How should I properly water my vegetable garden?
Do not stand in the garden and water lightly. This is the worst possible method of watering vegetable plants. When you do water, water thoroughly to encourage plant roots to seek moisture and nutrients deep in the soil. Soak the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.
A thorough soaking every five to six days is usually sufficient. Of course, weather conditions, such as temperature and rainfall, will also affect frequency of watering.
Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation for best results as overhead watering is usually a very inefficient way to water. Soaker and drip irrigation places the water near the plant’s roots and not in the middle of the rows. Also, soaker and drip systems do not wet the foliage, thus helping to reduce leaf spot and other diseases.
I fertilize my vegetables regularly and the plants look great, but I have little fruit. Why?
Heavy amounts of fertilizer, particularly high nitrogen fertilizers, cause plants to produce foliage at the expense of fruit production. Fertilize vegetable gardens during the growing season according to soil test recommendations. Use fertilizer at planting time, and side dress as prescribed by the soil test. For any vegetables that produce fruit (tomato, pepper, potato, onions, carrots, broccoli) use a 1-2-3 analysis fertilizer (Ex. 5-10-15, 4-8-12) and for leafy vegetables (lettuce, all greens) use a 1-1-1- analysis (ex. 8-8-8, 10-10-10).
What is causing the bottom limbs on my tomato plants to turn yellow?
Most tomato gardeners have seen the symptoms: lower leaves get dark spots, turn bright yellow and drop off the plant. As the season progresses most leaves drop off the tomato vine, leading to sun scald if any fruit forms.
The disease is early blight, Alternaria solani. The fungus is present in most soils and can not be eliminated. It attacks tomatoes when humidity and temperatures are high. The best practice to limit disease occurrence is to mulch under the plant immediately after planting. In this way infected soil cannot splash onto lower leaves. Water using a soaker hose, keeping the leaves as dry as possible at all times. Fungicides labeled for garden use can also be used to keep the disease from spreading up the plant
My squash plants are covered with a white, powdery substance. What is it?
Powdery mildew is a common fungus disease that attacks many plants. This disease thrives in hot, humid weather and spreads from plant to plant by spores. Powdery mildew infects plant tissue causing yellowing and sometimes death of plants. Remove infected leaves treat plants with recommended garden fungicides such as Daconil or use organic controls such as neem oil. Also select and plant powdery mildew-resistant plants.
Are there any shade-tolerant vegetables?
The "leafy" vegetables like spinach, collards, turnip greens, etc., are more shade tolerant than tomatoes, corn or beans. Most leafy vegetables are also grown in the cool season, when leaves are more likely off the trees surrounding them.
Sunlight is the energy source that powers fruit formation. If you have little sun, your plants will produce few fruits. If you have more shade than sun, try gardening in large containers. These can be placed in the sunniest spots of your yard and moved around to gather as much light as possible.
Billy Skaggs is an agricultural agent and Hall County extension coordinator. Phone: 770-531-6988. Fax: 770-531-3994.