What is that white butterfly flitting around my garden? Is it good or bad?
I’ve got a sunken black lesion on the bottom of my tomatoes, is that blight?
No, that’s blossom end rot.This is caused when the plant can’t get the calcium it needs. The nutrient is probably in the soil, but unavailable when the soil dries out. The way to beat blossom end rot is to keep the soil evenly moist. Don’t let the plant go through periods of drought then to be deluged in a summer thunderstorm. A good thick layer of mulch helps.
Some varieties of tomato are more susceptible than others, often sauce or paste tomatoes are hit hard. Tomatoes grown in containers are also prone to the problem. They need constant watering or you might consider a self watering container.
I hear all sorts of things about when the right time is to water. What part of the day is best?
The morning is the best time to water. This gets the plants ready for the day, and the leaves also have a chance to dry off. Many plants are susceptible to fungal diseases. When their foliage remains wet, the fungal diseases can take hold.
Water at the base of the plant when possible. This uses the water most efficiantly and not much is lost through evaporation. It’s also another way to keep the leaves dry.
Really soak the plants. It’s best to give them lots of water once or twice a week instead of a little every day. A deep watering encourages deep roots.
Mulch is so important this time of the year. It keeps the soil evenly moist and also retards fungal diseases. Hopefully your plants are already mulched. If not, be sure to get a couple inches of mulch around the plants after a good watering.
Mulch should never touch the base of the plants, it can heat up.
I use straw in the vegetable garden and bark mulch for ornamentals.
Containers might need water every day depending on their size. Stick a finger an inch deep into the pot, if it’s dry, it’s time to water.
Don’t forget trees and shrubs, especially if they are newly planted. Small trees and shrubs might need 15 gallons of water a couple times a week if rain is scarce.
The last resort is an overhead sprinkler. Sometimes a large area like a lawn needs watered and that’s the best way to get it covered. Put a small can in the watering area to know when you’ve reached one inch.
The last few seasons have given us plenty of rain, something we take for granted when it doesn’t come that often.