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Protect your garden against unwanted

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 If your vegetable beds look like an emergency care unit during flu, it may be because of the way you water them.

My vegetable plants are often affected by diseases

First, avoid watering at night, advise experienced market gardeners. Plants are more susceptible to diseases when they stay wet all night long. Then avoid watering their leaves and other aerial parts, which in any case do not absorb water; it’s the roots that drink. This measure will help reduce the incidence of diseases.

When the stems and leaves are in contact with the soil, the plants are more likely to catch diseases. Take the following preventive measures:

• Apply mulch. Mulch is excellent for plants because it preserves the moisture of the soil while preventing it from touching the ground. In addition, when decomposing, organic mulches, such as wood chips, ground bark or grass clippings, provide nutrients. Apply a 2.5 to 7.5 cm (1 to 3 in.) Layer to the foot of your vegetable plants.

• Climb your plants on a trellis, stanch them, or band them to force them to push vertically rather than touching the ground. Tomato, pepper, chilli, eggplant, cucumber and peas can be grown this way. Your plants will be less likely to catch diseases and your vegetables will be of better quality. This system will also make life easier, since you will no longer have to bend to harvest.

The underside of my tomatoes is black as coal

When the weather is very wet or, on the contrary, very dry, tomato plants can suffer. Tomatoes can then be affected by a despicable disease called “apical drying”, which makes gardeners very unhappy …

This disease causes a marked blackening on the lower part of the fruit, rendering it unusable. It is caused by excess water or hot, dry temperatures. It is usually recommended to water the plants thoroughly every week. However, if your hand is too heavy or too light, or if nature mixes with the game, they may get too much water or miss it.

An unusual solution is to give them eggshells. Begin in February to set aside your eggshells. Let them dry for 24 hours in a cool, dry place, then reduce them to powder. If you do not eat eggs, ask a restorer to put shells aside for you.

When it’s time to transplant your tomato plants, put the equivalent of a dozen eggshells in each of the planting holes. The plant will absorb the calcium found in the shells, which, according to experts, will greatly increase its power to regulate its water reserves. It seems that no other form of calcium is as effective in this regard.

The water in my pond is slimy

If the water in your pond or pond becomes green, cloudy or downright disgusting, the solution is to establish two types of plants.
• first floating plants, such as water lilies, which should cover two thirds of the surface of the pond. The large leaves of these plants provide shade, which helps to reduce the growth of algae.
• then, plants that bring oxygen. Some of these algae-like plants float while others are planted in the bottom of the pond: they work hard to preserve the clarity of the water. Most of the time, they are planted in pots that are placed on the bottom. These plants, which you can find in a nursery or garden center, will clean your water in just a few weeks.

Slugs love my flowers … at dinner

Slugs have a real aversion to copper, say gardeners who have managed to get rid of it. This allows you to protect your outdoor plants while decorating, at the same time, your flower boxes and your flower beds. Buy copper flashing at a hardware store or home that sells roofing materials. It will usually be accepted to be cut into custom strips (the strips should be at least 1 “wide) and use a weather-resistant nail to attach a strip at mid-height In addition to being decorative, this solution has the advantage of exerting a repellent effect on slugs.

Dr. Monika Mathur

Ph.D Yale University

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