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Even with care preparation, tomatoes still need lots of care.
July 07, 2006
By Howard Garrett


QUESTION: An elderly friend is having trouble with his tomato plants, which are dying from the bottom. They are brown and dry up to about 3 feet, but they seem to be OK from there up. Also, the top part that looks alive is not producing fruit, but the brown area is. I suspect he did not prepare the soil properly, but he is very proud of the manure he treated the beds with. Could the hot, dry weather have anything to do with it? J.S., Dallas

ANSWER: He may have planted a less-than-adapted variety, but, even with good choices, gardeners fight blight diseases that attack tomato plants' lower leaves.  Bed preparation with compost and volcanic sand is critical, and I have found that adding horticultural cornmeal is helpful. Spraying the foliage with cornmeal juice also is beneficial. Adding cornmeal juice to compost tea or my Garrett Juice mix provides foliar feeding and disease control.


QUESTION: The leaves on my okra plants look as if something is eating them. Would garlic-pepper spray help, or soap suds? Something also is eating a hole in my cherry tomatoes, but the leaves appear to be fine. J.P., Little Elm

ANSWER: Garlic-pepper tea is a good insect repellent, but you may have caterpillars. They are active at night, so go out then with a flashlight to look for them. If that is your pest, a Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) product should take care of the problem on both plants.  Next year, release trichogramma wasps shortly after planting to control caterpillars.


QUESTION: I've read your articles about boric acid for control of termites, carpenter ants, etc. We will be adding a room to our house soon, and I want to use boric acid in the walls and under the flooring. But I don't know how much to use. N.P., Goldthwaite

ANSWER: Boric acid mixed with natural diatomaceous earth should be dusted lightly into wall cavities and behind appliances. I use a mixture of about 90 percent diatomaceous earth and 10 percent boric acid.  Another method is to have a pest-control company spray a borate product on the bare wood before it is covered by construction. This procedure also can be used on the undersides of floors in pier-and-beam houses.


QUESTION: Last fall, I applied too much manure to my garden, and you recommended that I add zeolite as a corrective measure. I followed your suggestion and now have wonderful tomatoes, squash, onions and greens. However, my pole beans are a problem. Many died at the two-leaf stage. Those that survived have small, cupped, leathery and corrugated leaves; the runners have almost no leaves.  My okra was suffering but seems to have overcome the problem. I plan to plant black-eyed peas where the beans are. P.H., Ponder

ANSWER: You might try drenching the root zones of the problem plants with Garrett Juice with one extra ingredient. Soak some zeolite in water and pour the milky liquid onto the soil around the plants. This will make the zeolite even more effective.


QUESTION:
I frequently see ads for Canada Green grass seed on television. Is it a viable product for shady yards in North Texas? S.A., Dallas

ANSWER: Buy grass and seed from local garden centers and grass companies. Many advertising claims are exaggerated.

 
Archive

   01 Howard Garrett Newsletter Organic Fly Control Final TEST
   A burning question on lawns
   A Monster's Growing Under Our Deck!
   About oak sprouts
   After exposing tree’s root flare, leave it alone
   Ailing from harsh summer, crabapple needs treatment
   Amount of tilling, not method, is what matters.
   An organic option to control the fleas
   An unwelcome bug is eating ornamental plants
   Antique, container roses are sweeter
   Any way to help heal injured tree?
   Apple and pear trees need little pruning
   Are gnats hanging out on your houseplants? There's hope
   Are mushrooms bad for my yard?
   Are tree galls troublesome?
   Asps won't hurt plants 9-01-2006
   Attracting Birds To The Garden, Composting, Sprayers
   Azalea beds may be incorrectly done
   Baby talc marches against ants
   Bag the worm problem to save tree
   Bald cypress roots expose themselves.
   Bamboo, the imperialist threat
   Bees like these plants.
 
 
 
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