Rooted: Thoughts Stories and How-Tos from Brawley Seed Co.
Unless you were out of town, you know our little slice of North Carolina was a soggy mess for a full week. While we love rain for taking care of our watering duties, heavy downpours for prolonged periods of time will require a little extra maintenance to keep you garden healthy and beautiful. Here are our favorite tips for post-rain maintenance in your vegetable garden.
Feed Your Plants. A lot of water will flush nutrients from the soil. We recommend after a prolonged period of heavy rain, to feed your plants for a plant food or fertlizer. We like Garden-tone, Tomato-tone, FoxFarm's Tomato and Vegetable for feeding organically, or it you'd like to take a more traditional route, consider using good ole 10-10-10.
Treat Fungal Problems. Heat coupled with moisture is a breeding ground for fungal issues and early blight. The key is to catch these issues early and treat with the right product. Our favorite fungicide, which also happens to be organic is Liquid Copper. If you spot a powdery, white substance on your foliage ( especially wide leaves such a squash, zucchini and bee balm) your plant is most likely afflicted with powdery mildew. Black spots on your foliage is another common fungal issue this of time. You might come across early blight on your tomato plants, which will make foliage appear brown around the edges and can also make the leaves curl. All these fungal diseases can be treated with liquid copper or synthetic fungicide such as Daconil or Mancozeb. Pro-tip: While Neem oil and Horticultural oil will also treat these issues, its important to pay attention to temperature and direct sunlight when using these treatments in the summer as they can cause leaves to burn.
Tie up Tomatoes. Long periods of overcast days can make your plants stretch, which is especially noticeable in tomatoes. Be sure to tie up, cage, or stake tomatoes to keep vines healthy. It is also a good idea to trim back any lower limbs for air flow and prevent fungal issues (listed above) that often caused by soil splash black. Speaking of tomatoes, heavy rain followed by dry periods create the perfect setting for blossom end rot on your tomatoes and other garden veggies. Using Stop Rot or Calcium Nitrate to help prevent blossom end rot.
Clear your Garden of Debris. It is important this time of year to keep your vegetable garden clear from any debris that may have fallen. Fallen leaves and dead blooms can create a hiding spot for pests. Don't forget to pick up a gardening pad to keep your knees protected.
Watch for Slug and Snail Damage. Finding large holes in the leaves, plants that look wilted even though they have been well watered or display black foliage at the base of the plant suggest your plants might be suffering from snail and slug damage. Before purchasing a slug bait, we suggest using the beer test. Simply fill a bowl with beer and place under the damaged plants in question. If you have slugs in the bowl in the morning, it's time to purchase a snail bait. We love Sluggo or Sluggo Plus from Monterey as an organic treatment or Slug & Snail Bait by Hi-Yield for a stronger option.
With the right product and the right amount of elbow grease, your garden will be back in shape. Coming soon, we will do a deep dive into insect damage in your garden and how to treat. We wish everyone a Happy 4th of July and bountiful harvests all season long.
Lifes's a garden, dig it!