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But Gardening is So Good For You

Fri, Jun 8th, 2001
Posted in

Virginia CooperMonday, June 11, 2001

I don't know about you, but I am sure tired of this cold wet weather. Everything is so yellow. I haven't planted my sweet corn , peppers, squash or melons yet; my garden is a soggy mess. Let's hope for a long, warm fall for a good harvest.

There is blackspot fungus everywhere. Especially hard hit is my clematis vine. The leaves are covered in small black spots. I am hoping once things dry out it will bloom in all its’ purple glory.

In a national survey of American healthcare beneficiaries conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the average monthly healthcare expenditures of regular gardeners were 17.2% lower than non-gardeners over a 12 month period. Now that's exciting news. I wonder if the gardeners surveyed were from North Carolina where they can garden all year. I bet we work as hard or harder six months, than gardeners down south do all year. Keep up the good work!

Crookneck Asparagus?

A common complaint this time of year; the culprit is the asparagus beetle. This little fellow emerges from the soil in early spring and causes the curving distorted spears. Best cure is to reduce hiding areas in fall by cleaning up all spent foliage and weeds surrounding your plantings. Once the damage is seen the beetle is usually long gone.

It is not uncommon for asparagus roots to thrive for fifteen years, so they are well worth taking care of. They require a rich diet so feed them liberally with well rotted manure and compost.

Using salt to kill weeds around asparagus is not a good idea. It will work, and asparagus is not immediately affected because the roots are so deep. Over time salt will build up, leaching to the roots and eventually it may even kill your asparagus.

Most annual weeds can be easily pulled, but don't allow quack grass to get a foothold or you may have a big problem. If you dig the whole asparagus plant out, remove quack grass roots, then replant; you are at risk of delaying it's growth for several years. They do not like to be moved. Please don't use glyphosate, it's not organic or suitable for use on an established food crop. Round Up Ready Asparagus? Ack! Just don't let those weeds get established and you won't have a problem. OK? OK.

If you have a gardening question you can send it via email to virgcoop @ yahoo.com or write to the Reader's Mailbag in care of the Journal.

Virginia Cooper

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