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May 21, 2008

Judi’s Blog

A lot of you folks already have your vegetable gardens planted for the summer. I got mine started about four weeks ago and it’s coming on strong. For those of you who feel like you might be getting a late start-don’t worry! You still have plenty of time. We will be carrying most all of the summer veggies through August. Its actually better to wait. In March and April, even though the days can be warm and sunny, the nights are still cool. Plants like, eggplant, cucumbers and peppers, will not do well. Most people start to early and try to put in everything all at once. This can lead to disease and loss of vigor for your vegetables.

It is much wiser to start off slow and easy with cooler season crops, like herbs, lettuce, onions, chard, spinach and cool season tomatoes. Then as the spring evenings warm up, you can add the squash, cukes and longer season tomatoes. Your garden will catch up and most of the time even pass earlier planted ones.

We never know what our spring weather is going to be like. And even though it has been as ideal as we could expect, I am beginning to see customers bringing in samples of problems from early planted tomatoes.
Bacterial speck, alternaria, and early blight are diseases with very similar symptoms. It starts off as splatters of rusty brown spots on the leaves. The leaves may start turning yellow. They usually affect the lower and older growth first. Each disorder has its own special look.

The cause can range from leaving last years debris, (leaving spores) in the soil, moisture in the air, from foggy and dewy Santa Barbara mornings or overhead watering. Also heavy soils that stay wet and don’t drain well. If this sounds like a problem you might be having, adjust your watering. Once a week should be adequate with proper mulching. You can also pick off the worst leaves and spray with a copper or sulfur spray or other organic fungicides.

The next problem I expect to see is blossom end rot. The dark spot that shows up at the bottom end of the tomato. While sometimes it can be caused by the lack of calcium in the soil, the most common reason is uneven soil moisture. Allowing the tomato to dry out to much, then soaking it. Dry-wet, dry-wet. This is mostly a problem for container grown tomato plants. It is best if you can keep the soil evenly moist.

Hopefully we won’t see to many bug and disease problems this summer. But if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or bring in samples. We will be glad to help you find an organic and healthy solution to your problem.

By Judi @ La Sumida Uncategorized Share:
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