Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tip of the Week: Planning and Planting for Fall Harvest

The temperatures are high and the sweat beads up on your brow if you even think about your garden, but maybe planning for fall crops will help bring cooling thoughts!

Midsummer is the best time to start planting hardy vegetables for fall harvest. "Flavor-conscious gardeners will appreciate the exceptional quality of vegetables that ripen in the bright days and brisk nights of autumn. Vegetables that mature in the fall are typically milder and sweeter than those that mature in the heat of summer."-Dennis Worwood

Here are some of the recommended fall crops for our area:

  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Kale 
  • Radish 
  • Peas 
  • Turnip
For more information about correctly timing your seeding and transplants check out this Fact Sheet-"Planting Vegetables Midsummer for a Fall Harvest."

A gardeners work is never done, but it's always fun!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tip of the Week: Powdery Mildew

The Utah Pest team is just released their latest "Vegetable IPM Advisory" which included some great information about Powdery Mildew. This foliar disease is very common in our area, but can be easily avoided with some simple irrigation changes.

What to look for: 

"Cucurbit powdery mildew is showing up on vine crops, especially where plants are crowded or running together. This foliar disease first appears as small circular lesions located randomly on the leaf surface or on petioles. As the infection continues, leaves turn yellow and become distorted. 

Fruits are usually not directly affected, but yield and flavor can be reduced.This disease thrives in humid and shady environments under moderate temperatures (up to 80o F)." -Utah Pest Team

"Severe powdery mildew infection can result in yield loss.  Both powdery mildews cause damage to the plants by reducing photosynthesis.  Once the leaves are covered with white mycelium, they absorb less sunlight and are not able to produce enough sugars to sustain plant and fruit growth.  In addition, heavily infected leaves become necrotic (turn brown and die) and fall off, which can result in sunburn of fruit. " -Claudia Nischwitz, USU Plant Pathologist

Gardening Practices:
"Powdery mildew is favored by dew, intermittent rain, or sprinkler irrigation. Maintaining conditions that favor rapid drying of foliage will help reduce the incidence of disease. Susceptible flowers should be planted in open areas where they will not be crowded and where they are exposed to the sun. Plants in shade are more prone to mildew than those growing in the sun. Prune during the summer to thin out any dense foliage. This will increase aeration within the plant canopy. Avoid sprinkling at night during the month of August and September. Instead, soak the soil under plants as needed." -Utah Pest Team
Chemical Options:
If you find that a fungicide is necessary to control your outbreak, here are some suggestions from the Vegetable Advisory: 
  • Commercial growers: potassium bicarbonate (Kaligreen, Milstop), horticultural oil (Sporatec), sulfur (Cosavet, Kumulus, Microthiol Disperss), Bacillus subtilis (Serenade, Cease, Rhapsody)
  • Residential growers: horticultural oil (Monterey Garden Spray), sulfur (Bayer Natria, Bonide), myclobutanil (Spectracide Immunox).
  • Note: Do not use oil and sulfur within two weeks of each other, and do not spray when temperatures are over 90o F.

To read more click here

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tip of the Week: Cabbage Aphids

APHIDS. They suck. We all know they exist, but did you know there were so many different types? The one recently being reported on in the latest Utah Pest-Vegetable Advisory is the the CABBAGE APHID.

"Cabbage aphid are easy to identify as they have a white waxy coating. These aphids commonly occur in dense colonies, often covered with waxy droplets.

Aphid feeding causes a localized yellowing of the foliage, leaf cupping and stunting of smaller plants. They generally do not cause reductions in yield, but they tend to move deep into head-forming crucifers, thus making the harvested portion of the crop unmarketable." -Utah Pest Team

To manage the cabbage aphid, keep colonies of less than 100 aphids per plant up to heading. Check the youngest, highest and innermost leaves of young plants and pull back wrapper leaves of cabbage. Once heads begin to form you must control aphids! This can be achieved with an application of insecticidal soap. 

For more information on controlling cabbage aphids click here!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tip of the Week: Flea Beetles

There are two common species of flea beetles (the tobacco flea beetle and the western flea beetle) that are now actively feeding now on a variety of crops including: cabbage, radishes, eggplant, melons, peppers, potatoes, spinach, rutabagas, parsnips, collards, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, beets tomatoes and turnips.

"Adult beetles, which produce most plant injuries, chew many small holes or pits in the leaves which produces a characteristic injury known as 'shotholing'. Young plans and seedlings are particularly susceptible to this type of injury; growth may be seriously retarded and plants may even die."

To manage flea beetles in your yard, a foliar spray may be applied. "Since plants produce continuous new growth and the highly mobile beetles can rapidly re-invade, insecticides usually have to be reapplied after a week."-Utah Pest Advisory

Residential growers: carbaryl (Sevin), spinosad (Green Light, Monterey Garden Spray), neem oil and diatomaceous earth.

To read more on the tobacco and western flea beetles click HERE

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New 2014 Guide to Utah Vegetable Production by USU Extension

This new guide includes organic techniques as well as conventional. Make sure to check out the biological and mechanical control options when dealing with weeds and garden pests!

The best part it that it's FREE to download!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Meals Plus coverage on Good 4 Utah

One more clip from the MealsPlus launch yesterday!

Meals Plus Garden

Meals Plus Garden out at Wheeler Historic Farm
We have had some exciting local media coverage this week! USU Extension-Salt Lake has teamed up with SLCO-Aging Services to help provide fresh fruits and vegetables to home-bound seniors through a new program called MealsPlus. This program supplements the already nutritious meals provided to seniors thorough the Meals on Wheels program.

Many community partners are what make this program a big success. From USU Extension's commitment to maintaining a garden at Wheeler Historic Farm, to local commercial growers donating produce to volunteers helping package shares this is truly a community effort!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Should I soil test? Yes!

Every spring the Extension office fills with gardeners bringing in samples of their problematic garden soil asking to have it tested. While we don't have a lab here in Salt Lake, we can easily assist them with sending the sample to the Utah State University Analytical Lab in Logan. Soil test are important in helping gardeners understand their soil and the impacts soil has on plant growth and health. This can be of even more value to organic growers because starting with a healthy soil can help you avoid a lot of other issues that can arise later in the season (often requiring chemical fixes).

Sampling soil can be as easy as 1, 2 3:

STEP 1. Download the form:
STEP 2. Follow the instructions on how to collect your sample (on pg 2) and place 2 cups of soil in a ziplock bag. Next, place sample in a Priority Mail Flat Rate box addressed to USU Analytical Labs.

USU Analytical Labs
Soil Testing Lab
9400 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322

STEP 3. Fill out the form with your information, include a check or cashier check in the amount stated on the form and place it in the mail!

If you need assistance in interpreting your soil test results please see the fact sheet below or drop by and talk to your County Extension Agent.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Tip of the Week: Things to Consider When Using Organic Fertilizers.

Most fertilizers are labeled with a sequence of numbers detailing the percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphate (P2O5) and potash (K2O) they contain. For example, a complete inorganic fertilizer containing all three may be labeled 16-16-8, meaning it contains 16% nitrogen, 16% phosphate and 8% potash. 

Not all fertilizers are considered equal, especially when comparing inorganic and organic options. Some major things to remember when picking out an organic fertilizer are:
  • Organic fertilizers are not typically synthesized and available for immediate uptake by plants.
  • Organic fertilizers are usually dependent on microorganisms to break them down, so soil health and preparation are important.
  • Manure alone will not provide plants all the nutrients they need. Sometimes it takes an entire season before the nutrients in manure are available for plant uptake. Plus manures are often high in salts!
  • Most organic fertilizers have much lower analysis than the inorganic options so direct substitution is challenging. The amount of fertilizer you apply and how often you apply it will need to be correctly calculated!
For more information on:
How to pick out an ORGANIC fertilizer 
How to correctly calculate the application rate 
Average nutrient concentrations in organic materials 

Please visit this USU Extension FACTSHEET

For information on organic product availability and certification visit WWW.OMRI.ORG

Happy Gardening!