If you have vegetables that are blooming but not setting fruit, you may have a problem with flower pollination. There are several possible reasons for this that usually vary by species. One condition that can affect several species at the same time is overfertilization. Too much nitrogen causes the plant to emphasize vegetative growth, often to the detriment of fruit production. Overfertilization can lead to a delay in flower production and a decrease in fruit set among the flowers produced.
Squash, cucumbers, watermelon, and muskmelon can have a couple of other problems. First, the early flowers on these plants are usually all male. The production of both male and female flowers becomes more balanced as time passes. You can easily tell the difference between the two because only the female flower has a tiny fruit behind the blossom. If you have both, have not over-fertilized, and still have a problem, make sure you have pollinators. Look for the presence of bees visiting the plants. If you don’t see any, try hand-pollinating several flowers.
Use a painter’s brush to transfer pollen from the anther of the male flower to the stigma of the female flower. If you get fruit on only those flowers you pollinated, you need more pollinators. Make sure you aren’t killing them with overuse of insecticides.
Tomatoes are wind pollinated and therefore not dependent on pollinators. But they have another possible problem, which is temperature. Tomatoes normally won’t set if the night temperature is below 50 due to sparse pollen production. They also won’t set when nighttime temperatures are above 75 degrees F and daytime temperatures are above 95 degrees F with dry, hot winds.
Squash bugs are the grey, shield-shaped bugs that feed on squash and pumpkin plants. If you have had problems with these insects in the past, you know that they are almost impossible to control when mature. This is because the squash bugs have a hard body that an insecticide has difficulty penetrating. Thus, spraying when the insects are small is important. We are now seeing the nymphs of the first generation. These nymphs will eventually become adults, which will lay eggs that will become the second generation. The second generation is often huge and devastating. Therefore, it is important to control as many squash bugs now as possible.
Because squash bugs feed by sucking juice from the plant, only insecticides that directly contact the insect will work. General use insecticides such as permethrin (Bug-B-Gon Multi-Purpose Garden Dust, Green Thumb Multipurpose Garden and Pet Dust, Bug-No-More Yard and Garden Insect Spray, Eight Vegetable, Fruit and Flower Concentrate, Garden, Pet and Livestock Insect Control, Lawn & Garden Insect Killer), malathion, and methoxychlor provide control if a direct application is made to young, soft-bodied squash bugs. This means that you MUST spray or dust the underside of the leaves because this is where the insects live.
Now is the time to start controlling bagworms. We often don’t think about control measures until it’s too late and the insects are already done feeding and in their bags. Controlling them before that stage is critical.
Knowing how often and how much to water your lawn can be tricky. With the lack of rain, it may be tempting to over water your grass. However, you can use past weather data from K-State’s Weather Data Library to figure the exact about of Evapotranspiration from your landscape. This will help in knowing how much water has been lost from your lawn and how much needs to be applied. Remember the basic rule of lawn irrigation is to water deeply and infrequently.
Have you ever been in your garden and found a mysterious insect, you weren’t sure what it was or how to control it? This program is for you! Our guest speaker will be State Extension leader for Entomology Dr. Raymond Cloyd. Dr. Cloyd will be talking about the top insects you might see this growing season. Join us Thursday, May 10th at 7:00pm, in the commercial building on the Cloud County Fairgrounds in Concordia, Kansas. This event is brought to you by K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agents Cassie Homan from Post Rock District and Kelsey Hatesohl from River Valley District. Whether you have been gardening for years or are just getting started this program is open to all at no cost! Participants are asked to RSVP by May 7th to the Post Rock Extension Office at 785-738-3597 or by emailing Kelsey Hatesohl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your irises aren’t looking healthy this year, they may have a condition called bacterial soft rot. The bacteria will cause a smelly and slimy rot of the leaves and rhizomes. Leaves often separate easily from the rhizome. If your plants are heavily infested they may die.
Though most often associated with iris borer, environmental damage can also provide an entry point for this disease.
Rhizomes that show extensive signs of damage should be discarded. If there is a plant that has special value, you may wish to try to save it. The American Iris Society suggests using a spoon to remove all infected tissue. Then, allow the rhizome to dry in the sun. Finally, use a chlorine based cleanser to powder the wound. Dousing in place with Dial antibacterial soap (with triclosan) can be substituted for the chlorine based cleanser.
When dividing rhizomes from beds that have shown evidence of soft rot, disinfect the knife between cuts of even apparently healthy rhizomes with a 10% bleach solution or rubbing alcohol.
As mentioned previously, iris borer damage can provide a place of entry for this disease. To control iris borers, remove and discard dead leaves in the fall to eliminate a number of the iris borer eggs. Larvae can also be killed by hand in June by squeezing infested leaves in the vicinity of the injury. During division, borers in lightly infested rhizomes can be killed by poking them with a piece of wire. Borer control can also be achieved through the use of imidacloprid (Merit, Bayer All-In-One Rose & Flower Care, Bonide Systemic Granules, Hi-Yield Systemic Insect Granules) or through the use of the parasitic nematodes Steinernema carpocapsae or Heterorhabditis bacteriophora.
Sidedressing, also referred to as topdressing, is the practice of fertilizing your plants as they are actively growing. This is done using a fertilizer high in nitrogen and gives your plants an extra boost during the growing season. Done correctly, sidedressing can improve vegetable, fruit and flower production.
Use the chart linked below to learn the amount of fertilizer needed, and suggested time of application for your specific crop.
If you love cooking and gardening, then we have the perfect class for you. Healthy food choices don’t have to be boring and bland. Come learn how to cook with less salt but more flavor. We will demonstrate how to add herbs to your favorite recipes and grow them in your garden.
New strawberry plantings should be set early in the growing season so that mother plants become established while the weather is still cool. The mother plants develop a strong root system during this cool period when soil temperatures are between 65 and 80 degrees F. The most appropriate planting time is late March to mid-April in the northern areas of the state. Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart.
Later in the season, runners and daughter plants develop. The earlier the mother plants are set, the sooner the first daughter plant will be formed and take root. These first daughter plants will be the largest daughter plants at the end of the growing season and will bear more berries per plant the following spring. When planting is done later, the higher temperatures stress the mother plants resulting in reduced growth, weaker mother plants and delays in daughter plant formation. Fewer and smaller daughter plants produce fewer berries, resulting in a smaller crop.
Remove all flowers during the first year. New plants have limited energy reserves that need to go toward establishing the mother plants and making runners rather than making fruit. If fruit is allowed to develop the first year, the amount of fruit produced the second year is drastically reduced due to smaller, weaker daughter plants.
Keep row width at 12 to 18 inches as strawberries bear most on the edges of the row rather than the center. A rototiller or hoe can be used to keep the row at the recommended width.
Spring can be a busy time for many of us. If you are feeling overwhelmed with tasks and chores, use our garden calendar to keep things organized! We have compiled some of the most common gardening chores that need to be done in the spring. If you have any questions about caring for your garden, feel free to contact your local Extension Office.
Warm seasons grasses include Bermudagrass, Buffalograss, and Zoysiagrass they require special care to survive our hot and dry summers. Year round attention is needed to keep the weeds down and help your grass look green and lush. Follow this DIY calendar to care for your lawn each month.