Vegetable Garden Troubleshooting: Part III

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I noticed several more questions in the comments, which were enough for another troubleshooting post.  Sometimes I know the answer from experience, other times I do research.  I love learning new things about the garden, so this is always something I enjoy.  Feel free to share your own experiences in the comments, especially if they differ from mine.

Why do some cucumbers grow a massive curl while others grow straight? Will my cucs grow on a trellis?

I too had this happen this year, and wondered why. It appears the most common reason is poor pollination, which makes sense, since some of the cucumbers are straight and some were crooked. This year was so hot and dry, which did effect pollination. I did find a nice garden tool online while looking for this answer that was very helpful. It’s a problem solver for plants:

http://www.extension.umn.edu/gardeninfo/diagnostics/index.html

I’ve grown my cucumbers on a trellis for years and I wouldn’t grow them any other way. It saves room in my raised bed, and makes it easier to harvest the cucumbers. I use a piece of heavy duty fencing that you can see below, but any sturdy trellis will work. There are some really nice trellis kits available. When they first start to vine I give them a little help by threading the stems through the fence, but after that they do it on their own. The first year we moved to the country I grew them on the ground and couldn’t believe how messy they became and how much space it used. After that I grew them at the base of a fence or trellis.

I use a watercan to water my vegetables. How can I prevent the leaves from getting burned when i put fertalize in my watercan? Is there a good method to get at the roots where the fertalizer is needed during the growing season?

If you’re using a watering can, it’s easy to control where you water. Water at the soil level but not right against the stem of the plants. An inch or two away will still get the water and fertilizer where it needs to go. Getting at the roots is easier if the soil isn’t compacted or too dry, which will cause it to run off rather than soak the soil.  Any fertilizer can burn plants, sometimes with a delayed reaction. Evenorganic fertilizers
can burn if not used properly. Make sure you are following the directions on how often to use, and mixing it properly. Using more than called for or making it too strong can often can burn the plant. Never apply directly to the foliage or the stem of the plants. Some fertilizers will instruct to follow up with a good watering, so make sure that’s done too.

Are ants on Chinese red pole beans ok? They are everywhere and aim not sure they are good or not. I know ants help peonies bloom do they do the same for some pole beans? I have regular pole beans right next to the reds and they do not have the ants. Should I be concerned?

Ants are attracted to sweet substances, which explains why they love peonies. It appears that may be the case with the Chinese long beans as well, and I’ve noticed some gardeners complain of damage, but others say they don’t notice any difference. It seems this mainly happens with the Chinese pole beans, not the regular variety bean.

Many times ants are attracted by aphids, which are very tiny insects that group in large numbers and suck at the foliage, causing damage. They secrete a sweet substance which attracts ants. There really isn’t a chemical method of getting rid of ants in the garden that is safe around plants, but there is a home remedy that may work. Ants don’t like to cross talcom powder (It should say talc in the ingredient list on the container instead of cornstarch.) and it’s inexpensive to use. Run a fairly thick line around the bean plant and see if it helps. Before doing this you’ll need to try and spray down the plant to get rid of as many as you can.  The powder will need to be replaced after a rain or watering, but it’s worth a try.

If the ants don’t seem to be hurting your plant, and you don’t see groups of tiny black insects (pin head size) on the foliage, it may be fine, and nothing to worry about at this point.

Helpful Links:

-Organic Fish and Seaweed Fertilizer

-French Watering Can

-Expandable Willow Trellis

-Large Cucumber Trellis

-“Cucumber and Pea Trellis Kit”

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