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Take care about potato storage between seasons

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
Orka Vegetable Storage
Image by aMichiganMom via Flickr

Some pathogens, such as the silver scurf pathogen, may survive from one season to the next in the storage facilities themselves. Storages and handling equipment should be cleaned and sanitized or “disinfected” after the storage is emptied and before handling and storing the new crop. Disinfection of storages and handling equipment is a three-step process.

  • Remove dirt and debris. All the disinfectants approved for use in potato storages are rapidly tied up and rendered ineffective by dirt and organic matter. The next two steps of the process will be much more effective if the debris from last year’s crop is removed.
  • Wash with soap and water. This step is often accomplished with a pressure washer and a detergent solution. Warm or hot water will be more effective than cold water. Steam washers are also a good choice but will not actually disinfect storage surfaces or equipment because the duration of the exposure to steam is too short. Water and detergent help to dissolve and remove dried tuber sap and bacterial slimes that are deposited on storage surfaces and equipment, and detergents have some disinfection capability. Cleaned surfaces allow the disinfectant, used in the next step, to work properly.
  • Disinfect. Use an appropriate and registered disinfectant and make sure that the surfaces to be disinfected remain wet with the disinfection solution for at least 10 minutes. Use sufficient sprayer pressure and volume to effectively clean all surfaces.

Many fungal spores have tough, resilient cell walls, and bacteria in storages often occur in the form of dried slime. Ten minutes provides the necessary time for the disinfectant to penetrate the fungal cell wall or dissolve the bacterial slime and kill the pathogen.

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Recognizing Plant Disease

Friday, June 11th, 2010
Powdery mildew, a Biotrophic Fungus

Image via Wikipedia

While the gardener hopes for disease-free plants, multitudes of organisms are ever gift and merely biding their time for the look of the right states and host.

Damping-Off

Damping-off is likely the most discouraging predicament for the gardener. Even though it can occur any time during the growing season it generally attacks seedlings just when they seem to be getting off to a good start.

Damping-off is cautilized by fungi living right at the soil line where air meets the moist soil’s surface. If soil is kept continually damp the fungi attack the seedlings causing constricted stems at or immediately below the soil’s surface. The young plants fall over at the soil line and die.

Prevention is the only medication. Allow the soil surface to dry out between waterings. If soil remains moist for a long period of time sprinkle the area around the seedlings with ground cinnamon. Cinnamon is a organic fungicide. The gardener may as well make utilize of another organic fungicide, chamomile. Brew weak chamomile tea, let it cool and utilize around seedlings.

Mosaic Virus

Mosaic virus robs plants of their genetic organization, diverting energy to themselves. This virus first attacks summer and winter squash, gourds, cucumbers, watermelons and pumpkins Even though it as well affects beans, peppers and tomatoes.

The virus cautilizes abnormality in plant growth. Leaves look mottled or distorted and crinkled. They twist up or show bubbles. frequently the affected plant will have leaves with yellowish spots on them. The fruit of affected cucumbers can have a variation of mottled light and dark green areas, sometimes paling almost white. Other fruit in the curcurbit family can be blanketed with warts or have skin that is faded, white and smooth. Even though this virus may not kill the plant the fruit will taste so bitter that it will be inedible.

Mosaic virus overwinters in garden debris and a number of weed plants. Be sure the garden is scrupulously cleared out after the growing season and reduce or get rid of weed growth near diet plants. Aphids and cucumber beetles as well stretch the virus when they feed from plant to plant. Eliminating these pests will go a long way toward preventing the virus from entering your garden.

Botrytis Blight

Botrytis blight or rot is a fungal disease that affects a number of vegetables and fruits. Among its host plants are asparagus, beans, beets, carrots, grapes, lettuce, onions, peppers, potatoes, raspberries, tomatoes and strawberries. The infection typically happens when cool rainy or drizzling spring and summer weather lasts for several days. Botrytis rot can infect all parts of the plant but the roots. It appears as a mass of silver-gray spores on dead or dying plant tissue. Heavily infected plants release the spores as a dust that can be stretch to other plants. The disease stretchs most rapidly on wet or humid days and rain splatter as well cautilizes new infections.

As with other ailment, prevention is the best control. check out the plants frequently, watching for any infestation, blighted leaves or dead plants. Wait until the plants are dry before taking steps to sanitize them. Carry a paper bag with you when check outing the plants. Remove infected plant material or the entire plant and place it in the bag to be thrown in the trash or burned.

Avoid overhead watering or misting which as well provide favorable states for infection. Give plants abundance of space between them to promote good air circulation and allow the plants to dry out quickly, not giving botrytis the moist, humid states it needs in order to prosper.

Another fungal disease, powdery mildew, coats the leaves in dusty white or grey powder. Leaves are typically first attacked on the underside and then the mildew moves around to the top of the leaf, eventually covering the entire surface.

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) has proven to be extremely effective as an antifungal in treating active botrytis and powdery mildew. Add 1 ounce of baking soda to 1 gallon of water and spray the solution on the affected plant. Caught timely, the disease can be halted and the plant saved.

Feeding all plants with finished compost or compost ‘tea’ foliar spray helps to strengthen their immune system, allowing the plants’ own defensive structures to ward off many debilitating ailment.

Organic Gardening Products

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Epsom Salt for Tomato

Thursday, June 10th, 2010
State fruit - Tomato

Image via Wikipedia

Tomatoes are one of  popular vegetables home gardeners grow. The satisfaction of planting and watching the fast growing tomato plants generate their red or yellow fruits can only be rivaled by the taste of a home grown tomato.

There are several points that a gardener has to be vigilant about regarding growing healthy tomato plants, and one of those is blossom end rot, which strikes just prior to the maturation of the tomatoes. Quite a disappointment for the gardener who has tended the tomato plants for weeks and greatly anticipated eating the fruits of his labor. Blossom end rot can be prevented, even stopped after it has already begun to attack a tomato plant, with several applications of Epsom salt.

What Cautilizes Blossom End Rot

Blossom end rot is cautilized by a lack of calcium in the garden soil. The calcium deficient soil is just not able to bring the tomatoes to the ripe stage before the fruit rots. Blossom end rot starts out as a small dark circle on the tomato’s blossom end and will stretch through the green or partially ripe tomato.

Prevent Blossom End Rot

To prevent blossom end rot, work Epsom salt into the garden soil before planting tomatoes. Apply one pound of Epsom salt to the standard sized raised bed garden (four feet by six-eight feet) or one cup of Epsom salt per container that tomatoes will be grown in and work into the soil well with a spade or tiller. The Epsom salt will then be a readily offered source of calcium and magnesium for the tomato plant.

Epsom salt as well promotes root growth and development for all garden vegetables and flowers and should be worked into the soil along with organic matter at the beginning of spring. A side dressing of Epsom salt or watering gardening vegetables with a combination of ½ cup of Epsom salt dissolved in one gallon of water a couple of times during the growing season will keep plants healthy and growing vigorously. When applying dry Epsom salt as a side dressing, be careful not to allow the Epsom salt to touch any part of the plant.

Stopping Blossom End Rot Once It Starts

If blossom end rot strikes tomato plants, it can be stopped and the plant can go on to generate healthy tomatoes. At the first sign of blossom end rot, remove all affected tomatoes from the plant and discard. Begin watering the tomato plant with an Epsom salt combination once per week. Dissolve ½ cup of Epsom salt into a gallon of water and slowly pour the entire gallon around the base of the tomato plant. The Epsom salt combination will go directly to the plant roots and be absorbed by the plant and stop future developing tomatoes from being afflicted by blossom end rot.

Tomato blossom end rot can be prevented or stopped after it has begun with an application of good old Epsom salt.

Organic Gardening Products

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