In this issue:
- April in the Garden
- Earth Month – What Can We Do?
- Gardenerd Tip of the Month: Tomato Troubles
- Gardenerd Product of the Month: New Custom Biologicals
1. April in the Garden
April means Earth Month and Earth Day. As gardenerds, Earth Day is everyday, right? We tend our soil for carbon sequestration. We grow food to reduce the use of chemicals in the world. We plant flowers to benefit pollinators. We compost waste back into garden soil. We close the loop of finite resources on this big beautiful planet.
In our test garden, we’re adding compost to beds as winter crops come out and spring crops go in. We’re transplanting tomatoes, and sowing seeds for bush beans. We’re harvesting artichokes, strawberries, lettuces, winter-grown carrots, and the last of the cabbage. Time to make room for squash, cucumbers, peppers and melons.
In this newsletter, we’re excited to announce a new line of biological products. We’ll also share more ways you can help Mother Earth, and answer a question about tomato blight.
2. Earth Month – What Can We Do?
Every April we share easy changes we can make to reduce our impact on the planet. In past years, it’s been “say no to bottled water” and “BYO shopping bag.” Here’s our list for 2017:
- Lose the Straw – Plastic straws end up in the ocean and in rivers. These one-time-use items pollute our waterways and harm sea wildlife. According to PlasticPollutionCoalition.org, we use 500-million straws a day. Yikes! Say “no straw please” when you order a drink and look for paper straw alternatives at home.
- Bring Your Own Mug – to your next party. Disposable cups (Red Solo, I’m talking to you) take 450 years to decompose, according to Metro Waste Authority. They can be washed in the dishwasher and reused over and over, too. They can be recycled if your municipality takes #6 plastic, but think of the energy it takes to do that. Instead, make “BYO Mug” a theme at your next party.
- Opt for a Digital Receipt – Nowadays many vendors offer to send you a receipt via email at checkout. Others ask if you want your receipt. Say “no thanks” to paper receipts. Most of us just throw them away when we get home anyway. Plus the paper that receipts are printed on is coated with BPA or BPS, both of which are endocrine disruptors. Digital receipts reduce paper use by 30% in most cases. Save trees, save yourselves.
3. Gardenerd Tip of the Month – Tomato Troubles
Tomatoes Gone Wrong – We received a question from Eric through Ask Gardenerd this week:
“Two years ago I had great tomatoes in my raised beds. But now my plants start out great, but then develop white splotches all over the leaves and stems. The leaves wither and drop off and no more fruit grows. I thought it might be mildew and used some organic fungicide. That seemed to contain the problem for a bit, but to keep ahead of the white spots I’d have to be pouring gallons of the stuff on the plants daily. What is the cause? What am I doing wrong?”
Eric, you’re right. That white powder is Powdery Mildew, which is prevalent in coastal gardens. Organic fungicides only work if you apply them prior to infestation. Here are our tips:
1) Rotate your crops each year.
2) Plant them in a location that gets good air circulation.
3) Use fungal dominant compost tea instead of fungicides. We’re experimenting with a product called Custom GP by Custom biologicals (see below). It’s a biological control with beneficial fungi that eat the powdery mildew. Your odds are better if you go with a biological control rather than a fungicide that wipes out the good with the bad.
4. Gardenerd Product of the Month – Coming Soon! Custom Biologicals
Gardenerd is excited to announce a new set of products in the Gardenerd Store. Custom Biologicals is a line of biological soil amendments that help increase the beneficial fungi and bacteria in your soil. BiotaMax, Custom B5, and Custom GP contain microbes that increase nutrient availability in soils, boosts moisture retention, and can help prevent diseases like blight and powdery mildew by balancing the Soil Food Web in your garden.
Custom Biologicals is perfect for those who don’t have time or room to brew fresh compost tea. It’s great for depleted or damaged soils that need some TLC.
We’re still building the web pages for these products, but we wanted to give you a heads-up for what’s coming soon!
Stay tuned for more tips and tidbits from Gardenerd.com. Happy Spring Gardening!
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