Monday, September 28, 2009

Growing Tips Zone 7

Lessons learned from garden mistakes & triumphs past
... an ongoing post

1. Don't ignore your instincts... if you think something is going wrong, act on it, don't wait.
2. Plant a few new varieties each year - you may find a new favorite.
3. Fight early blight before it begins - work cornmeal into the top of your soil, mulch well so water and spores will not splash on the foliage, bottom water and strip any lower leaves starting to show signs of EB. Try 1 baby aspirin in a gallon of water as a foliar spray to promote the plant's own resistance. I don't think anything will prevent EB but you can help prolong the health of the plant and minimize its effects.
4. Pumpkins don't do well in containers :-(
5. As soon as your peppers have green full sized fruit, pick them - no matter how badly your mouth is watering for fully ripe, red peppers. They will set a second, much larger flush of blooms and produce twice as well.
6. No matter how well you have worked compost, etc. into the soil, a good balanced organic fertilizer will make a world of difference.
7. Sugar snap peas need to be started much earlier here than most charts show - Feb., even if there is snow on the ground, gives them a chance to produce much heavier yields than planting in March.
8. A few whiteflies become a zillion whiteflies. If you see evidence of whiteflies on a greenhouse plant, do NOT bring it home. Ask me how I know.
9. There is no such thing as too many tomato plants.
10. If your soil is the quintessential southern red clay, don't fight it. Amendments disappear as fast as you can work them in. Build raised beds, fill with a mix of soil, compost, peat and start a compost pile of your own. You will spend less money and way less frustration in the long run.

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