“Awake, O north wind, And come, wind of the south;
Make my garden breathe out fragrance, Let its spices be wafted abroad.
May my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits!”
Song of Solomon 4:16 (courtesy Biblegateway.com)
Maybe you should wait a bit. Seems that the “spices” in my garden have a little problem. Something is eating them, an insect or a fungus of some type. The mints are covered in tiny black spots, some have holes through them and some have curled up and died.
The Sage has some sort of brown spots on it as well. Not sure what that one is, maybe a rust sort of issue. Along with the Hollyhocks. Their leaves are covered with spots and dying off. Some are starting to bloom despite that.
The tomatoes at the community garden are also full of spots again. We had that a little bit last year, later in the year. This year, in plots that did not have the problem nor did they have tomatoes, several of our plants have spots already. That seems to be a “septoria leaf roll”. To treat that, you need to be on top of it all summer long. Spray it and the ground around it with a fungicidal spray, which does not actually kill it. Just manages to keep the other leaves from getting it. The best thing to do actually, is to not plant tomatoes for 3-4 years in those areas.
Looks like we will have to remove plants, do not put them in the compost pile, throw them away and try something else.
Everybody mourn the loss of tomato plants in our gardens please. It is a sad day… Luckily, it is not ALL the tomato plants. I have some here at home that are looking very healthy. (PHEW!!)
The rest of the plants in the plots at church are looking amazing. We will have to do some things for weed control however. For that I have some tricks.
(I need to do that here at home as well. The weeds seem to have taken over my garden here since I did not get in there all week last week to weed. Gonna take a bit of work to get it under control again, but it is doable.)
Here are some of my tried and true methods for weed control:
- Newspaper or cardboard depending on the area. Both break down nicely over time to add to the soil. I lay a nice thick layer of newspaper down over the weeds, around the plants. Sometimes, if I have it, I lay grass clippings on top. That nice thick layer kills off the weeds and holds the moisture in the soil and as it breaks down, adds nutrients to the soil.
- Shredded printer paper. It does pretty much the same thing as the previous, but I also will soak it down so that it makes more of a barrier to the weeds. Last year I put some down and it kept that area pretty much weed free all season! I was surprised at that.
- Grass clippings without newspaper. Try to keep the weeds out as much as possible. Yes I know it is not very possible, but for instance, if you know you have creeping Charlie in an area, do not use those clippings in your garden. Creeping Charlie is AWFUL stuff!! You cannot easily get rid of it!
- You can use wood mulch. Be careful what kind you are using however. Check your extension office to see what kinds you can use in your gardens around your plants. Black walnut would not be a good kind to use at all because they are known to kill garden plants. I generally use wood mulches as path ways in my gardens.
And of course, no list on weed management would be complete without this important tip.
- Get your hands dirty and pull those weeds out by hand! Yes, I know, it’s not so easy to get down on your knees and pull them out, but you need to. Trust me, it really is the best way.
Notice, I do not list herbicides. I try not to use anything like that around my gardens or chickens. I have in the past, yes, but going without and using old fashioned methods is the best way to manage weeds.
What problems have you had in your gardens and what have you found to be the best solutions??