Tater Update Three!!!

The potatoes are growing very well! The plants are starting to get flowers! The extra drainage is paying off, despite the heavy rains.

So far no sign of Potato Beetles. Plus, I’m on the look out for fungus!

The next step is to feed the potato rings with seaweed emulsion and watch for critters and disease. When the plants die back and turn brown, then the potato harvest will begin (probably in late June).

It appears this is working so well, I’m going to try this with sweet potatoes.

Talk to you soon!

Papa

 

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Cold Frame Beauties!

Cole crops, Swiss Chard and pansies (started in January) were started in early February using heat mats and LED lights. (BTW, Cole crops are veggies like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and the like). Mid March the transplants went out to the cold frame. Subsequently, most of the plants took off like a rocket!

 

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The cold frames are made of landscape timbers, lined with one inch foam board. Weed cloth is placed on the ground bottom and the top is hinged 1/4 inch poly carbonate panels.

I use bricks to prop open the top panels when weather allows. All of the crops in the cold frame are now hardened off to moderate cold temperatures 27° – 32° (F).

Fertilizing with seaweed emulsion is the only additional feed used to enhance growth and to immunize for stress.

All of these transplants will be in the ground shortly. They should take off quickly in the cooler soil!

More new info to come!

Papa

Crazy Weather!! Spray Those Fruit Trees!

Amazing, 60° (F) on January 15th in the Missouri Ozarks. The flower buds are swelling due to the warm weather. It is definitely time to start spraying your fruit trees.

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Neem Oil is the perfect choice to spray fruit trees. Neem oil is both a fungicide and an insecticide. 100% Neem Oil tends to solidify in its’ container. Place the container in a bucket with hot water to liquefy the oil to use in a sprayer. Two tablespoons per gallon is the usual rate to get the job done.

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Neem oil is made from the seeds of the Neem Tree (Azadirachta indica). The oil mixed with water and dish soap is sprayed at temperatures below 80° (F). Neem oil has fungicidal and bacteriological properties to either prevent or control certain types of bacteria and fungus.

Neem oil is effective to control fire blight which is a major issue on apple and pear trees.

Neem oil offers good control against powdery mildew, black spot, downy mildew, scab, anthracnose,  rust, leaf spot, botrytis, tip blight and alternaria. These are a sample of fungal diseases which plague fruit and ornamental trees.

As an insecticide, Neem Oil is detrimental to aphids, mealybugs, scale, different types of beetles, true bugs and caterpillars by disrupting their growth patterns. Most of the above insects will not reach adulthood and therefore no offspring. The oil itself smothers some of the insects by cutting off their air supply and eliminating insect eggs.

While standing upwind, spray the fruit trees from ground level to the branch tips.

Make sure the entire tree is thoroughly covered to insure control and effectiveness.

In a week to 10 days the trees will be sprayed again, using wettable sulfur.

Continue the process in another 7 to 10 days using elemental copper.

Spraying between intervals with seaweed emulsion and compost tea will strengthen the trees by building up the trees immune systems and handling stress.

The benefit is clear by enjoying healthy fruitful trees!

Papa

 

What Does it Mean to “Harden Off” Seedlings?

I often get this question this time of year. You can hardly wait to get your tomatoes in the ground! You’ve grown the plants out with great care. You’ve babied them.

You desperately want to plant them in the ground.  You take your hand or trowel and plant them in the cold ground. You water the seedlings and hope they will quickly grow. Uh oh, something is wrong! For some reason the plants don’t look so good after a couple of days in the soil. They look like they are burnt or dying. What did I do wrong?

Here are the steps you must take for  successful transplant.

  1. A seedling must be 45 – 60 days old prior to transplanting into your garden or container.
  2. Seven (7) to 10 days prior to transplant, start to wean the plants to use less water. Only water enough to prevent wilting.
  3. Treat your seedlings with seaweed emulsion, either by spraying or watering with a one (1) tablespoon per gallon of water solution.
  4. Take the seedlings outside for 2 hours the first day. Make sure you do this on a warm day with little wind. A cold wind could damage the seedlings. If you are using a cold frame*, completely opening the lid. Use the same guidelines as above.
  5. Each day increase the time outside by one (1) to two (2) hours.
  6. By the tenth day the seedlings will be tough enough to take the rigors of full sunlight and wind.
  7. Now you may safely plant your seedlings outside.

*Cold frame – a box with no bottom that has a hinged or removable clear or translucent top. The top may be opened or closed when the temperature outside is too cold or too warm. The box may be constructed out of  hay/straw bales, glass, poly carbonate, wood, etc.

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Question: Help! What do I do for peach tree borers?

Hi, my name is Kristina . I have a question concerning my peach tree. Last summer it got infected with borers (I was told these are a type of moth??). Anyway, the tree company I was with at the time couldn’t do anything about the borers since it wasn’t until late July early August that we saw the sap coming out of my tree. So I poured nematodes on the soil around my tree and in to the holes that were sapping. I did this 3 different times 3 weeks apart while I hung moth balls in a sock on the tree too. I am being told now by a new tree company that they don’t do pesticides for borers until June, since the borers aren’t active until then. My question is, what would you do for this peach tree? Should I just wait until June or can I be doing something more to help my tree that I don’t want to lose. Thanks
Here’s what you do! Spray the trunk of the peach tree with a strong solution of Neem Oil and water (3 tablespoons to the gallon of water and a little dish soap) Spray to the point of puddling around the trunk. The Neem Oil will either out right kill the worm or interrupt the worms life cycle, which will also kill the worm. You need to spray at 14 day intervals (twice) to be effective.
You will build up the immunity of the peach tree by spraying  and drenching the tree with seaweed emulsion (i.e. Maxicrop®), at one (1) tablespoon per gallon.
-Art