Thursday, May 12, 2011

Gardening Wisdom From Mike McGroarty


Several people have asked me why their seedlings
germinate, shoot up about 2" tall, then droop and fall
over. Usually this is caused by a fungal disease called
damping off. Damping off is caused by extremely humid
conditions and it attacks the seedlings right at or
above the soil level. The stem gets really thin and
weak right above the soil.
Seedlings need water, but they shouldn't be soaking wet
all the time. Use a light fluffy seedling mix that has
lots of perlite or vermiculite in the mix. This gives
the mix good drainage. Water your seedlings, then allow
the soil to dry and warm up a little before you water
Keep your seed flats in a warm place, 70 degrees F.,
and place a fan near the flat and blow some air across
the flat. This keeps the humidity lower and greatly
reduces the chances of damping off.

You don't have a problem with weeds do you?
When it comes to weeds everybody is looking for the
magic wand and often think the magic wand is on the
garden section. Is it? Or is it not?
One of the most popular weed control products on the
market is Preen. Does Preen work? Yes.
Does it work like magic with no work on your part?
Preen contains a pre-emergent herbicide which means
that it only controls weed seeds that have yet to
germinate. That's a good thing because that's why it's
safe to use around so many different plants. But it
does not have the ability to control any weeds that
are already up and growing in your garden. You have
to first get rid of those weeds completely, then
apply Preen or another product and then you can enjoy
weed free gardens all summer. Well, almost weed
free gardens. Gardening is not for the faint of heart
and it does involve some effort.

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