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Clubroot Disease of Brassicas

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Clubroot is the most debigating disease to affect all members of the brassica family including Brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, calabrese and swede. This virulent fungal disease persists in the soil for many years (spores can lay dormant for over twenty years). Clubroot is frequently a major predicament on old allotment sites and kitchen gardens which have been cultivated for many years. There is no known cure, but by adopting the following strategies decent crops may still be generated.

Recognizing the Presence of Clubroot

Infected plants wilt during hot days and develop stunted red to purple tops.When lifted the roots will be swollen and club-like. In bad infestations the stench from the roots can be horrendous.

How Clubroot disease stretchs

Clubroot stretchs through the soil water and on footwear and garden tools.

How to Reduce the Severity of Clubroot

Despite there being no cure preparations can be taken to reduce the severity of the damage cautilized:-

  • Improving the drainage of heavy soil by making raised beds and incorporating organic matter in the form of garden compost or well-rotted farmyard manure helps massively.
  • Raising the pH to 7.0 or 7.5 by applying garden lime and thereby making the soil more alkaline is another worthwhile tactic. Putting two good handfuls of lime into each hole and watering the hole before planting may lessen the impact of this disease.
  • Growing seedlings in 9cm (in any case this big) pots of sterilized compost (growing medium) means a strong root system is in place at planting-out time, this make sures the plants are mature before the disease gets a grip.
  • Some gardeners go to the trouble and expense of taking out a large hole for each plant and replacing this with sterilized loam every time they plant their brassicas.

Brassicas Which are Resistant to Clubroot

The development of some brassicas which show resistance to this virulent fungal disease is the most considerable breakthrough in the battle to combat the debilitating effects of clubroot. Resistant strains include the following:-

  • Swede ‘Invitation’
  • Calabrese ‘Trixie’
  • Cabbage ‘Kilaxy F1’ and the larger Cabbage ‘Kilaton F1’ are both high yielding autumn/winter ballhead varieties of cabbage which show fantastic resistance to clubroot.
  • Cauliflower ‘Clapton F1’ matures in summer and autumn producing large white heads. Plants show a very high resistance to clubroot.
  • Brussels Sprout ‘Crispus F1’ is the latest addition to the clubroot resistant brassica stable. If it proves to be as good as the cabbage and cauliflower resistant varieties its future is assured.

Learn to Live With Clubroot

Where clubroot disease is gift in the soil it can not be get rid ofd, but the gardener by making raised beds to recover the drainage, applying organic matter as well as lime to raise the pH, and raising young plants in pots is able to reduce its impact and grow affordable crops. The development of more resistant varieties for all categories of brassicas holds out real hope for vegetable growers everywhere.

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Danger of Sow Bug Pests in Garden

Sow bug (Oniscus asellus)

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Sow bugs and pill bugs are curious little creatures of the garden. children call them roly-polys and like to poke the pill bugs so that they roll up into tight little balls. Most people discover sow and pill bugs to be harmless. This is true when they are few in numbers, but sometimes they over breed and become true garden pests.

Sow and pill bugs are closely related and at first glance look pretty much the same. The way to tell them apart is that pill bugs can roll up fully into a ball. Sow bugs do not roll up as tightly. The bugs have tight segmented shells and multiple legs that can be seen scurrying along. Both kinds are true crustaceans, related to shrimps. Sow and pill bugs, though they need constant moisture, live solely on land.

Sow Bugs and Garden Mulch

The vegetable garden is probably not the origin of a sow bug infestation. It’s more likely that garden mulch is the bigger nursery. The bugs thrive in old dead leaves and tend to live under garden mulch. Within the mulch, sow bugs eat dead, dying, or decayed vegetation. They need the moisture that the mulch holds.

A vegetable garden may attract sow bugs, especially if it is mulched. The sow bugs like the moist garden surroundings. Let’s face it, insects eat their share of the bounty of gardens. There are some people who feel that sow bugs are not the culprits that really do the damage. They claim that other insects nibble the leaves and sow bugs move in later to clean up. This is not always the case in a vegetable garden.

Damage to the Vegetable Garden

Sow bugs typically eat only dead materials, it’s true. But sometimes they will as well eat tender young shoots. This becomes a predicament in the timely plantings, especially of beans, where the sow bugs crawl into the gap in soil as the sprout emerges and eat the first leaves before they push out. This damages the new sprout so that can never recover. Loss of the first few leaves effectively kills the plant. Here are some plants known to be damaged by sow bugs:

  • lettuce
  • radish and beets
  • green beans
  • starwberries

In the vegetable garden, timely spring crops such as lettuce and radishes are the first targets. Sow bugs are quite frequently found among tender lettuce leaves. They thrive in the shady moist surroundings. A radish patch as well makes a welcoming hang out for sow bugs. The bugs crawl up the leaves and make little round nibbles into the top of the radishes just below the soil line. They are as well known to take a bite or two out of ripening strawberries.

Controlling the Garden Pests

Sow bugs tend to eat only the soft tender parts of plants and generally leave established plants alone. Later in the growing season, sow bugs are not the ones that are eating the plants. Snails, slugs, beetles, and many other insects share in the feast of the garden. Vegetable gardeners can control the sow and pill bugs with organic diatomaceous earth. By keeping their numbers low, sow bugs will not create much damage. The secret is in comprehending these roly-polys and maintaining garden pest control.

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Walnut Caterpillar

Walnut Caterpillar

Common names: Walnut Caterpillar

Scientific name: Datana integerrima

Region: This Caterpillar is found in eastern and southern United States.

Life cycle: This insect produces one to two generations each year.  The pupae hibernate in the soil.  As with many insects, this caterpillar population goes in cycles.  They might be bad for one to two years and then virtually disappear for several seasons.

Physical Description: This 2-inch long caterpillar is reddish brown to black with a black head and white hairs.

The adult moth also has a hairy body, is brown in color with four dark bands bordered in white and a wingspan of 1 to 2 inches.

Feeding characteristics: This pest attacks apple, peach, pecan, and walnut plants by eating the leaves.  They will stop eating in the middle of summer to molt, then resume there feeding in the fall.

Controls: These caterpillars will congregate at the bases of branches every night making it easy to remove them on small trees.  A ladder may be necessary for larger trees.

utilize a rolled up burlap bag to rub them out during the late evening.

If hand destroying is not feasible, spraying with Bacillus thuringiensis or pyrethrum to help control the larvae.


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