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CANOPY SAM

Ever use a fungacide?

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I've been working the same ground for about 5 years now, and there are a few patches of dirt I'm afraid contain some sort of fungus.

Last year I had a whole 30 foot lush thick row of Tendersweet carrots just die off mid season. That's a couple hundred bucks out of our production sales for the year. The year before, in that same spot, we lost an entire row of beautiful yellow onions. Again, money lost.

The odd thing is, the plants will be doing absolutely great until around mid-summer, then out of the blue they tip over and die. ALL of em'. That's why I'm thinking soil based fungus...ie. reaching the optimal temp and humidity conditions then blooming and killing plants.

We've also had a little trouble with fungus in our sweet corn (smut?), and some rust in our tomatoes and potatoes.

I'm wondering if I should work in a granular fungicide this spring prior to planting? Has anyone here ever done this, or know anything about it? I've used a handful of insecticides, but never a fungicide.

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Tough to tell what you're dealing with there Sam without actually seeing it. You might want to consider sending a sample in if this occurs again to the Plant Diagnostic Lab at the U of M's St. Paul campus. Feel free to PM me if you need the address. Off the top of my head, I can't think of many organisms that commonly attack both carrots and onions other than grubs perhaps. Are you up in that Teef Riffer area in some pretty heavy soils? Sounds suspiciously more bacterial than fungal too but that's just me. Not much that a soil applied fungicide will do for corn smut either. That one is more dependent on susceptibility and sometimes physical injury of the plant in addition to having proper conditions for development. Planting varieties that are more resistant and removal of crop residue can help.

A true "rust" on tomatoes or potatoes I'm not familiar with. Wondering if you're talking about one of the numerous fungal or bacterial leaf blights common to both?

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Yea, I think you're right Dotch. Blight is more likely the problem in the potatoes and tomatoes. Is there a treatment for blight?

Had one big beautiful tomato plant last year, just before putting on fruit, one day it was lush and green, the next the whole plant was dieing, a few days later the whole dead plant was almost completely white. All 30 of the plants right next to this one were fine, and produced thousands of pounds of tomatoes. Suppose some sort of insect infection might have been introduced to the one plant?

Have been planting smut resistant sweet corn, but still have it show up randomly in a few plants. That's due to damage to the plant, or fruit itself, huh? I always thought it was a fungus found in the soil, but I did know that eliminating infected plants was key to eliminating it for the most part.

Yea, the carrot and onion thing really has me scratching my head. Maybe it's bacterial, but how it uniformly wiped out just this row of plants is beyond me. Two years ago, again, a big lush green row of gorgeous onions one day, all the plants wilted and dead the next. Another nearby row went untouched. Same thing with carrots last year. Thick lush growth of perfect tendersweet carrots wiped out in only a few days, while another nearby row went completely untouched. Weird. I was thinking maybe the onions got hit with some kind of over-spray from a nearby farmer until the carrots did exactly the same thing, in approx. the same spot the next year.

I can contact our local soil conservation folks here in TRF and see what they say. I just can't help but think maybe I could solve some of these issues with a stout granular soil application of fungicide?

We're so lucky with soil. We own 9 acres of land just south of town surrounded by the river. The gardens are down in the "bottom" land. The soil is really silt rich and loamy. It drains well, and has little, if any clay in it. I did add a full truckload of old rotted manure last spring to fluff it up a bit. It tends to pack down a bit after several heavy summer rains, but I keep it well cultivated so it's not a huge problem. Our annual production of fruit and veggies is a testament to really nutrient rich soil.

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I've been working the same ground for about 5 years now, and there are a few patches of dirt I'm afraid contain some sort of fungus.

Last year I had a whole 30 foot lush thick row of Tendersweet carrots just die off mid season. That's a couple hundred bucks out of our production sales for the year. The year before, in that same spot, we lost an entire row of beautiful yellow onions. Again, money lost.

The odd thing is, the plants will be doing absolutely great until around mid-summer, then out of the blue they tip over and die. ALL of em'. That's why I'm thinking soil based fungus...ie. reaching the optimal temp and humidity conditions then blooming and killing plants.

We've also had a little trouble with fungus in our sweet corn (smut?), and some rust in our tomatoes and potatoes.

I'm wondering if I should work in a granular fungicide this spring prior to planting? Has anyone here ever done this, or know anything about it? I've used a handful of insecticides, but never a fungicide.

While it could be a lot of things... And/or just as likely two things happening at once...

My guess is that somewhere in the mix you've got Early Blight living in that patch of soil.

On the tomatoes does it start out as little spots on the oldest and lowest leaves?

(This is a telltale sign of Early Blight)

In the long term, crop rotation is key... You'll have to keep all pepper, tomatoes, onions, cucbumbers and potatoes out of growing in that soil for AT LEAST one year... two would be wiser!

wink

Try to plant something there that Early Blight doesn't like... I think snap peas and Beans are immune to it...

Then this fall till up that section and burn your leaves there...

Rinse and repeat the crop rotation and burn out.

Early blight tends to come in as a spore on the wind in hot and humid conditions and then when the foliage falls from the plant it gets into the soil and lives there breeding and expanding... So when you plant the next year, it comes out of the soil into the plant and the lifecycle expands.

Two summers ago we had that super thick crazy humid spree for several weeks... PERFECT early blight weather... And it spread like crazy and took hold in a lot of new places.

About the best fungacide you can find that isn't crazy toxic would be the Organic forms of Copper Sulfate. (It's spendy even in small doses) You mix in a light amount into the water of a garden sprayer (It will come with express directions) and then you spray the foliage about two weeks BEFORE the first usual signs of Early Blight.

Usually when you see the strawberries in full flower, with the first little green berries forming... the conditions in soil temps and humidity are just about right for the Early Blight to start. If you're picking Red Ripe Strawberries, you're already behind the 8-ball.

Copper Sulfate has the same problem as Diatomacious (Sp?) Earth in that every time it rains, you have to reapply.

(read the directions for full understanding)

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Boy Nainoa, you're really good at this stuff. Your knowledge with these issues is really valuable. Thank you very much! You too Dotch!

I don't pay that much attention to the really finer points of vegetable gardening. I plant in bulk, cultivate in bulk, and harvest in bulk.

Drives my wife crazy, but for some reason I just gotta do everything super big! She tells me every spring, "Don't plant so much stuff". I just love growing tons of fruits, berries and veggies. If we don't eat it, or sell it, I happily give it away to family, friends, and neighbors.

I've been trying to stay away from chemical applications, but on this moderately large, broad variety scale, I guess I'm going to have to learn more about chemical applications, and soil testing, to save our produce.

I'm planning to install a system of irrigation taking advantage of our river water this spring. This mineral and nutrient rich water I know will be good for our plants, but I imagine it will also bring a new set of potential problems with nearby ag runoff, etc.?

I sure hope you guys don't mind me asking you all sorts of questions prior to, and during our planting season. I really appreciate all your help.

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No Problem... There's always something to learn... I'm the kind of guy who learned best through experience and by thinking for myself.

So I tend to do a lot of "Biting off more than I can Chew" with everything I do... Sure some of it fails... Falls down and goes boom... And there's always another challenge looming in the wings... But I've learned if you don't challenge your limits then you're limiting your challenges... And no body ever comes to the end of their life and on their death bed says "Geez! I wish I would have sat around on my butt watching more TV!"

I've been on a constant learning curve over the last 10 years to be able to live completely off the land (Should I need to) and then the grocery store is there for variety or unique things I can grow or hunt myself.

My Mother's family was/is wilderness survivalist... My mother came into the city when she had me. I tried to live that lifestyle for much of my life, but it seems to just infect you more and more an addictive sense of Misery.

So when all the stars aligned, I moved my wife (And now my 7 week old daughter) deep into the country, on 10 acres where forest meets field.

Currently my Garden and Orchard makes up only a half acre. But I have a 10 year plan to keep slowly expanding (Mostly adding more fruit and nut trees) to the point where I'll have 3 acres of food growing land.

So by day I work from home selling media and "Making Synergy" by night I write and tend the land, in hopes that I can someday stop making Synergy and live by what's been in my blood all along.

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Boy Nainoa, you're really good at this stuff. Your knowledge with these issues is really valuable. Thank you very much! You too Dotch!

I don't pay that much attention to the really finer points of vegetable gardening. I plant in bulk, cultivate in bulk, and harvest in bulk.

Drives my wife crazy, but for some reason I just gotta do everything super big! She tells me every spring, "Don't plant so much stuff". I just love growing tons of fruits, berries and veggies. If we don't eat it, or sell it, I happily give it away to family, friends, and neighbors.

I've been trying to stay away from chemical applications, but on this moderately large, broad variety scale, I guess I'm going to have to learn more about chemical applications, and soil testing, to save our produce.

I'm planning to install a system of irrigation taking advantage of our river water this spring. This mineral and nutrient rich water I know will be good for our plants, but I imagine it will also bring a new set of potential problems with nearby ag runoff, etc.?

I sure hope you guys don't mind me asking you all sorts of questions prior to, and during our planting season. I really appreciate all your help.

It's always fun to see just what can be produced and as you've discovered , just how much. grin Same here. I just gave away a couple more gallon bags of carrots that I wasn't going to eat. While I was giving them to the gal she commented on the runaway tomato crop we had last fall they'd been the beneficiaries of. I'd forgotten all about them. Moral of the story: It helps to have a short memory. smile

Every year throws a little different curve at us and probably the worst mistake one can make is to think you have it all figured out. You might if all the variables were constant but at least when growing things outdoors, that's next to impossible. And every year there seems to be something that is an absolute home run and other things that are singles or worse, foul ball outs. Last year here the vine crops, carrots, winter radishes, Indian corn, sweet corn, beans and tomatoes were fabulous while things like peas and spuds, not so much.

I too avoid chemicals when possible but if it's between getting vegetables and getting nothing, I will use them as necessary. It helps to know your diseases and insects. It also helps to be connected with the U, their experts and their wide array of tools and info. Too much of the time the kitchen sink approach is used by those looking to press the easy button. That's not how those products were designed to be used. My training and business are IPM based so after 32 years, hopefully I have picked up on something.

The river water may or may not be a concern depending on the season and what's being grown in the watershed area upstream. Much of what gets into the river will be pretty dilute and in case of heavy rains that can move pesticides off the landscape, they move it on through pretty fast while diluting it more as it goes. If it rains a lot, you likely won't be irrigating anyway.

Ask away. Just because one or more of us are monitoring the Lawn and Garden threads doesn't mean we know everything but we can often find the answers or there may be another contributor here who does. Happy gardening! grin

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Other things you can do when you notice it happening is to contact your local Ag Extension office, or a local master gardener club. Often they will come out and look at it, identify it, and give advice for remedies. These people are often very knowledgeable and overlooked, along with being willing to help.

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It's always fun to see just what can be produced and as you've discovered , just how much. grin Same here. I just gave away a couple more gallon bags of carrots that I wasn't going to eat. While I was giving them to the gal she commented on the runaway tomato crop we had last fall they'd been the beneficiaries of. I'd forgotten all about them. Moral of the story: It helps to have a short memory. smile

Every year throws a little different curve at us and probably the worst mistake one can make is to think you have it all figured out. You might if all the variables were constant but at least when growing things outdoors, that's next to impossible. And every year there seems to be something that is an absolute home run and other things that are singles or worse, foul ball outs. Last year here the vine crops, carrots, winter radishes, Indian corn, sweet corn, beans and tomatoes were fabulous while things like peas and spuds, not so much.

I too avoid chemicals when possible but if it's between getting vegetables and getting nothing, I will use them as necessary. It helps to know your diseases and insects. It also helps to be connected with the U, their experts and their wide array of tools and info. Too much of the time the kitchen sink approach is used by those looking to press the easy button. That's not how those products were designed to be used. My training and business are IPM based so after 32 years, hopefully I have picked up on something.

The river water may or may not be a concern depending on the season and what's being grown in the watershed area upstream. Much of what gets into the river will be pretty dilute and in case of heavy rains that can move pesticides off the landscape, they move it on through pretty fast while diluting it more as it goes. If it rains a lot, you likely won't be irrigating anyway.

When it comes to what you said above about figuring stuff out. It's one of my favorite personal sayings that "It's often the fools in life who think they have it all figured out, while the wise man is every day amazed at how much he has yet to learn."

As for Bumper Crops...

You can pickle carrots, same procedure as pickling cukes... Then add some halved cloves of garlic and a couple jalapeno or cayenne peppers... The old lady who taught it to me called them "Fire Crackers"

When it comes to irrigating with River Water...

I wouldn't worry so much about the run off getting into the water. I mean most of that run off gets injested by river plants, animals, plankton... Viagra, Caffiene and Prescription meds that go down stream from urban centers are less likely to be absorbed by nature... They make it into the municipal drinking water systems (Unfiltered by modern water technology) and people water their lawns and brew their morning coffee with it every day!

The thing I'd be concerned about with the river water is the chance of picking up another fungus or bacteria during the late low water times in late summer. (That you probably wouldn't see a result of until next year.)

Admittedly, that concern might be unfounded.

One of my neighbors irrigated from the river for 20 years and loved it. Then suddenly got a strange "Something" in the soil (That he said acted like fire blight) And to his logic it came from the river water.

I can't say one way or the other.

I keep intending to install a rain gutter system off the barn, but something keeps happening that makes it financially unwise.

But if a guy is industrious and knows where and how to salvage, the guts for a rainbarrel system can be found very cheaply. (In my case I have everything EXCEPT the gutter system!)

But you can even find the empty 55 gallon food grade plastic barrels at the garbage/loading dock of bread or tortilla factories Previously used to hold Molasses/honey/corn syrup etc... The actual tap fittings will be gone, and while you'd be hard pressed to find the fittings at a Box hardware store, you can find them at a lot of mom and pop country hardware stores for about $12.

I actually built a rainbarrel system complete with a yolk that will hold two barrels that fits in the box of my truck. So if I need to say water the fruit trees that are beyond the reach of the current hose irrigation... I can load the two barrel rig into the box, fill it off the main line (Or reserves) and drive 100 gallons anywhere on the property!

If you ignore the 15 hours of time it took to scavenge the stuff, figure out and build the system, the end cost was $16.85. (Compared to paying $100 for a rainbarrel rig retail)

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Ha ha ha!!!! That's pretty resourceful and industrious Nainoa!

I've also looked at numerous ideas for "transporting" water around my property, but 650 ft. of garden hose made that process a little easier.

As far as pharmaceuticals (Viagra) in the river water, will that eventually make my viney veggies more firm and crisp come harvest time? I suppose if I'm watering with Cialis the plants will only perform better when they feel like it?

Har har har....sorry...I couldn't resist. laugh

I wonder if the glut of anti-depressants in the water will make for happier plants? Again, my most sincere apologies.... smile

I'm a pig. whistle

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Ha ha ha!!!! That's pretty resourceful and industrious Nainoa!

I've also looked at numerous ideas for "transporting" water around my property, but 650 ft. of garden hose made that process a little easier.

As far as pharmaceuticals (Viagra) in the river water, will that eventually make my viney veggies more firm and crisp come harvest time? I suppose if I'm watering with Cialis the plants will only perform better when they feel like it?

Har har har....sorry...I couldn't resist. laugh

I wonder if the glut of anti-depressants in the water will make for happier plants? Again, my most sincere apologies.... smile

I'm a pig. whistle

LOL... I hear ya... The issue of water quality is a big deal... Or likely it will be in about 10 years. The reason no one is talking about it right now is because no one has figured out how to make money on it yet.

So far it's just a losing proposition, so no one wants to talk about untreated chemical and pharmaceutical pollution running through D+ rated infrastructure.

*******

When it comes to industriousness, there is a saying out there that's starting to gain ground "Smart is the new Rich"

I think it's a little bit of a misnomer... But unfortunately "Resourceful is the new way to not lose money."

I grow enough Fruits and vegetables to feed the family for 6 months out of the year, bake my own bread, butcher my own meat, cook my own meals and try to build as much with my own two hands and mind as is humanly possible.

And I try to keep it limited to my spare time.

Then as a little mental self reward, I keep track of "How much money that saved me."

Last year my "Modern Rustic" lifestyle saved me $5565.

Granted I don't watch much TV... But you think about all of that Dancing with the Stars and American Idol... When you put a value on it compared to "Doing something for yourself."

A year's worth of sitting on one's butt watching TV ends up being worth around 5 grand!

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Make sure to contact a doctor if after 4 hours after watering with that viagra river water your hose does not go limp enough to wind it up.

As per the comment

"Granted I don't watch much TV... But you think about all of that Dancing with the Stars and American Idol... When you put a value on it compared to "Doing something for yourself.""

A tip of the hat to you.

I think my garden cost me more money than I save. But the opportunity to be constantly putzing with ideas, quality of stuff one grows and not ever knowing who is one those shows more than makes up for it.

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Make sure to contact a doctor if after 4 hours after watering with that viagra river water your hose does not go limp enough to wind it up.

As per the comment

"Granted I don't watch much TV... But you think about all of that Dancing with the Stars and American Idol... When you put a value on it compared to "Doing something for yourself.""

A tip of the hat to you.

I think my garden cost me more money than I save. But the opportunity to be constantly putzing with ideas, quality of stuff one grows and not ever knowing who is one those shows more than makes up for it.

Yeah there's a certain scale and methodology to making sure you're garden pays for itself.

Like to really make it pay for itself you have to start most everything from seed... I grow heirloom varieties of most plants so I can save my own seed. Compare that to say buying individual plants at a nursery and there's a HUGE savings.

Same thing with scale... If you have it too small, you don't really get much out of it beyond some fresh tomatoes at the peak of season, peppers for a salsa type of thing. So you have to have it big enough that you are putting up a surplus in the fall and through the winter.

And of course knowing how to do all that and knowing what you want to cook from it.

If you go too big then you start needing equipment like a yard tractor or an irrigation system.

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That's the HUGE advantage we enjoy from going really big! And I plant new seed, and store bought plants almost every year. I'd estimate I put in between $85 to $125 worth of plants and seeds each year. Sometimes more.

Any single one of our fruits, berries, and/or veggies will more than pay the "break even" cost of planting...everything! Our sweet corn alone will provide more than enough for us to eat, put up, share with church groups, neighbors and friends, and still sell hundreds of dollars worth of produce each year. Again, the same can be said for our other plant varieties.

Strawberries, Raspberries, Apples, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Onions, Green Beans, Cucumbers, herbs and spices, on and on. We grow hundreds, even thousands of pounds of each every year. Everyone says it must take so much work, and time to work gardens this big, but the reality is it only takes a little more time than working a garden much smaller with the same cultivars.

Initial seed bed prep, planting, and clean-up post harvest take a little more time, but maintenance and harvest only require slightly more time than if we had a much smaller garden.

We used to take huge loads of produce to our local Farmer's Market, but the profits we realized never really justified the time and expense involved with bringing everything into town. Now we simply run a few ads in the local newspaper, and heavily market our produce by word of mouth, and people simply come out and get what they need.

I don't aim to make a pile of money with our gardens. You're never going to retire on the money you make with truck gardening. I only have a couple goals each year. 1) to feed our family lots of fresh home grown fruits and vegetables while they're available, and "put up" enough to last us thru the winter 2) to share this bounty and these blessings with all our friends, family, and close neighbors and 3) to make enough money to off-set all the cost of the operation each year + a little to put toward upgrades in equipment and such.

So far, the profits from our gardens have paid for lots of new equipment, an irrigation system, solar powered electric fencing systems to keep the critters out, house payments, car payments, kid's sporting and school activities and expenses, and many other bills including the cost of planting again each year. We've also enjoyed several short family vacations paid for entirely with profits from our gardens!

We also absolutely love the benefits of eating 4, 5, 6, 7 different fresh veggies, berries and fruits with every meal for many months each summer and fall. Many times it's all we eat. It's like having our own giant grocery store in our backyard from June till October.

The gardens also benefit our children each year. As long as they contribute time planting, maintaining, harvesting, and cleaning up the gardens each season, we allow them to sell as much produce as they choose to, and keep all the money they make selling the produce in town. These kids can get pretty driven, and make a nice chunk of money in a weekend! They're not terribly fond of the work, but they sure enjoy the money! wink I've seen em' make $30-$50 per hour when they're really moving fast. That's darn good money for 10-13 yr. old kids!

Our gardens are a true labor of love. I see them as a gift from the good Lord, and only one of His infinite provisions for us. As long as we use them for sustenance, and share His bounty with everyone we can, He keeps providing us with more than enough! smile

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