There are many tasks that need to be done in June . Therefore I have a “Part 2” this week. In this weeks contribution I have listed three more issues that I think need special attention. Not because they are the most important, but because, like last week, they are often neglected and/or done improperly.



          It is best to water an established vegetable garden thoroughly once a week rather than a short time every day or every other day. Watering thoroughly when you water will encourage a deeper root system which will later help the plants tolerate the hot dry weather to come this summer. In every row in my garden I have a soaker hose covered with straw mulch. I water each row for at least an hour each week. During a very hot dry spell I may run it twice a week. The hose is connected to a timer so in the morning I connect the hose to the proper row, turn on the water, and go to work or coffee knowing it will turn off without over watering the lawn or garden. I really like it if I am having a good time at coffee. I can enjoy myself and not rush home to shut off the water. After lunch I connect the hose to another row and repeat the process.



          Yellow Nutsedge (some call it Nutgrass) must be pulled or sprayed with a herbicide before the longest day of the year (June 21st) or the tubers (nutlets) attached to the visible plant (mother plant) will break dormancy and continue to grow. In fact, pulling or spraying with a herbicide after June 21st may aggravate the mother plant and it will produce more 3-5 more sprouts.

          Ideally if the mother plant is sprayed before June 21st, it will not make daughter tubers.  Spraying before the longest day of the year is not always possible so turf experts recommend that you go ahead and spray after June 21st realizing it is not the optimal time for maximum efficacy.

Homeowners should use “Sedgehammer” which replaced “Manage”. Last year I sprayed just before June 21st but did not follow up later with another application and I had a very good stand of Nutsedge show up in July. One spray usually is not enough to control a healthy stand of Nutsedge, which is what I have in one spot in my front yard. A sticker-spreader is required when you use Sedgehammer. There are a number of brands including Turbo or Acme just calls theirs “Sticker-Spreader”. Read the label on the sticker-spreader and “Sedgehammer” and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.



          Epsom salts (which is Magnesium Sulfate [MgSO4-7H2O]) can be a good source of magnesium for plants. 2-3 tablespoons around each tomato plant is sufficient. Clematis sometimes gets yellow leaves which looks like iron chlorosis. It may be magnesium chlorosis, or a deficiency of magnesium. 2-3 tablespoons of Epsom salts per plant could help. Gladys adds 2-3 tablespoons of Epsom salts to each rose bush every Spring.

          Some fertilizers contain many micronutrients including magnesium. There are 16 elements that are needed for good plant growth. Only nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulfur (S), iron (Fe), and zinc (Zn) may need to be added to Nebraska soils. The rest are present in sufficient quantities. 

          One of those other micronutrients is calcium. Many of us have a problem with blossom end rot on our tomatoes. Low calcium transport in a plant appears to be associated with blossom end rot of tomatoes. However, the addition of calcium to the soil or sprayed on the plant does not seem to help as it is the transport of that calcium from the soil into the tomato that is the problem. Most of the time our Nebraska soils have enough calcium available. Usually only the first tomatoes are affected as the plant itself uses the calcium that is available in order to grow. Then the second flush of tomatoes and all the later ones seem to be ok. Research has also shown that one of the reasons for the poor transport of the calcium to the fruit may be irregular watering. That is we plant the small tomato plants and then go on vacation or forget when we watered and then over-water. Don’t waste water by over watering and don’t waste your money by over fertilizing.

Copyright 2009