Whiteflies on Tomatoes

It sounds as if you have whiteflies, which often show up late summer or early fall. They multiply rapidly when temperatures are warm, but will die off as cold approaches. They such the juices out of foliage, leaving behind tiny yellow spots, called stippling, which can weaken the plant. The best way to keep whiteflies at bay is to start early. Next year, monitor your plants carefully and when you first notice the whiteflies, start the following control methods. You can still apply these methods this year, as well.

Start with the simplest method first, and if that isn't successful, move on from there. A strong blast of water from the hose often works. Spray underneath leaves where the whiteflies tend to cluster. Do this daily if you notice insects.

Whiteflies are attracted to the color yellow. You can purchase or make yellow "sticky" traps from yellow cardboard smeared with petroleum jelly. They fly to it and get stuck.

Soapy water sprays are another possibility. Use 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of liquid soap per gallon of water. Use regular, not concentrated soap. Don't use soaps with lemon, as the citric acid can burn plants. Start with the lower amount and work up as needed. Spray as often as needed. As with any spray you might wish to test it on a few leaves first before you treat all your plants. Spray early in the morning before the sun heats up.

Next on my list would be an insecticidal soap spray. The insecticidal soaps are made from plant-derived fatty acids and target soft-bodied insects. Unfortunately, there's really no way you can target the bad guys without at least some effect on the good guys. If you can regularly monitor and tolerate some damage to your plants, over time Mother Nature strikes a balance, with the beneficials coming in to control the bad guys. Healthy, vigorous plants will withstand insect attacks better than weakly growing ones.


Fertilize Sweet Corn

When sweet corn plants are about one foot tall, it's time to hill them. Mounding the soil around the plants or "hilling" helps support the stalk and prevents them from blowing over, especially during summer storms.

Image Credit: http://www.charyproduce.com


Peppers Spoil Before Ripening

It sounds like there may be some cultural problems with the peppers, as well as a bacterial soft rot. Peppers need a long, warm growing season to mature. If yours are not maturing by the end of summer you need to either find a shorter season variety, or help them along by enhancing the heat in the garden. Try using a dark colored mulch to absorb heat during the daytime and radiate it back toward the plants at night (black plastic will work). Make sure the plants are receiving 8-10 hours of direct sunlight earh day. Peppers have shallow roots, so make sure the plants get ample water during the growing season.To guard against bacterial soft rot, avoid overcrowding of plants, try not to water from above, and promply remove infected plant material and debris from the garden.


Pruning New Canes On Brambles

In general, branched canes that have borne fruit already can be cut out once the berries have been picked. Any dead canes should also be pruned out. Then thin the plants leaving only the biggest new canes. They will be the most productive next year. Try to end up with about 6 or 8 canes per clump with the canes spaced about 6 inches apart.

You might also refer to the diagrams at the following website because different types of brambles (blackberries, raspberries, etc.) require different methods of pruning for optimum production. http://muextension.missouri.edu/xplor/agguides/hort/g06000.htm Finally, no matter which kind(s) you are growing, be sure to remove and destroy the prunings when you are done.


Big Mushrooms

I found them under the pine tree in our front yard. Are they safe to eat?

Don't worry I didn't picked them.

I leave them alone, but they sure look appetizing.


A lot of them...