July is officially the rainiest in record in the state of Maine. One look at your flowers and vegetables might tell you they are not happy about it. It's just too much water. So if your plants have taken a beating, Tom Estabrook, of Estabrook's in Yarmouth, has some suggestions. He says it's really the combination of drought conditions in June and excessive rain in July that are upsetting our containers and vegetable beds. Potted plants are likely showing wear and tear. Estabrook suggests that the next time they need a little water include a fertilizer with it. He likes miracle grow bloom booster or any other liquid fertilizer. Those will push new blooms out to cover those looking sad right now. Containers of course will dry out faster than the plants in the ground and therefore need to be watered sooner.
All the water has also brought out slugs and snails in big numbers.. They are likely munching on your plants. Estabrook suggests sprinkling "Slugo" in your flower and vegetable gardens. You could also use "Slugo Plus" which also kills cut worms and other pests.
"Diatomaceous Earth" is another good organic route to ward off insects, according to Estabrook. It must be reapplied after each rain. If we have a dry spell coming up, Estabrook suggests moistening the plants and then sprinke on the power. It will take care of slugs and snails, but any other soft bodied insects.
Another favorite, "Capt. Jack's". Estabook says it is an organic way to spray for insect problems. Useful for soft bodied aphids, white flies, caterpillars and more.
"Neem Oil" will take care of insects and also has fungicide properties. Estabrook says it is not actually a fungicide, it's an insecticide. You can also use it on Rose and it will kill Japanese Beetles.
Anytime we get this much water, Powdery Mildew becomes a problem. It's easy to spot. The leaves of your plant will look like they are covered with a white powder and then they will start to die. For this issue, Estabrook uses "Copper Fungicide". Bear in mind it is more of a preventative for powdery mildew. It is not a curative. Estabrook says, "Being proactive right now is important, especially using that organic Copper Fungicide it keep mildew at bay." "It spreads from splashing water, so if you use a sprinkler, you will spread it. Also the rain that will spread it." So best to stay on top of it before the problem emerges.
Another fungicide Estabrook likes is called "Revitalize". It is what is called a bio-fungicide. Estabrook says , "It rapidly makes the plants immune system activate. You spray this on it's a great preventative product. It goes in the plant and says supercharge me. You ward off problems and naturally."
If you grow tomatoes you likely at some point have dealt with blossom and rot. Those are the black spots that form on the ends of the tomatoes. Estabrook likes "Rot Stop" to get rid of it. It is simply a calcium spray. He says now is a perfect time following all the rain we have had, to spray down your tomatoes and prevent rot.
So recapping, Estabrook says fertilizer is important. But wait until the plant needs water and don't use too much fertilizer. If your garden vegetables seem to be seriously suffering, you might consider pulling them and planting some late summer crops in their place. Spinach, radishes, kale, lettuce, and basils all grow very quickly and you will have a crop for the end of the season. Happy planting.