "yep". I won't be asking for his advice again.

Thanks for all the responses on killing insects. I think everyone in here is pretty tolerant, I just wanted to hear other opinions :)

jewbacca wrote:
I love pulling weeds

Me too, it's therapeutic.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 8:07 pm 
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Kitteh wrote:
Thanks for all the responses on killing insects. I think everyone in here is pretty tolerant, I just wanted to hear other opinions :)

Yeah I didn't think anything of it until Jewbacca's recent post so I hope everyone knows I really also just found it an interesting line of conversation and was curious to see what other people were going to say. No judgements for sure! Actually I just felt a bit guilty really. :P

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 4:32 pm 
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Thank you for the linky-loo Jewbacca! One more question (it might be a stupid one)....can I just pick them off and toss them in my compost? Would it be bad if they are just munching away in there?

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:17 am 
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Hey Muffy Tuffy: (BTW, me ending your names with "ie or y" is a sign of affection)

The anal retentive gardener in me likes to keep infected plants separate from healthy compost. Example, I wouldn't toss a diseased plant into my compost pile or something with root maggots in there. I create a separate pile for that, cover it, and let extreme heat cook the shiitake out of the bad pile and keep it far away from the good pile. But that's just me. Toads love slugs. Is your garden hospitable for our amphibian friends? Here are some tips to make space more alluring for them:

http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/ ... arden.html

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/make-gar ... -toad.html

You don't even need to make a fancy palace for them to live in. They are real hard core punk rock squatters that are happy living under a pile of leaves or a dome made from a tub of earth balance. Recently I found one hiding under a sheet of plastic I forgot to throw away. Awesome!

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:46 am 
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"Muffy Tuffy" is preferable to "muffin butt" which my partner calls me....apparently not aware that it is an unflattering nickname, hah.

I like the toad idea! I think they are pretty damn cute too.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:58 am 
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I think my basil is either sun-burned or frosted. It was doing really well, but suddenly most of the leaves have turned purple-brown-ish on the pointy tips (and it's not a purple variety basil). I pruned all the sickly leaves off.. but I'm wondering how many hours it should be in direct sunlight each day or how cool of weather it can tolerate at night?
Thanks!

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