Posted on: August 14, 2019 | Written By: Doug Oster |
Everybody Gardens editor Doug Oster gets asked a lot of questions. A lot. And he doesn’t mind offering gardening advice. But rather than just limiting those answers to the person who asked, we thought it might be a good idea to share that wealth of knowledge with everybody.
There are three ways to send in your questions:
(The questions may be lightly edited for grammar/clarity/etc.)
Michael: I don’t know if you can help me, but for the last seven years or so, I’ve had no luck trying to grow tomatoes. Before that my tomatoes always did well. I’ve tried a copper additive and never water at night. Thank you for your time and any help you might have for me.
Doug: It looks like you have some fungal issues on your tomatoes. One is septoria leaf spot. These problems slow the plant down, but rarely kill it.
Here’s what I’m doing to deal with these types of things, especially during a wet year.
Always mulch the day the plant goes in the ground. It stops fungal spores from splashing up on the plant.
Choose disease-resistant varieties and grow lots of different types of tomatoes.
Stretch out the planting time by planting some of the tomatoes in late May and leave room to plant more. My last planting is July 4, believe it or not. Those plants don’t have fungal issues as they love the warm soil and air temperatures. The last planting is of ‘Early Girl,’ ‘Sungold,’ ‘Fourth of July’ and other fast maturing plants.
Serenade is a great organic fungicide that’s safe and really works (it’s available here). During a wet season, use it before you see the disease and after as well. Be sure to remove an infected foliage as it appears.
Marci: Do you know how to get rid of monkey grass? It’s growing in mulch areas and now going into the grass.
Doug: Monkey grass is also known as liriope. It’s a great garden plant if it’s growing where it’s not invading other parts of the garden. It’s almost impossible to get rid of. The best way I know is to dig it out at the roots. It won’t be easy, but you’ll get rid of it.
Patty: My sister just salvaged some daffodil bulbs from Easter that were in a pot outside. What’s her best bet for success?
Doug: First off, squeeze the bulbs to make sure they are firm. If they are dried out or mushy, they should go to the compost. If they are still firm, they can be planted now. I use a bulb auger, it’s a big drill bit that fits on any drill.
Ruth Ann: I planted this Beard-Tongue Red Rocks penstemon x Mexicali this year, and it is failing. While some stems are blooming, others have turned completely brown. Can you tell me what is wrong and what I can do to help it?
Doug: I’m guessing a leaf disease related to all the rain we’ve had. Take a look at this information see if any of these look like what’s happening and let me know what you think.
Janet: Could you tell me the best organic weed killer to buy and where to buy it? My neighbor’s weeds are overtaking me and I want only organic.
Doug: I like one called Avenger. You should be able to find it at your local nursery. If not, you can find it here.