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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Issues with gardening

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jenna Smith
By now, many individuals have either planted their garden or will be planting it in the near future.

The act of planting the plants is only part of the battle a gardener must face when deciding to grow their own produce. Other issues they must face are moisture, nutrient requirements, weeds, insects and wildlife.

Recently, we have been faced with more than enough moisture for our plants to grow. In some cases, gardeners have delayed their planting due to the high amount of moisture in the ground while others have seen problems arise in their plants due to the high moisture content.

One of the first signs of "water wilt" in plants located in poorly drained soils is a slight wilting of the foliage at the top of the plant. Often, the plant will die within one week after these signs are noticed. The reason is because too much carbon dioxide builds up in the waterlogged soil and reduces the amount of oxygen available for the roots to use. This then causes root death of vegetable plants, including tomatoes and peppers.

Leaf roll is another problem that can be associated with too much moisture. Leaf roll is when the lower leaves roll upward until the edges touch each other.

The leaf also becomes thick and leathery. The plant will survive this problem. However, you might see a slight decrease in growth and yield.

To help control moisture around your plants, try to mulch. The mulch will help maintain an even soil moisture and temperature along with suppressing weeds.

One downfall of hay and straw mulches is that they could contain weed seeds in them.

Water is only part of the nutrients needed for a plant to survive. Additionally, it needs nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other minerals.

Due to the rapid growth needed to produce a harvestable crop by the plant in a timely manner, it is a good idea to "side dress" your vegetable plants with fertilizer throughout the growing season. "Side dressing" refers to placing fertilizer approximately 3-inches from the plant.

There is no magical time when you can side dress all your vegetable plants at once. Instead, you should side dress each plant individually at specific times.

For example, corn should be side dressed when it is 1-foot or 3-foot tall, while you should not side dress tomatoes and peppers until they have had their first fruit set. You should then side dress them (tomatoes and peppers) every four weeks. Side dressing too frequent can cause death to your plant.

As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County, or reach me directly at smith535@purdue.edu. Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* May 30 -- Extension Office closed. Memorial Day,

* May 31 -- Owen Valley FFA Pet Vaccination, 5-7 p.m., Clay Township,

* June 2 -- Owen Valley FFA Pet Vaccination, 5-7 p.m., Worthington, and

* June 8-10 -- Home and Family Conference, Purdue University.