Leaves eaten last 2 years, what can I do this year? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-18-2011, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have had 3 growing seasons since we moved in here. The first year, we planted tomatoes and zucchinis and green beans, all grew great, great harvest. We planted the same stuff the following year, and things didn't go so well. The zucchinis leaves got eaten by something (leaving a skeleton, so I suspect some kind of bug, but I have never seen bugs around or on the plants. This killed most of the zucchini and bean plants. The tomato leaves were left untouched and the plants grew, but a number of the tomatoes had holes or rotting sections. That year was unusually wet so I blamed it on that and replanted the next year. The same thing happened again, even worse. We got maybe one zucchini and 3 edible tomatoes, no beans or bok choy. Same problem, the leaves on the zucchini and beans and bok choy were eaten, killing the plants. The tomato plants were fine, but most of the tomatoes had holes and went rotten. The raspberry bush did great, got lots of raspberries. The yard came with a mint plant spreading all over, they weren't affected, but the rosebushes that also came with the house were eaten almost clean off last year.

So, I do not want to plant this year if the same thing will happen. Does anyone have any ideas what this could be and what I could do to fix it? I don't understand why nothing happened the first year, then after that only problems.

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Old 02-21-2011, 10:44 AM
 
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earwigs, maybe cucumber beetles.  Have you added anything to the soil the last two years?  I would go to your local Ag extension office and get a box for a soil sample and see what your soil needs.  Sounds like the tomatoes are the least lacking calcium.  You can grind up egg shells to help with that and an aspirin when planting.  Here is a great article about amending soil for tomatoes: http://loveapplefarm.typepad.com/growbetterveggies/2008/05/how-i-plant-a-t.html

 

If it is earwigs you can put out a pie tin with beer in it, seems to work better than attracting slugs.  Dig down so the rim is at ground height so they walk right in.  You can check your plants after dark too with a flashlight and that might tell you if its slugs or earwigs too.

 

First I would amend your soil and maybe plant things differently so they aren't in the same place.  Putting a ring of DE at the base of your plants will help too. 


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Old 02-21-2011, 05:21 PM
 
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I can't guarantee this but the rotting tomatoes are probably blossom end rot.  There was a lot of that around here the last two years, because of lots of variations in Spring rain and dry spells.  My understanding is that shifts between wet and dry early on before there are any fruit will later affect the fruit this way.  Watering regularly during any Spring and early Summer dry spells can help.  (This is in combination with a need for calcium BTW)  I think also the earlier you plant the tomatoes the more likely you will see this.

 

Although you will almost never see anything eat tomato leaves, it is common for beans and squash. I think Farmer Cathy is on the right track with looking at the soil--insects go after stressed plants the most and a new garden often has a flush of nutrients the first year but can get depleted quickly if they aren't getting replenished as the plants use them.  Everything that makes your plants healthier will make them more resistant to insects and more able to recover from small amounts of insect damage as well. 


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Old 02-22-2011, 08:34 AM
 
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Kathy - I know the eggshell trick, but I've never heard of planting with aspirin. What does that do? Does it help with the calcium deficiency, too, or is it for something else?

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Old 02-22-2011, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the input everyone. I googled the Ag extension thing, looks like its US only. I can definitely do the eggshells, aspirin, extra watering, and use a flashlight to look for what kind of bugs. Planting in a different place is not really possible, since we live in a townhouse with an itty bitty fenced yard. With the huge maple in the neighbours yard plus the shade of the fence itself there isn't a lot of sunny room.

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Old 02-22-2011, 04:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen'nZoe View Post

Kathy - I know the eggshell trick, but I've never heard of planting with aspirin. What does that do? Does it help with the calcium deficiency, too, or is it for something else?


http://www.papillonsartpalace.com/aspirinforplants.htm

 

Here's the link about aspirin.  I thought it helped with calcium def., it helps more with diseases. 


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Old 02-23-2011, 08:09 AM
 
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Thanks for the information, Cathy! The study you linked to suggested that aspirin is helpful to some plants but not others - in the comments below, the gardeners seemed to be recommending spraying aspirin water on all your plants. Do you spray it on everything, or are there some plants you avoid?

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Old 02-23-2011, 02:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen'nZoe View Post

Thanks for the information, Cathy! The study you linked to suggested that aspirin is helpful to some plants but not others - in the comments below, the gardeners seemed to be recommending spraying aspirin water on all your plants. Do you spray it on everything, or are there some plants you avoid?



I don't use a spray, I just put it in the hole with the tomato plant with all the other crazy stuff that lady puts in.


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