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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:33 pm 
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jewbacca wrote:
Oh Steph, I'm so sorry!

I don't think that is Septoria: here's why. Septoria is a seed borne disease and spreads to the seedlings. Didn't you mention your plants were thriving prior to this mess? To me, it looks like blight. There are many different types of blight, and the hallmark signature is the disease moving from the bottom to the top of the plant. I know your weather defies typical blight conditions, but I have seen stranger things happen. Check under the leaves--are there bugs hanging out? The conditions have been awful here in SC IN, and 2 of my boss's tomato plants have it. You can treat it and hope to salvage your tomatoes. I have done this and used Actinovate-(expensive, but works!).

If you do go that route, I'd give it a 1-2 punch of a foliar application and a soil drench. Another thing is to make sure any affected leaves you pick off should be put in a pile away from your other plants and away from your compost pile.

Good point about septoria. And yep, the plants were 100% spotless before this happened. No bugs, even! Thank you so much for responding about this; I've been totally stumped.

Oddly, I've been ridiculously busy for the past week, hadn't gotten around to following up on your excellent advice, and.. the problem has not progressed at all. There are still a bunch of leaves that look like that, but there aren't any more than there were last week, and the leaf yellowing/spotting actually seems to have diminished quite dramatically without me having taken any action at all. Is that even possible?!
I've just let the affected plants hang out as is, and they're still spitting out lots of flowers, baby tomatoes, and healthy new top growth. The blight-y stuff hasn't spread to other plants or progressed on the ones it's already on. Could it be "paused" because the weather has been so hot and dry? I won't be putting tomatoes or peppers in that bed for a few years, just to be on the safe side, but it seems less alarming than it did initially. Nature is strange!

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:22 am 
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With biology, anything is possible. Blight is a soil borne disease that usually spawns from over wet conditions, so logically it would seem plausible that the disease would stop if it was blight. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. You're wise to rotate your crops. The past few years, I have done this and still have struggled with one plant or another. This year has sucked for peppers, but I'll be swimming in tomatoes and greens. Herbs have been problematic and I've completely given up on growing cilantro, but I had tons of volunteer chamomile-(I had put tea bags in my compost pile).

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:42 pm 
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I feel like such an incompetent gardener this year. Usually I don't have many issues, but this year, it seems like one thing after another. I went out today to pick my cherry tomatoes, since I had lots of red ones, but they're all half rotten(some green ones are this way as well) and the stalk is bubbly. Any idea what could be causing this? And my brother says thanks for the help w/his cukes. Said he didn't think they were white cukes, so it's probably just sun scalding.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:08 pm 
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The stalk being bubbly and warty looking is completely normal--that is the plant wanting to shoot roots! Those are called stem bumps, and they will become roots if permitted to do so. Aren't tomatoes weird? The technical term is Tomato Stem Primordia. Occasionally, the bumps are a sign of root stress underground--so look at the whole plant. Is the growth good? Are the leaves a good color?

Now about the rotty parts. Is the half rotten happening from the bottom of the tomato? If so, that is blossom end rot, which is caused by Ca/Mg deficiency, infrequent watering, or both. This summer has been pretty brutal, so many people are struggling with that, myself included.

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Last edited by jewbacca on Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:13 pm 
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I had no idea the bubbly looking stalk was normal. It had been smooth for so long it kinda took me by surprise. No, the rotten half is sometimes on the bottom and sometimes just on the side. I've been trying to be good about watering them, and since they're in pots it's a bit easier, but then I worried about overwatering them. I'll get the hang of tomatoes one of these years. This is the first year I've had any edible ones, though, so I must be doing something right :)

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:18 pm 
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ps- You are not an incompetent gardener. The whole process is a learning experience. For me, the most humbling part of being a good gardener is really understanding biology and chemistry,which is not my forte. When you understand how the plant biologically functions and what its nutritional needs are it's easier to grow a good garden. On occasion, biology will throw us a curve ball with a disease or the breed of plant will have slightly different needs than a regular plant. You are at least going to the trouble of growing your own food, which is super awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:22 pm 
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Thanks :) I'm really getting better at trying to figure things out before posting them here, but sometimes it gets discouraging. Like how my tomatoes were doing the best out of everything last month and now they look like they could just die any day. My peppers and greens, however, are thriving, and not having to pay for greens at the store is saving me a boatload right now.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:20 pm 
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Jewy I can't figure out what is eating my bell pepper plants! There are large holes in the leaves obviously caused by some pest and not a disease but I can't ever find any bugs on my plants...I think I can see some kind of thread left on the plant...like maybe a worm made it? It ate my first baby pepper too.
If I could find the damn bug on my plant I could ID it but I haven't found it yet.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:23 pm 
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Something ate all the flowers off of my tomato plant, and I have seen whiteflies again this year. Last year they decimated my basil. Help?


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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:33 am 
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Celyn, check your plants very closely for tomato hornworms. They can get really big but will easily blend in with the rest of your foliage. Their life cycle can happen a couple of times in a gardening season: moths pupate in soil, lay eggs on leaves, eggs hatch, caterpillars emerge, and they nom the hell out of anything you love. It is up to you to decide whether they eat or you eat.

If you don't see those lil' buggers, check the ground to see if the blossoms have dropped off and are on the ground around the plant. If that is the case, then you have blossom drop-- a controllable but infuriating reality for many a gardener:
http://gardening.about.com/od/problemsp ... omDrop.htm


Whiteflies won't eat whole flowers-what they do is party on the undersides of leaves and leave their excrement-(called honeydew) everywhere. The honeydew creates mold and fungus problems, and blocks the stomata.

Options for garden pests: diatamaceous earth, Safer Caterpillar Killer-(or any formula with Bt), hand picking, wiping leaves, spraying undersides of leaves with good blasts of water, keeping your garden dark at night or covered from moths, and application of beneficial nematodes to soil twice during the gardening season. Nematodes are expensive but an awesome investment. The pinworms are harmless to us and pets but will get all medieval on any bug with a soil stage in their life cycle.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:13 am 
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Will do, Jewbacca. I don't think I have hornworms; I am up on a balcony and it's only the one plant. I wonder if it's nitrogen issues or shallow watering. Like you say, the whiteflies are a separate problem. They are super annoying. I'll look into your suggestions. You may get a call from me at work!


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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:15 am 
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Great! I'm here every day from 8:45-2:15p EST. If you don't get me, Clint and Levi are really awesome too. Just tell 'em I sent ya. We're a small team and employee owned so we really like to take care of our customers and be as helpful as we can.

xoxoxo

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:38 pm 
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Jeeewyyyyy! What is this nastyness?
Image
My little cute tomatillo! All this weird dusty spots! I'm sad because there are so many cute little fruits on it. I've been hand-pollinating every flower by picking off tomatillo flowers from some other plot's tomatillo flower and making them have sehcks. :( It's the only plant in my whole plot to have anything that looks like this. Should I worry about it spreading? I've already actinovated my entier garden.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:44 pm 
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Also: Artichoke! Bugs! Know which bugs these are? It's probably too fuzzy to tell. There seem to be about two or three types living on this one plant. I've seen ants on it for sure, and an earwig. But mostly these tiny black ones. Think the ants and the earwig were eating these? I've been pressure-washing them off with the hose when I can but I don't go to my garden often enough or this to be too effective.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:11 am 
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Oh Marsypants!

The first shot is powdery mildew. Actinovate, GreenCure, Neem Oil, or Safer 3-1 garden fungicide/insecticide will help with that. Hasn't it been exceptionally cold n' wet in PDX? When combined with bug waste those are perfect conditions for mold, mildew, and fungus.

A few things come to mind when I see that artichoke: tell me, can the black bugs be flicked off with your finger? If they seem stuck there and refuse to move, you have scale. Scale is a pain in the asparagus to get rid of. Insecticides only work on scale in the nymph stage. Once they are adults, they clamp onto the leaf for dear life with their razor sharp little jaws and suck the life from your plant. And they reproduce, again, and again, and again! I've had to wipe plant leaves off with a damp paper towel with a little bit of neem oil. Some gardeners swear by a q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol then touched directly to the scale. They let go and you can do what you want with them at that point. Either way, you're gonna be there a while.

If the bugs wash off easily with water or upon closer inspection have legs and a notable set of exhaust pipes, those are aphids. Aphids are born pregnant and are hard to get rid of! You can blast them off in the a.m. with a good sprayer hose, apply ladybugs to your garden, or use an organic repellent or insecticide. You could also use diatamaceous earth, but if it gets wet you'll need to reapply.

Lastly, the little clusters of black near the bottom of the photo. That is caterpillar shiitake. It actually is used in our industry as fertilizer and is called frass. Side note: I won't buy frass because I'm not sure where the frass is sourced, and many insects like ants, termites, wasps, bees use frass to build their homes. You can take those little bits of poo and put it around the base of your plant and water it in if you'd like. Soooo, because there's 'pillar poo somewhere on your plant is a little caterpillar happily nomming holes in your plants. Check the undersides of leaves for tiny eggs and baby 'pillars. Loopers and leaf miners have a soil stage. Bt is the surefire way to get them to say bye-bye unless you also want to pick them by hand.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:12 pm 
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I guess I'll apply more actinovate. Yeah it has been a bit cold here, not wet really, but cloudy. I think it might make sense it's just on this guy because he's been over shadowed by the tomato near him so he gets little sun. Maybe I'll re-home him.

As for the artichoke, I haven't noticed any holes whatsoever, so not worried about a caterpillar. I'm thinking they must be aphids because yeah I can spray them off with a more high powered setting. Might be fun to buy some ladybugs. If I figure they are scale though, do you think the plant would mind i I get a little messy with the rubbing alcohol? I guess if I get messy with it, I could always wash it off.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:53 pm 
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Marsycakes:

You don't want to put the alcohol directly on the plant. Their leaves will absorb that just like human skin. You'll have to tediously stand there and put the alcohol on the scale itself using a Q-Tip. That's a tedious undertaking. Ladybugs can be purchased in your area, actually. Our beneficial bug department is in Medford. If you order them through us, they'll ship them to you from there.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:22 pm 
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Jewy! I'm unexpectedly moving and have two questions:

1) Can I grow ANY vegetables in a pretty well shaded area?
2) If I harvest the green tomatoes on my plants now, how do you reccomend ripening them?

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:39 pm 
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Hey Muffy Tuffy:

1) There has to be at least 6-8 hours of light for a plant to make it-(the article says three, but that is pushing it). Most herbs and leafy greens do okay in shade. Here's a link of 10 to grow in the shade:
http://organicgardening.about.com/od/ve ... eggies.htm

2) I had a terrible first crop of toms last year, but a HUGE bumper crop. I wrapped them in newspaper and put them in a box and they did their thing. This was a suggestion by one of my co-workers. I was apprehensive at first, but it REALLY WORKS!

You staying in PDX?

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:27 pm 
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Yes, luckily, but moving from our own place to a house with roomies who have a really shaded yard. However, I will have this as my neighbor: http://bluehousegreenhousefarm.blogspot.com/

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:12 pm 
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I came to ask about what's eating my spring onions but then I saw Mars' photo of the artichoke and that's what they look like.

My other question is about whether I can reuse the soil in that pot? I originally had some chives and spring onions in it and I noticed the chives and most of the spring onions had disappeared but I couldn't see any caterpillars/slugs/snails. Now the last spring onion is covered in tiny black insects so I'm going to get rid of it, but if I add new veggies to that pot, will the insects hang around and then eat them too? Should I add some new soil and some bokashi waste and then leave it for a little while?

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:45 pm 
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Kitteh, it is possible. I think cooking it in the compost bin, amending it with castings or coir, then adding mycorrhizae should take care of things.

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:29 pm 
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Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:47 pm 
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I have a question about gardenias.

I bought a gardenia at the end of June from Lowe's. It looked pretty healthy... mostly green leaves, but no blooms or flowers. I took it home and repotted it in a large planter with the MiracleGro moisture balance potting soil, but it didn't fare too well, I'm thinking because of the dryness and heat of being in El Paso. I tried not to over/under water, but despite that, it's lost all of its leaves. I scraped the trunk to see if it was still green inside and it is. Is there anything I can do to help my tree out? Should I cut off the dry/dead branches? Halp, please.

Edited to add: I live in an apartment and my tree lives on my patio in partial sun.


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 Post subject: Re: They Call Me Dr. Worm: Ask a Lovable Wookie a Gardening
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:28 am 
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Here's some helpful stuff from URI that snagged the info of U of I:

http://www.uri.edu/ce/factsheets/sheets/gardenia.html

Now, I'm not a fan of Miracle Grow, so my inner garden snob-(I'm so embarrassed I have one) would exclaim that is where you made the mistake. Miracle Gro is the devil, Bobby Bouchee.

Gardenias love an acidic fertilizer, so find one that will take care of the plant's nutritional needs. You wouldn't feed your goldfish a pizza, so you shouldn't feed your plants something it doesn't like or need.

Do you have a cheap soil pH meter? Check the pH. You could be starving or overfeeding your plant without even knowing it. When I first started doing this stuff, I thought some people had green thumbs and some didn't. Gardening is pure science. Find out as much as you can about a plant from a reputable site-(university extensions are best) and do what the information sheet says. It's that easy.

My handy checklist when plants look like shiitake:
FULS

Fertilizer- appropriate food? Vegetative plants need N. Blooming/fruiting plants need lots of P and K. Micronutes are important as well: Mg, Ca, Fe
Undersides- of leaves- are there bugs, is there mold? Can the stomata (pores) breathe?
Light- Is the plant getting enough light? Blooming plants fare well with a 12 on 12 off schedule.
Soil or Soil free media- is it too wet? Too dry? It should be the consistency of a wrung out sponge.



Let me know how it goes.

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