Gardening isn’t only for the Summer! Take a look at this introduction to fall food gardening.
Professionals in the landscape and greenhouse industry, trained horticulturists, and Master Gardeners often use the term “abiotic disorder” when diagnosing a plant problem. To the layman, this can be very confusing. To add to the confusion, signs and symptoms you see on your plants can look very similar to the damage caused by insects and diseases.
Surprisingly enough, the vast majority of plant problems are not caused by insect pests or diseases. Typically, the first thought that comes to mind when a plant is looking “ill” is that some insect or fungus has attacked it without much thought that it could be something else.
Abiotic problems, which are nonliving and not caused by a pathogen or pest, can be challenging to diagnose. Site conditions, soil, weather, planting, and watering techniques are examples of things that need to be considered, but there are many more. Sometimes decline can begin immediately after planting. Proper planting is critical to give nursery plants the best possible start right from the beginning. Once plants begin to decline it is difficult to bring them back to healthy, thriving specimens. Many people don’t notice the slow demise and contact us when it looks like their plant died overnight.
On the Home & Garden Information Center (HGIC) website, abiotic problems are referred to as “Cultural and Environmental” problems and can be found under the “Learn” section or listed under “Common Problems“ in the plant-related sections. The following are some common examples that cause serious plant issues. There are many more.
By Debra Ricigliano, Lead Horticulturalist, University of Maryland Extension Home and Garden Information Center
For this month’s post I was going to write about tomato successes and failures, but the latter part of tomato season has been depressing, so I’ll put that off and cover peppers instead. 2018 has been Grow It Eat It’s Year of the Pepper, and on the whole I think we chose well! My own pepper beds have been plagued by some of the same fungal diseases that are taking out my tomato plants, but our Derwood Demo Garden beds are beautiful and productive. All the peppers there are growing in raised beds, which in my experience peppers really seem to prefer – maybe it’s the extra room in loose soil for their roots, or the slight warming effect in the early part of the season, or the excellent drainage. In any case, they’re thriving. Read More
Do you have garden envy? Do you think seasoned gardeners have perfect looking gardens every year? Think again!
Thanks to my daughter-in-law, Lauren, I’ve become aware of so many things novice gardeners are unaware of. Each year brings different weather patterns and new garden challenges, but some perceived challenges sometimes just need a different perspective.
My daughter-in-law sent me these photos wanting to know why her tomatoes were growing together and not separate. And why weren’t they turning red?
My first thought was, why not leave it on the vine and see what happens? But legitimate questions deserve answers and she honestly wanted to know if she was doing something wrong so she could change her practices. Read More
It seems like ages ago, but during late spring and early summer we were in the midst of a long dry spell–and then things changed! It seems once the rain started it hardly ever stopped during late July and early August and all of this rain created its own set of problems. In particular, summer annual weeds and sedges were given new life with all of the wet conditions. For many homeowners, it has been a difficult summer keeping weeds like crabgrass, Japanese stiltgrass, kyllinga, and nutsedge at bay during the wet, humid weather. Even folks who had applied a second application of pre-emergent herbicide in late spring were seeing that product break down more rapidly with the inordinate amounts of rain the region experienced.
University of Maryland (UMD) research (and others) has indicated that the best way to deter crabgrass is to mow higher. Experiment plots mowed in the 3½-4” range have consistently had less crabgrass invasion than plots mowed at 2” or 3”. While this late summer weather has led to a lot of crabgrass and sedge invasion, homeowners can take solace in the fact that relief is in sight as far as the calendar is concerned. Late August/early September is the perfect time of year to re-seed with cool-season grasses like tall fescue to undertake a full-scale renovation or a lawn “rejuvenation.” Read More