Warm and wet bad for the garden

Central Otago Mirror - - CLASSIFIEDS -

Sum­mer sun­shine may be bliss for the av­er­age per­son but a bout of warm, wet weather spells trou­ble for vege gar­dens. Hu­mid­ity en­cour­ages fun­gal dis­eases and, in their weak­ened state, in­fected plants are sus­cep­ti­ble to bac­te­ria and viruses as well. Watch out for late blight on to­ma­toes and pota­toes, es­pe­cially if there is a drop in tem­per­a­ture at night. Late blight thrives in hu­mid con­di­tions where nights are cool and days are warm. Tell-tale signs of in­fec­tion in­clude brown-black spots on leaves and some­times a white fun­gal growth on their un­der­sides. Leaves even­tu­ally shrivel up and fall off. The disease can also spread to potato tu­bers, which even­tu­ally rot. You can spray with Ki­wicare’s Or­ganic Cop­per Oxy, which pro­tects plants from both fun­gal and bac­te­rial dis­eases, though the best course of ac­tion is to try to pre­vent the disease from in­fect­ing plants in the first place. Avoid plant­ing pota­toes and to­ma­toes in the same spot each year, as the disease can re­main in the soil. In au­tumn, gather and dis­pose of all fallen leaves and fruit to re­duce the chance of the disease over­win­ter­ing. At the end of the sea­son, dig out all potato tu­bers as well. Any that re­main may also har­bour the disease. Pow­dery mildew also rears its ugly head at this time of year. Spray reg­u­larly with your own DIY fungi­cides – a milk spray or bak­ing soda spray. It is sug­gested that or­ganic raw milk works best as it still con­tains the nat­u­ral an­tibi­otics that may oth­er­wise be de­stroyed dur­ing pas­teuri­sa­tion. The nat­u­ral an­tibi­otics in milk, as well as the pro­duc­tion of other con­stituents upon ex­po­sure to sun­light, act as a nat­u­ral fungi­cide. How­ever, many gar­den­ers be­lieve skim milk is as equally ef­fec­tive in con­trol­ling pow­dery mildew. In ei­ther case, use one part milk to nine parts water and spray ev­ery 7 to 10 days. For a bak­ing soda spray, mix 1 ta­ble­spoon of bak­ing soda with a litre of water, add a squirt of de­ter­gent for stick­a­bil­ity, and spray on to leaves. Rust is an­other disease that’s preva­lent in sum­mer. You of­ten see it on as­para­gus, mint, beans, beet­root and peas (in­clud­ing snow peas and sugar snaps). It shows up as rust­coloured spots on leaves. Re­move in­fected leaves as the spores are eas­ily re­leased into the air and blown on the wind to in­fect other plants. They may also fall on to the soil sur­face and over­win­ter there. It is best to re­move in­fected plants and start again with new plants in a dif­fer­ent spot. Healthy plants can be sprayed with a cop­per fungi­cide to pre­vent in­fec­tion. Rust may be en­cour­aged by too much ni­tro­gen and too lit­tle potas­sium in the soil. Use a balanced fer­tiliser, one with at least as much potas­sium as ni­tro­gen, on rust-prone crops. A sea­weed fer­tiliser sup­plies potas­sium, as well as trace min­er­als plants en­joy.

Watch out: To­ma­toes and pota­toes are vul­ner­a­ble to blight

at this time of year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.