Expert advice for budding gardeners: Many have taken advantage of the last few months to learn gardening. This new hobby brings a lot of challenges and questions for all budding gardeners.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (VAC) has decided to publish a series of tips to help these apprentices who sometimes do not have the crops they hope for.
In its latest publication, CCA dissects the common pests: downy mildew, weeds, rot and Japanese beetles. Experts unveil the results of their research on how to get rid of it.
Downy mildew: dangerous for potatoes and tomatoes
Expert advice for budding gardeners: Downy mildew is a form of wet rot that attacks tomato and potato plants. “It damages plants and produces a crop of dead flesh, atypical flavour and grainy-textured fruits and vegetables that are essentially inedible,” say the experts.
“The best way to avoid disappointment at harvest time is to use late blight resistant tomato seeds or plants,” recommends Dr Rick Peters. It is available from seed and garden centres.
Rot: the enemy of strawberries
Expert advice for budding gardeners: Strawberries are often victims of grey rot, caused by a fungus that forms a fuzz on strawberries after they are picked. The flower bed is often the cause of this rot. The solution? Adopt a plan accordingly at the time of planting.
Experts advise planting strawberries under plastic sheeting and putting mulch between the rows. Straw is not recommended since it can create a very favourable environment for rotting in humid climates.
By adopting this practice, your fruits will keep in the refrigerator longer, they will be more numerous and will ripen more quickly. They will also contain more antioxidants and polyphenols.
Expert advice for budding gardeners: Weeds constantly compete with crops for water and sun, which impairs their growth. They represent quite a challenge for gardeners, from beginners to the most advanced!
Researcher Sébastien Villeneuve opts for the indigenous system called the Three Sisters to get rid of it. He, therefore, proposes to plant the squash, corn and beans together. These species reduce the space available for weeds.
“Squash is a low plant that grows close to the ground. It creates shade on the ground, which offers two advantages for your garden: the shaded ground loses less water, and the weed seeds do not germinate if they do not have access to light ”, continues the researcher by way of a press release.
Expert advice for budding gardeners: In eastern and central Canada, several gardeners have to fight with Japanese beetles in order to protect their land. This species empties the foliage of roses, blueberries and many fruit trees. It also nibbles the roots of grasses, ornamentals and vegetables.
Japanese beetles are easily recognized by their green heads, copper-coloured wings, and six small tufts of white hairs on either side of their abdomen.
Fortunately, there is a way to get rid of it. “Pheromone traps are an effective strategy for controlling beetles,” writes Dr Julia Mlynarek. Available at garden centres, these traps should be placed away from your plants, because their seductive scent will attract many beetles. All that is needed is to empty these traps often and voila!