Thursday, June 21, 2018


  5 Things That Might be Plaguing Your Garden

The Garden is in the Ground!

Whew!  You finally have gotten your plants in the ground.  Perhaps you've harvested those earliest Spring crops for a great fresh garden salad.  It's been so nice spending time outside after that long Winter.  Now it's time for a cold refreshing drink by the pool and just watch your garden flourish.  Tomatoes, Zucchinis, Cucumbers, Corn on the cob...You can barely contain yourself.  All the hard work is done.  Now, FINALLY, you can sit back and just wait for the dividends.

Ah Oh!  What is that?!

It's finally cooled off for the evening and dinner is eaten.  Hey!  What would be better than a casual walk around your Garden of Eden?  Ahhh, the Tomatoes...BUT...Why are some of the leaves yellow and brown?  And what happened to the top of that plant?  It's gone!  Just a cut stem!

The Green Beans...BUT...All the leaves have holes in them?  On to the potato plants, beautiful and blooming...BUT they look like they've been shot up with a tiny shot gun!  Tiny holes on nearly all the leaves!  This could be you, but in fact, this was me over the last two weeks.  Minus the pool (my wife is still asking why we don't have one yet!)

You Need Help!

All is not lost.  With a little investigation you can discover what is wrong with your beloved plant and fix it!  Here are 5 possible culprits and how to ID the suspect 



It could be insect damage.  Many different varieties of insects love your vegetables just as much as you do.  Typical culprits are caterpillars, beetles, and bugs .  Cut off leaves, holes in leaves, damage trails in leaves and webs on leaves are common signs that an insect has feasted or set up their new apartment in your garden.


Too much water or a lack of hydration could be the problem.  As a general rule of thumb most garden plants need enough water to soak the top inch of soil per week.  Periods of drought for your plant weaken it.  If discovered in time watering it can revive it but the more stressful situations your plant goes through the harder it is for it to recover.  Repeated droughts can permanently stunt its growth if not out right kill it.  Likewise, too much water can make the plant's roots rot killing its source for minerals and food from the soil.  Also ALWAYS, ALWAYS water your vegetables at the ground level.  More on this in the next point.


There are many diseases out there that may plague your plants.  The roots of these can be found laying dormant in your soils, airborne, on the plant when it came from the garden center, or even brought to your plant by an insect!  Luckily the list of diseases can be narrowed down for each individual plant.  Damage from disease can be identified by discoloration, foliage drying out, and wilting.  A great preventive measure is to water your plant at ground level.  Many of the spores for disease are laying dormant in the soil.  All they are waiting for is the right temperature, moisture, and contact with your plant to start their life cycle of destruction!  You can't stop the rain from splashing these spores on your plants, but you can stem the tide by not helping give the diseases a free ride.


Garden plants need food and nutrients.  Most of this is obtained through the soil. Plants need both Macro and Micro or trace minerals. The Macronutrients include; Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Sulfur, Magnesium,Carbon , Oxygen, and Hydrogen.  The Micronutirents or trace minerals include; Iron, Boron, Chlorine, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Molybdenum, and Nickel. When a plant has too much or too little of a nutrient, it will show physical signs,  Often the tricky part is that different minerals will show the same sign.  The only way to know for sure is a complete soil analysis.  All is not lost though.  Many nutrient problems can be identified and corrected with soil amendments from many Organic sources.  Discoloration, stunted growth, leaves drying up or dying are often signs of a nutrient problem.


Most garden plants, especially vegetables, will need full sun.  Many of your flowers and herbs will as well, but not all. First know your plants lighting needs.  So I'm sure most of you knew this when you planted your garden.  You chose a great sunny spot for your plot that got a good 6-8 hours of full sun every day.  So how could my full sun loving plants be suffering from light deficiency?  How much shade did you incorporate into your garden?  Psst...plants grow.  Some perhaps taller than their neighbor that they are now shading?  This will more than likely have to be chalked up to a planning issue.  Record it in your journal and make sure you don't plant that tall plant where it will shade that short plant next year.  Also, how are your weeds growing?  Weeds by definition are successful at living; easy to germinate and quick to grow, flower and seed.  Keep up on those weeds.  Put to practice as many weed prevention methods as possible and weed when the weeds are small!

If you like to know more about identifying that plant problem and how to fix it, contact me about my  class, GARDENING WHODUNNIT: INSPECTOR GREEN THUMB AT YOUR SERVICE and subscribe to Survivalist in Suburbia, for more upcoming articles with Garden tips that you can use today!

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