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Beating Squash Vine Borers


“The last couple of years that we have planted zucchini, a worm of some sort has eaten to roots and caused the plants to die. We try to use as little chemicals as possible but don’t know what else to do. We have tried 7 dust, diatomaceous earth and this year we even tilled several times before planting but yet our plants still died because […]

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Giant Crane Fly


“What is this giant insect? Does it bite? It’s almost 3 inches across!” Question from Mary of Delaware
Answer: Even though it looks like a giant mosquito, this insect is harmless. It is called a giant crane fly (Tipula abdominalis), and it does not bite, sting, or damage plants in any way. Giant crane flies are attracted to night light, so they are often seen around […]

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Managing Watermelon Black Rot


“I lost all of my watermelons to black rot. How can I prevent this next year?” Question from Tina of Holley, New York.
Answer: I am so sorry! The excess moisture of the season has caused extra problems for fruit and veggie growers out East. Black rot on watermelon (more commonly called “gummy stem blight” (GSB)) is a nasty disease caused by the fungus, Didymella […]

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Help! Tomato White Heart Disorder!

The right soil and irrigation water pH is essential for good tomato production.
“I am growing in raised beds and hydroponically in EarthBoxes. Nothing does very well and tomatoes are horrid with hard white cores. I recently found the water from our community well tests at 8.6 pH. I am wondering if your peat formula would buffer the high water pH. Right now I am using […]

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Best Way to Kill Poison Ivy


“What’s the best way to kill poison ivy?” -Question from Grace of Raleigh, North Carolina
Answer: It’s the age old question. The best method depends on your infestation–do you have lots of seedlings, a big vine or shrub, or all of the above? Either way, there are several consistent “dos” and “don’ts” when it comes to effective poison ivy removal. The important thing to remember […]

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Yellow Chlorotic Blueberries


“My blueberry plants have yellow leaves. Why is this happening and what can I do?” -Question from Emily of Columbus, Ohio
ANSWER: Your blueberries have chlorosis. This is caused by a soil pH problem. Blueberries like acid soils between 4.5 and 5.5. When soils are too alkaline (have a higher pH) blueberry plants cannot access necessary nutrients, and their leaves start to turn yellow. Thankfully, […]

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Impossible Weed: Bindweed

Field bindweed
“Can you tell me what this is and how to kill it? I thought I dug it out already, but it keeps coming back. Its roots run really deep.” -Question from Natalie of Oregon
ANSWER: Sadly, your garden has a field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) infestation. This is one of the most notoriously difficult perennial weeds to remove. The vine tightly twines up anything, producing little […]

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Poison Ivy Identification


“Is this poison ivy?” -Question by Summer of Indianapolis, Indiana
ANSWER: Yes! Leaves of three, let it be! And, it looks like the vine is creeping though your fence from your neighbor’s yard! Remove the poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) and any seedlings as soon as possible!
The best way to remove poison ivy is to put on long sleeves and disposable gloves, then grab a large trash […]

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Managing Tomato Late Blight


“My tomato leaves are turning brown and fruits don’t look good. They have weird spots on them. What is going on?” -Question from Andy in Macon, Georgia
ANSWER: A photo would confirm it, but it sounds like your tomatoes have been stricken with late blight. Late blight is caused by a fungus-like disease that overwinters on infected plant material on or in soils. Sometimes plants […]

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