Archive for June, 2012
Blossom-End Rot (BER) is a disorder of tomato, squash, pepper, and all other fruiting vegetables. You notice that a dry sunken decay has developed on the blossom end (opposite the stem) of many fruit, especially the first fruit of the season. This is not a pest, parasite or disease process but is a physiological problem caused by a low level of calcium in the fruit itself.
Blossom End Rot Ripe Peppers
Blossom End Rot Cucumber
Blossom End Rot On Ripe Tomato
It usually begins as a small “water-soaked looking” area at the blossom end of the fruit while still green. As the lesion develops, it enlarges, becomes sunken and turns tan to dark brown to black and leathery. In severe cases, it may completely cover the lower half of the fruit, becoming flat or concave, often resulting in complete destruction of the infected fruit.
Calcium is required in relatively large concentrations for normal cell growth. When a rapidly growing fruit is deprived of calcium, the tissues break down, leaving the characteristic lesion at the blossom end. Blossom-end rot develops when the fruit’s demand for calcium exceeds the supply in the soil. This may result from low calcium levels in the soil, drought stress, excessive soil moisture, and/or fluctuations due to rain or overwatering . These conditions reduce the uptake and movement of calcium into the plant, or rapid, vegetative growth due to excessive nitrogen fertilization.
Adequate preparation of the garden bed prior to planting is the key to preventing BER. Insure adequately draining soil in the bed by adding needed ammendments, maintain the soil pH around 6.5 – a pH out of this range limits the uptake of calcium. Lime (unless the soil is already alkaline), composted manures or bone meal will supply calcium but take time to work so must be applied prior to planting. Excess ammonial types of nitrogen in the soil can reduce calcium uptake as can a depleted level of phosphorus. After planting, avoid deep cultivation that can damage the plant roots, use mulch to help stabilize soil moisture levels and help avoid drought stress, avoid overwatering as plants generally need about one inch of moisture per week from rain or irrigation for proper growth and development.
Once the problem develops, quick fixes are difficult. Stabilize the moisture level as much as possible, feeding with manure or compost tea is recommended by many, foliar applications of calcium are of questionable value according to research because of poor absorption and movement to fruit where it is needed but many have reported that foliar application of magnesium (epsom salts) can effect added calcium uptake. Other various suggestions consist of powdered milk, crushed egg shells tea, bone meal tea, Tums tablets, etc. but prevention is the key. Some recommend removing affected fruit from to reduce stress in the plant.
Ron Wilson who can be heard on “In The Garden With Ron” on Saturday mornings, suggest that breaking up calcium tablets such as Tum’s Antacid around the base of the plant helps.
BER should not be confused with fruit abortion or inadequate pollination although the symptoms may appear similar. The onset of BER occurs only after the fruit is well on it’s way to development while insufficient pollination problems terminate the fruit while still quite small.
Credits for Portions of This Article:
Lazarus Restaurants Zucchini Bread
Lazarus Zucchini Bread Recipe
The are multiple benefits for deadheading your flowers. First thought it helps to understand the life cycle of a flower.
Its purpose is to grow, bloom and set seed (to propagate itself) and then die. When you deadhead spent flowers, you basically trick the plant into setting more blossoms in order to complete its life cycle, therefore prolonging the life and beauty of the plant. Another reason deadheading
is important is that it takes energy to set seed. When you deadhead a
spent blossom the energy that would have gone into setting seed is now sent back into the growing process, creating a bushier more lush plant. Lastly, deadheaded plants simply look neater and cleaner in your beds and garden.
You can deadhead by pinching the spent blossoms off with your fingers or using scissors or pruners. On most flowers you should do this at the first set of leaves down from the blossom.
Common flowers that benefit greatly from deadheading are marigolds, zinnias, geraniums, annual salvia, celosia, coleus, and petunias. On an opposite note, flowers such as impatiens, New Guinea impatiens, begonias and vinca are a few ”self cleaning” flowers that do not need deadheading.
At least in certain areas, Japanese Beetles are out in full force…a little earlier than most years but so has been the story for most gardening related subjects this year.
Adult Japanese Beetle
The adult beetles eat the leaves and flowers of over 300 plants by eating the tissue between the veins, a type of feeding called skeletonizing. Adult Japanese Beetles can do a lot of damage in a relatively short amount of time. If you use a chemical means to control them, it is wise to keep it on hand…picking some up in a few days may be too late to avert unsightly damage. In addition to keeping damage at bay, early control can lessen the overall amount of beetles that are attracted to your property. The first arrivals (scouts) begin to release an aggregation pheromone (odor) that attracts additional adults. Newly emerged females also release a sex pheromone that attracts males.
Grub to Japanese Beetle to Grub Life Cycle
By mid-June the second round of damage begins with a continual cycle of females laying eggs, feeding, and mating up until mid-August. This is the beginning of lawn grubs which feed on plant roots (killing patches of grass). We will cover more on grubs and their control later this summer.
By noticing when the first adults arrive on a property, you can pick off and destroy these scouts that attract additional pests. The adults are less active in the early morning or late evening. They can be destroyed by dropping into a container of soapy water.
Chemical Control – Insecticide Spraying
The adults can be controlled by spraying susceptible plants with insecticides. Over-the-counter pesticides available for this include: acephate (Orthene), carbaryl (Sevin), and several pyrethroids – bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, deltamethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, permethrin, and others. Applications of imidacloprid (=Bayer Advanced Tree & Shrub Concentrate) generally need to be made 20 days before anticipated Japanese beetle adult activity. During the heavy adult activity periods, sprays may be needed every 5 to 10 days. It is very important to follow all the manufacturers application directions and read warnings.
Trapping, not recommended
Several traps using a floral lure and sex attractant are available. These traps are not recommended for general use unless special conditions can be met. The traps have been demonstrated to be effective in reducing damage and populations only when landscapes are isolated from other Japanese beetle breeding areas or when mass trapping (everyone in the neighborhood) is used. In most urban areas, traps tend to attract more beetles into the area than would normally be present. In this situation, adult feeding and resultant grub populations are not reduced.
Credit for information gained for this article, Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet Entomology
Melampodium...In Our Greenhouse On 6-8-12
The melampodium is one of the most prolific of summer annuals, in more ways than one. First, it stays covered with small yellow, daisy-like flowers, about an inch in diameter, from an early age. Second, these flowers make seed like the tribes of man and cover the earth, seedlings coming up constantly all during the growing season, and even from one season to the next. Foliage is bright, not dark green; and the yellow, many-petaled flowers have a darker bronzy-orange center. They need good sun to bloom well, and must stay watered, though they are not fussy.
Most of the melampodium species come from the new world tropics in regions that include the Caribbean and from South America, through Central America to the southwestern United States.
Likes average, well drained, soil. Once established, plants are quite drought and heat tolerant. Several cultivars of melampodium have been developed, mostly to achieve a more compact size. The generic melampodium gets so large the plant falls over. When planted in a mass this doesn’t matter so much, but for container planting, dwarfs look neater and can be more useful in combinations.
Light: Good sun.
Moisture: Average to dry.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-10. Summer annual. Killed by freezing temperatures.
Propagation: Melampodium will self-seed from existing plants. No assistance needed!
Use by itself in large continous mounds or use a contrasting back drop of other sun loving plants such as celosia or gereniums.
Melampodium is an happy little plant that is very generous with its near continuous displays of yellow daisylike flowers. Butter daisy (a happier name) will prolifically reseed each season requiring no assistance from the gardener! It is a rugged plant that can stand up to summer’s heat and retain its fine flowers and fresh appearance.
Photo Credit: Taken In Our Greenhouse 6-8-12
Content: Portions Taken From Floridata.Com