Saturday, July 30, 2011

Killing Bermudagrass that invaded a strawberry patch

I sprayed my strawberry patch earlier today to rid it of invading Bermudagrass. Over the next three weeks the Bermudagrass will yellow and hopefully die. The product I used was Monterey’s Grass Getter containing Sethoxydim. Sethoxydim is available from numerous companies and sold under numerous brand names at your local nursery or garden center.

Bermudagrass on the left;  Nutsedge on the right.
 Sethoxydim can be sprayed over and near many vegetables as well as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, flowers, shrubs, and trees. There is a waiting period between spraying Sethoxydim and harvesting the fruit or vegetable and that information is given in the product brochure.

Another over-the-top spray contains Fluazifop P Butyl. Products containing this active ingredient is commonly used to take grasses out of flowers and shrubs. These products are labeled for some edible crops to include ornamental strawberries but not on strawberries you eat.

My strawberry patch has finished bearing for the year, so this was a good time to spray it to take out Bermudagrass. This patch also has some nutsedge. Sethoxydim will not kill nutsedge so I’ll have to pull this by hand. Bermudagrass is much harder to control by pulling due to its very extensive and deep root system. If you are an organic gardening you’re out of luck.

There is no organic product that works the way Sethoxydim does. To remove Bermudagrass out of an organic strawberry patch you will need to dig it out.

After the grass has died back, I’ll mow the strawberry patch and fertilize. The mowing will remove dead and dying leaves that will serve as a source for strawberry disease organisms for next year. I’ll set the height of cut to remove the leaves but not damage the crown of the plants. The nitrogen fertilizer will stimulate new leaves and buds for next year’s crop. These steps will ensure I have a great harvest again next year.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Shading your plants can increase vegetable production and quality

In those parts of the world where sun light is intense and air temperature is hot providing shade cover for your vegetables can increase yield and quality.

Kay Wheeler holds up a piece of floating row cover (insect barrier)
that can be used to shade plants.

A number of vegetables to include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and okra drop flower buds and young fruit when the plant’s temperature exceeds 32 degrees C. (90 degrees F.). These plants also may abort flower buds and fruit when evening air temperatures drop below 10 degrees C. (50 degrees F.). Shading the plants helps correct these problems.

Even when air temperature exceeds 32 degrees C. (90 degrees F.) shading the plants helps keep the plant below this critical temperature. When shade is provided it also helps retain night temperatures above the critical 10 degrees C. (50 degrees Fahrenheit).

Shade cloth, sheeting or even brush stuck into the ground on the south and west sides of these plants can be used. Shade cloth, sheeting or other fabrics should be suspended above the plants. This will permit insects to reach the blossoms for pollination. Brush pushed into the ground on the south and west sides of these plants will also provide the shade necessary to increase production. Shading also helps prevent sun burn on tomatoes, egg plant, okra and other vegetables improving the length of time they can be kept in storage.

Pepper fruit damaged by sunburn.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sevin Bait for grasshopper, slug, cutworm, and cricket control

Sevin insecticide bait for slugs, cutworms, grasshoppers and crickets

A commercially prepared dry 5% Sevin bait may be available at your local nursery or garden center.

For the best results the bait needs to be applied as follows:
• For slugs - apply in the evening
• For cutworms - apply in the evening
• For grasshoppers- apply in early morning
• For crickets - apply in the evening

If you are unable to locate this product or if you prefer to make your own, the following directions are provided.

Wet Bait – this should be prepared just prior to applying as it has a short shelf life.

     Wheat Bran (free of shorts) - 5 lbs.
     Sevin -
                 2 ½ fluid ounces of 27 % liquid or
                 12 oz of 50% wettable powder
     Water - 1 1/3 quarts
     Molasses - 6 oz
          Mix the insecticide and water together and apply over the bran; mix thoroughly.

  Dry Bait – Follow the above receipt substituting fuel oil or kerosene for water. This mix has a longer shelf   life than the wet formula. Do not store this where it may catch fire or self combust and burn down your house, garage or barn.