Thursday, June 28, 2007

Suckers you say?

"When There Was Still Hope" ACEO can be bid on here.
Copyright Rita Woodburne

"Chocolate Grin" ACEO can be bid on here.
Copyright Rita Woodburne

That’s right, I’m back to talk about suckers and powdery mildew. I know you’re excited, dear reader, but try to contain yourself. Let’s start with suckers, shall we?

Tomatoes, while being fairly low maintenance, do need some minor tending and one of these things is the removal of suckers. These are the stems that grow out from in between the stalk of the plants and the fruit bearing stems. I’m pointing to one in the picture below:

They’re not something that will kill your tomato plant but they will hinder/ diminish fruit production of the plant and suck (hence the name “suckers”) the nutrients away from the parts of the plant that actually need them. To remove them simply grab them near the base and snap them off. Usually once they’ve been removed from one spot they won’t grow back in that area but keep an eye on your plant(s) to make sure that they don’t return and to remove any new oes that crop up as the plant gets bigger. Now is the time to remove them as most plants have begun flowering, if not already starting to set fruit, so to get the best possible yield you can make sure that the suckers are removed as soon as they start to form.

Now, onto powdery mildew...
This ailment affects many squash vegetable family plants (as well as roses) and the beginning stages of it can be seen below:

I honestly can’t remember if these are zucchini plants or a patty pan squash plants (both are summer squash) but I know that just about every year I have to deal with this on one or more plants. There are seed varieties that have been bred to be resistant to powdery mildew but they tend to cost more and, because I’ve dealt with this problem before, I don’t worry too much about it.
Powdery mildew can be caused by a few things such as consistent rain, heavy rains, excessively humid conditions, great temperature fluctuations or poor seed stock. In this case I suspect it’s due to the flip flopping of temperatures accompanied by a few days of heavy rain. I also suspect that it may have something to do with the seed stock since it’s only affecting these plants and my other crop of summer squash as well as my pumpkins** have been unaffected.

To treat powdery mildew you can pull out the big guns (ie-chemical sprays) or you can make up a concoction of ½ cup water and ½ cup milk, mix together in a spray bottle and spray directly on the leaves of the affected plant. Do this consistently until either the powdery mildew disappears (this will happen only if you catch the problem in time) or you see the development of new leaves that are free of powdery mildew. Try to do this either first thing in the morning or in the cooler evening hours and avoid applying it during the hotter mid-day hours.

**Worth noting: pumpkins are notorious for being affected by powdery mildew and in some cases this problem won’t show up until mid-end of July when fruit is beginning to set.

Now I know I said I was just limiting myself to two posts per week now that the insanely busy summer months are upon us, but I will be posting something on Saturday afternoon/ evening because Sunday is one of my favourite holidays...CANADA DAY!!! Yes, I wear my nationalism on my forehead.
So for all you Canucks, displaced Canucks and folks looking for a chuckle I’ll be posting a funny I received awhile back. It’s province related and while folks who have never lived in Canada or don’t follow current Canadian events might not “get it” I’m sure you’ll get a laugh out of it anyway.

Enjoy yer week-end ya hoser, eh?


Jennifer Rose said...

Which province? lol Have a great Canada Day!

Rita said...

You'll have to "tune in" to find out... ;)