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 Post subject: yellow tomato leaves
PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2004 6:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:19 pm
Posts: 29
Am I the only person that is not having organic success? I planted 3 tomato plants in clay containers this year as the ones I planted in the ground last year didn't do well. One of them has leaves at the bottom that are turning yellow, which I believe Howard calls early blight. They were planted in organic soil and I put some horticultural cornmeal in a couple of weeks ago.

I am getting pretty discouraged with trying to use organics. My standard rose is completely ravaged with black spot and nothing seems to work. I have also added cornmeal to the soil in that pot and am soaking some cornmeal in water and will do a foliar spray tomorrow. I have aphids this year that out completely out of control and mildew on my crepe myrtles for the first time. I know this all sounds like my soil must be rotten, but I can't figure out why. I have added organic compost and am getting ready to mulch. Am still fighting fire ants this year, although I am hoping that I am not imaging that they are dimenishing.

Can anyone tell me where to get my soil tested before I cover my entire lot with concrete?

Thanks
Sandra


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2004 10:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 11:32 pm
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Location: West Central Texas
Here is a link to the soils testing service which I believe hg usually recommends:

http://www.txplant-soillab.com/

-- willperk


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 Post subject: tomatoes
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2004 6:14 am 
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Thanks Will


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2004 8:32 am 
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Sandra,

Don't give up. Maybe we can take it one at a time...I'm willing if you are. First, your tomatoes; is it just the bottom few leaves that are turning yellow or does it seem to be spreading? How do you water them; by hand at the base of the plant or does a sprinkler hit them and how often do you water?

Roses..in my opinion, most blackspot problems are caused by the way the plants are watered. Do you had water at the base or do you have an automatic sprinkler system that may hit them? Also, when we had a lot of rain were they in an area where they got splashed on by water hitting the ground first and then hitting the leaves?

Lastly, how long have you been organic? It's been over 5 years for me and this spring I had a lot of aphids on my antique roses, I didn't do a thing and within a couple of weeks they were totally gone. My point is that if you can get the fungus issue resolved and the plants can get healthy then I think the aphid problem will take care of itself with beneficial bugs.

Let me know your thoughts...

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Sandi
Texas Certified Nursery Professional
Texas Master Naturalist
Organic gardener
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 Post subject: tomatoes
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2004 9:48 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:19 pm
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Sandi - thank so much for your reply. I feel pretty overwhelmed right now. I water the dirt or base of my tomatoes and do it early in the day, so that any water that might get on the leaves will evaporate. Same with my rose, which is a standard in a pot. I repotted the rose this year as it almost bit the dust last year when I was gone for a while. I really believed it was dead, but watered it and pruned it excessively and it has survived, but has never been the same. When I repotted it this spring, I put some banana peel in the pot with it to try and give it a potassium boost. I wish I felt better about knowing what I am doing, but instructions beyond the basic are very confusing to me. It would really help to know a step by step process. I printed a plan that I found on this website which is for my lawn and will follow that, but the rest of this stuff is hit and miss for me.

This is the first year I have had aphids and they are rampant. I have had them all spring and cannot seem to get rid of them. I know my soil isn't healthy cause when I dig to plant anything, there are very few earthworms. I have sprayed the plants that are aphid ridden and put out ladybugs, but nothing is working so far. I am going to use a cornmeal, compost tea, molasses and seaweed mixture this evening and see if that helps ( I put cornmeal in the soil of the pot about 3 weeks ago). I keep threatening to toss the entire plant, but can't make myself do it yet. One positive is that the rose doesn't seem to have thrips LOL.

Anyway, any advice you might have would be greatly appreciated. I just started organics last fall and am not a happy camper right now.

Sandra


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2004 5:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2003 8:39 pm
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Location: Lavon,Texas
spltx,
As was reported on this forum earlier. 'Organics is not a race but rather an adventure'. Like sandih stated, you will not see results overnight. It takes a while for you to see the results from being organic. It is a slow process but a very important and worthwhile process. Once your soil is built up, you will begin to see the difference. You will wonder while you didn't start the organic process before. Believe us when we say that it takes a while to see the results. You will, just be patient. My garden looks a whole lot better this year then last year. I started with hard black clay that I could not till last year, and now I have softer healthier soil that I see worms and lady bugs. The plants look so much healthier and are growing faster and bigger. All I did was try to till in compost, no luck, so I put the compost along with molasses, corn meal and humate on the top. This spring I had a beautiful cover crop of weeds which I was able to till in. I planted the garden, placed newspaper down, watered it and put a thich layer of cut grass clippings down as mulch. In just one year I have seen a vast improvement. As time goes on, the soil will continue to inprove and I will have more worms and less destructive bugs. The same goes for you. Just keep up the organic process and you will see the same results as I have. Remember that you have to re-build your soil from many years of the nasty chemicals.

I hope this helps. I was like you and expected immediate results from converting to organics. The magic just takes a while. But it does happen.

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Greg...
Converting one person at a time to Organics, the only way to go!! [ ME ]


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 Post subject: tomatoes
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2004 6:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:19 pm
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Thanks for the encouragement Greg. I'm obviously expecting too much too soon, so back to it for me.
Sandra


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2004 6:49 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 4:52 pm
Posts: 147
Location: Dallas,TEXAS
It is something to see your "babies" decimated by bugs, isn't it? There are good organic insect repellents - and then, we humans do have the ability to hand-pick off the caterpillars. But, as with the soil, organic pest control takes time.
I have been gardening organic for almost two decades now, and it is only in the last 5 years or so that I think the bug "problem" has started to balance out. I don't think that I will ever be completely free from destructive bugs, but I now have a large number of little lizards who are fat, happy, and reproducing mightily...and between two chickens and the birds I have tempted to set up housekeeping here are keeping the slugs and beetles down.
I did have a horrific infestation of nasty little black bugs a couple of weeks ago who appeared right after a rain and they destroyed my Oenthera that were blooming mightily, leaving a very ratty-looking border. But, since these flowers are native Texas wildflowers, they are really tough, and I know that the leaf-eating cycle of bugs lasts only so long, I cut back the ratty stems and now the plants are greening up and getting ready to bloom again, thicker than ever.
By maintaining a healthy, poison free ecosystem in your plants, you can avert the devastation of a crop by bugs, you can make the place safer for Nature's bug-eaters, and you provide an environment for the beneficial bugs to do their job of eating the destructive ones.
I heard a wonderful saying once - "Gardening is a process of trowel and error". Nothing I have planted has ever turned out as I envisioned it, but it has always been fun, therapeutic, and I am so glad that I can feel healthier after digging in the dirt, and feeling cleaner, even with brown fingernails and black lines of mud all over my arms and legs!
Hang in there. Enjoy the process. I have learned that there is no such thing as a Final Result in my garden!


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 Post subject: tomatoes
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 9:08 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:19 pm
Posts: 29
Thanks for much for your reply and yes, it is very hard to watch something that I have had for a few years and that has been beautiful look like it is at death's door. Used the cornmeal milk, etc. spray this morning. My sprayer shot a blast of liquid and when I checked, the screen was missing so I used a small hand pump and am pretty sure my arm is crippled for life. Went after the aphids again. If this doesn't do it, I am naming them and training them - might as well get something out of it.

I am so encouraged, hearing from people that haven't had instant success - keeps me hopeful. Got my attitude adjusted and am back on track (until I see the next disaster LOL)

Sandra


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 10:19 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2003 11:12 am
Posts: 46
Location: lewisville,tx
can i use corn gluten meal to make juice for spray for blight with th same results?


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 Post subject: tomatoes
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 11:35 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:19 pm
Posts: 29
Oh Mike, I hope you aren't asking me for advice about blight, I can't even get rid of aphids. Here is the information I found by Garrett on blight. Don't know if it will work as I haven't tried it yet.

"Tomato plants and other gardening crops are relatively easy to maintain if you follow a few basic rules. One of the most common problems tomato growers have is a disease. There is an organic cure and part of that cure starts with the soil improvement. Let's start our management of healthy, productive tomatoes right now.

As tomato plants grow, they have relatively few problems but when they get some age the lower leaves start to turn yellow and the discoloration moves quickly up the plant and causes leaves to drop. Incorrectly identified as spider mites, this is a disease that most experts call early blight. Even if I recommended chemical pesticides, it wouldn't matter. They won't work on this disease. What will work is healthy beds prepared with the addition of cornmeal and a spray of Garrett Juice which can be made at home per myformula or store bought. Other disease fighting ingredients that can be added to the foliar spray include skim milk at 1 cup per gallon and potassium bicarbonate at 1 rounded tablespoon per gallon. Another important part of the disease control program is to mulch the bare soil with shredded native cedar. Make sure the plants are inn full sun and don't overwater."

I don't know if he means spray the beds before you plant or spray the plants if they get the disease. Anyway, by the time you realize you have the problem, it is too late to "prepare the beds", but a word to the wise for the next planting, I guess.

Please pardon any typos. Hope this helps. I don't know if I have blight or if I have watered too much. Jury is still out.

Good luck


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 4:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2003 10:35 am
Posts: 94
Location: houston, tx
Sandra,

I am by no means the expert around here, but have learned that many times you have to take the advice given here along with the published material and just try it. Even when a plant is suffering, I have learned they can recoup.

One day at a nursery I was in line in front of a woman that had picked out the most sickly looking plants you can imagine. She said that she enjoys buying the sick ones and making them healthy! I thought WOW.

I would try the following on your tomatoes....take a little cornmeal and sprinkle at the base of each one, stir in and lightly water. Make a batch of potassium bicarbonate (1 tablespoon to one gallon) and mist the plants. I don't know if you are supposed to do this, but I pluck the bad looking leaves from my tomato plants (makes me happy). Then in a few days I would start spraying every week with Garrett Juice. Treat it like a learning experience--you might end up patting yourself on the back. - Susan

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"Life ain't in holding a good hand, but playing a good hand well." - William Smeathers


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 Post subject: tomatoes
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 4:37 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:19 pm
Posts: 29
AH!!! Now this is the kind of advice I REALLY like, Susan. Whether or not it works, it at least is something I can understand without having to know how many square feet are in the universe LOL. I did the cornmeal application about 2 weeks ago and will DEFINITELY do the other things. I used to fertilize my potted plants once a week with Miracle Grow (before I got organic religion) and LOVED it until I read what it was doing to the soil and ground water. A schedule really works for me and makes me feel secure (must be something from my youth), so the once a week Garrett juice is just my idea of a good time (I'm easily entertained, according to my husband). I'm with you on the leaves. I spent about 30 to 45 minutes this morning picking black spot leaves off my rose wondering why I was doing it, but not stopping.

So thanks again Susan, will let you know the results.
Sandra


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 8:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2003 10:35 am
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Location: houston, tx
Oh :D I'm so excited! You liked my advice and I'm not an expert!! On a very serious note though, my tomatoes last year were just really unbelievable and I truly believe the Garrett Juice spray each week (early morning) was the reason. Please do let me know how things turn out and if things don't work out --don't give up! -Susan

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"Life ain't in holding a good hand, but playing a good hand well." - William Smeathers


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2004 8:45 am 
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Location: Dallas,TEXAS
I looked back through all of the responses and didn't see any that asked you for anything complicated, like the square feet of the universe. You got a lot of good, easy to follow help.

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Sandi
Texas Certified Nursery Professional
Texas Master Naturalist
Organic gardener
Tree-Hugger
Native Texan


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