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Old 02-07-2017, 01:23 PM
 
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Opalminor The term for it certainly isn't "organic".
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Old 02-07-2017, 02:50 PM
 
Location: AZ
294 posts, read 109,431 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opalminor View Post
(Disclaimer: if your answer to the above question is "NO- I have no idea what you're talking about"- please ignore this post!)

Regarding vegetable gardens:
Does anyone get the impression that pests/fungus/plant diseases have increased in recent years..? I feel like it's gotten more & more difficult to have a successful vegetable garden.. to the point of being almost impossible. The more work and money I put into it, the less results I'm seeing. It seems that diseases (& pests to some degree) have gotten more aggressive and difficult to eradicate.

I've noticed this change whether it's been several years at the same house, or different gardens at several locations. And even when I use all the conventional remedies (as instructed by garden stores) it seems to have no effect at all. ZERO. Just turns out to be a huge waste of money.

I always heard about people who could grow so much zucchini they had to force it on their neighbors- ha- seems like a great problem to have! I can't get a zucchini to save my life. well maybe one- before the whole plant dies. If the squash vine borers don't get them all- powdery mildew will. Tried spraying copper all over the plants diligently- NOTHING.

And they say to not water from overhead as it encourages mildew- well doesn't rain come from overhead? And didn't people water with a hose for generations?

You always hear stories about people's Grandparents and Aunts & Uncles who had an amazing veg garden, grew so many monster tomatoes and zucchinis they had to give em away... but no matter how hard I work, how much soil I compost &/or buy, and regardless of whether I've used organic or conventional methods; no matter how many different stores I've bough plants from (big box or mom & pop)- OR grew stuff form seed- every year it gets more difficult, and the success rate gets smaller and smaller. It just seems like years ago, it was so much easier! Even when I started gardening it was much easier. So I guess I'm referring to not only a major change since a couple generations ago, but even moreso since 10-15 yrs ago. (Or is it just my bad luck....??)

It just seems like in the 'old days' all you had to do was sow your seeds in some good soil, keep an eye on them and you'd have a major bounty & could have your victory garden- enough to feed your family, plenty to can and so on. They didn't have all these expensive pesticides/ fungicides back then.. correct? I don't recall hearing old folks talk about how they struggled and battled plant diseases and were lucky to get a handful or 2 of tomatoes out of a huge garden. I mean if there was a major drought or it was a 'bad year' weather wise, that's different. but I'm talking about a steady and noticeable decline.

(And add to this recent invasions of exotic pests, like stink bugs, etc..)

I've even talked to some older gardeners who basically said 'Yeah.. something's different now. I don't know if it's when scientists started messing with seed genetics, or started using stronger pesticides/ fungicides, the weather changing, or what.. but it's definitely getting harder I haven't had much luck in recent years either..."

I'm also confused about crop rotation is small backyard gardens. Didn't millions of people have backyard gardens, victory gardens, small farms, etc. in the same spot, throughout history? I had an Aunt who had a nice little garden in her backyard and it was always there.. she never moved it around to different locations. How are people supposed to do that, if they only have one area in their yard, that is suitable?? So, does this mean that you can really only use the same space for a few years and then you have to give up your garden, unless you have another suitable spot..? I'm not just talking about the soil being depleted of nutrients, because you can add a lot of that back in... but also the soil being contaminated with disease/ fungus/ nematodes/ etc. Does it get to the point where the soil gets so contaminated that there's nothing you can do to fix it? If so, how long before it repairs itself..?

So many questions...!

Just wondering how on earth humans have managed to survive this long, if having a successful garden was this impossible throughout history.. (which is part of why I'm convinced, it wasn't!)
I agree with you. Something is going on with our environment and none for the good. I have also noted that the bagged soil amendments of various sorts have gotten very poor in quality. Thanks for your post.
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Old 02-07-2017, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Backwoods of Maine
6,204 posts, read 6,076,588 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
Soil depletion/inadequate fertilizing
Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
If you have the right kind of soil that can get the nutrients into the plant, the plant should be healthy enough to withstand disease.
Bingo!

There are still lots of people who have productive gardens, and I'm one of them. The soils in the US have been demineralized from over-cropping and failure of planters to replace what the crops have taken out. You can only mine the soil for so long, before the crops fail.

Insects do not attack really healthy plants. Fungus does not attack dry plants. Gardeners want to add a little compost, maybe some lime, and call it good. Then they turn on the sprinkler or the hose and let the plant leaves get soaking wet. Then they complain about pests and fungus.

If you want vigorous plants that will resist pests, you need to feed them right. Notice I did not say, "feed the SOIL right". How do you know when you've fed the soil enough? You don't. Soil does not need to be fed; plants do. Unfortunately, the Rodales and the "organic" franchise have convinced everybody that compost and manure are the holy grails of fertilization.

How many of you here have ever had a soil test done? How many of you are adding zinc to your fertilizers? Boron? Molybdenum? Iodine? Copper? I didn't think so. In the old days, soils still had some of those minerals. Today, not so much. Plants really need those nutrients.

You need to think about seed meals for N, ground rock phosphate for P, greensand for K, lime or gypsum for calcium, epsom salts for magnesium, borax for boron, and then either Azomite or kelpmeal for the rest of the minerals. All of this is OMRI approved.

It's just a matter of your priorities.
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Old 02-07-2017, 05:43 PM
 
Location: Port Charlotte FL
513 posts, read 222,768 times
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I've successfully used several earthboxes when nothing did well in my garden soil.

https://earthbox.com/
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Old 02-07-2017, 05:58 PM
 
2,412 posts, read 695,423 times
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Crop rotation doesn't mean you have to move your whole garden. It simply means that you grow a different crop in the spot you grew something else last year. You can stay with the same garden size and location .. just move stuff around. So (hypothetical example) if you grew broccoli there last year, grow tomatoes there this year and then you may be able to go back to broccoli in that corner of your garden next year. The idea is that certain vegetables/grains use up more of certain nutrients in the soil and/or supply the soil with certain nutrients. If you grow the same crop there year after year, the soil becomes quickly depleted of what that crop needs most - so then you plant another crop there that supplies that nutrient to the soil and perhaps uses one that the other crop left behind or added to during its growing period. You can find out online what are good crops to rotate (my example of broccoli and tomatoes may not be a good one but tomatoes usually should not be grown 2 years in a row in the same spot either - I think the reason is that they are heavy feeders and also may leave the soil too acidic even for them - I just usually replace the soil in a tomato patch completely or move them elsewhere).


Deer - I am told (but haven't tried it yet) that if you hang a red shirt or some red cloth of some kind (doesn't have to exactly be a 'scarecrow' form but that is the idea) near whatever the deer like to munch on most, it may deter them. Certainly costs very little to try and it can't be bad for the environment.


In NC, I have tried and tried to garden but other than a few herbs, berries, fruit trees and native plants, the poison that comes from black walnut trees has foiled my attempts. It can run under the ground in and near their roots for hundreds of feet from an offending tree. Only a few plants thrive on that stuff and apparently none of those were what I was trying to grow.


I am starting now to grow things indoors only (with a few pots outside) but the experiment is in its infancy. I will write back about it next year maybe. I also only use heirloom seeds so I can try to save them. And organic because they are not already coated with gosh knows what kind of pesticides, etc.

Last edited by Aery11; 02-07-2017 at 07:27 PM..
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Old 02-07-2017, 07:34 PM
 
2,798 posts, read 790,628 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nor'Eastah View Post
Bingo!

There are still lots of people who have productive gardens, and I'm one of them. The soils in the US have been demineralized from over-cropping and failure of planters to replace what the crops have taken out. You can only mine the soil for so long, before the crops fail.

Insects do not attack really healthy plants. Fungus does not attack dry plants. Gardeners want to add a little compost, maybe some lime, and call it good. Then they turn on the sprinkler or the hose and let the plant leaves get soaking wet. Then they complain about pests and fungus.

If you want vigorous plants that will resist pests, you need to feed them right. Notice I did not say, "feed the SOIL right". How do you know when you've fed the soil enough? You don't. Soil does not need to be fed; plants do. Unfortunately, the Rodales and the "organic" franchise have convinced everybody that compost and manure are the holy grails of fertilization.

How many of you here have ever had a soil test done? How many of you are adding zinc to your fertilizers? Boron? Molybdenum? Iodine? Copper? I didn't think so. In the old days, soils still had some of those minerals. Today, not so much. Plants really need those nutrients.

You need to think about seed meals for N, ground rock phosphate for P, greensand for K, lime or gypsum for calcium, epsom salts for magnesium, borax for boron, and then either Azomite or kelpmeal for the rest of the minerals. All of this is OMRI approved.

It's just a matter of your priorities.
I have to disagree with.........."insects do not attack healthy plants "

Alfalfa aphids will attack nearly every field in an area regardless if the field is lush, with the ph where it belongs, great soil with a high organic rating, and high fertility levels.
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Old 02-07-2017, 09:50 PM
 
3,292 posts, read 1,430,219 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oregonwoodsmoke View Post
The pests are much worse. Also, seeds don't germinate as well as they used to and I suspect that seed companies are repackaging old seeds in new packaging and selling them as fresh.

Where I am located, weather has been unreliable.
I too have seen this problem recently. Whole packages of seeds and only a couple of plants germinate. When they do, they are week and spindly. I seem to do OK with onions and potatoes, but lately my non root crops have done poorly. Even things that were great a few years ago.


This year I plan to order my seeds from a different supplier rather than buying at Lowes and see if that makes a difference.
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Old 02-07-2017, 10:07 PM
 
Location: Backwoods of Maine
6,204 posts, read 6,076,588 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David A Stone View Post
I have to disagree with.........."insects do not attack healthy plants "

Alfalfa aphids will attack nearly every field in an area regardless if the field is lush, with the ph where it belongs, great soil with a high organic rating, and high fertility levels.
Well, I can tell you this much: when I lived in RI, our garden was the only one in our neighborhood that had no aphids. They were next door, across the street, around the block, but not in our yard.

Now, up in Maine, we still have no aphids. But we have almost no neighbors, as we are very remote. So, I can't tell you whether any nearby gardens here have aphids or not...because there aren't any. Same goes for Japanese beetles, cutworms, and everything else.

Insect pests have nothing to do with organic material in the soil. If that were true, nobody here would be complaining about garden failure, as these folks likely have lots of organic matter in their soils.

But they haven't bothered to replace the depleted minerals in their soil. This makes for sickly plants, just as poor nutrition makes for sickly people. Strong plants do not put out the signal of poor health that causes insects to devour them. Insects have a purpose on this earth, too, and one of their major jobs is cleaning out bad vegetation.
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Old 02-08-2017, 07:26 AM
 
16,323 posts, read 18,266,337 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrganicSmallHome View Post
Thank Monsanto for the pesticides killing the land........
Right, Got it. Monsanto is responsible for all the evil in the world. Except my garden area has never had any Monsanto products in it or within literally miles of it. My seeds that have poor germination aren't even outdoors. I germinate seeds inside my house under grow lights with my own potting soil that I make myself because I dislike the commercial potting soils.

My garden soil is heavily amended and I add minerals back into the soil. It's not like I don't know how to garden.

Insects will attack healthy plants, especially if there is nothing else attractive to eat nearby. Just because insects will go after weak plants does not mean that the won't feed off of healthy plants.
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:38 AM
 
2,798 posts, read 790,628 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oregonwoodsmoke View Post
Right, Got it. Monsanto is responsible for all the evil in the world. Except my garden area has never had any Monsanto products in it or within literally miles of it. My seeds that have poor germination aren't even outdoors. I germinate seeds inside my house under grow lights with my own potting soil that I make myself because I dislike the commercial potting soils.

My garden soil is heavily amended and I add minerals back into the soil. It's not like I don't know how to garden.

Insects will attack healthy plants, especially if there is nothing else attractive to eat nearby. Just because insects will go after weak plants does not mean that the won't feed off of healthy plants.
(last paragraph )........BINGO !


and when I was a kid in the early 50's, my mom had to buy that insecticide in the can to dust the potatoes in her .....HEALTHY...garden because of potato beetles.


Back then neither us nor any farmer in the area used herbicides or insecticides.


Farmers in my area are up to date on studying soil tests ( and hire experts to help ) yet they know their crops are vulnerable to insect attacks regardless of their soil.


I imagine the same can be said for the many gardeners who grow great gardens.


To suggest that if your soil is in great shape, insects will leave your garden/crops alone is ludicrous !
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