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Damping Off or Pythium – Controlling and Preventing

Damping Off of a heirloom garden seedling - St. Clare Heirloom Seeds

Damping Off

Damping Off of a heirloom garden seedling - St. Clare Heirloom Seeds
Damping Off is a term used for a variety of fungal problems that lead to sudden seedling death.

Damping off is a term used for a variety of fungal problems that lead to sudden seedling death. A soil-borne fungal disease that affects seeds and new seedlings, damping off usually refers to the rotting of stem and root tissues at and below the soil surface. Usually, the plants will germinate and come up fine, but within a few days they become water-soaked and mushy, fall over at the base, and die. The pathogens attack the tender stems and roots of the seedlings. Some seedlings look pinched at the base of the stem, others flop over, and some wither away entirely. Once the process is underway, its hard to save even a few of your plants. Prevention is the best cure against Damping Off.

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Bacterial Canker

Bacterial Canker on a tomato leaf - St. Clare Heirloom Seeds

Bacterial Canker
a.k.a. Bacterial Blast or Bacterial Gummosis

Bacterial Canker on a tomato leaf
Bacterial Canker on a tomato leaf.

Bacterial Canker is, as stated in the title, a bacterial disease. The heirloom garden plant mainly affected by Bacterial Canker is the Tomato. It is widespread throughout the U.S.A. especially when the weather is cool, moist and windy. It is spread to heirloom garden plants by the wind, rain, infected seeds, and debris. It enters the garden plant through wounds in its skin.

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Plant Diseases in the Home Heirloom / Open Pollinated Vegetable Garden

Plant Diseases in the Home Heirloom / Open Pollinated Vegetable Garden

Heirloom plant diseases have been defined as a disruption in the plants ability to function as a result of continuous irritation. If you have allergy’s you have a really good idea what continuous irritation means. Diseases are caused by three types of agents: Bacteria, Fungi, and Viruses.

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Cutworms in the Heirloom / Open Pollinated Vegetable Garden

Cutworm - St. Clare Heirloom Seeds

Cutworms in the   Heirloom / Open Pollinated Vegetable Garden

cutworms
Cutworms are moth larvae that hide under the soil during the day, coming out in the dark to feed on plants. Cutworms typically attack the first part of the plant they encounter, namely the stem, often of a seedling, and cuts it down by eating thru it; hence the name cutworm. – St. Clare Heirloom Seeds

Cutworms are the larvae, or young, of stout, dull-colored moths (millers) that fly at night. The different species attack Heirloom / Open Pollinated vegetable plants in different ways. The most conspicuous( and frustrating!) damage is done by the cutworms that cut down young plants by feeding on the stems. If you see cutworms in your Heirloom / Open Pollinated vegetable garden, or plant damage that is evidence of their presence, act promptly to control them. A heavy infestation can ruin a Heirloom / Open Pollinated vegetable garden in short order.

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How to best choose seeds for my needs?

Can you give me some ideas on how to best choose seeds for my needs? I’m having trouble choosing from all the variety that’s out there.

Besides which varieties have the prettiest picture, what factors should weigh in on your list for what to plant this year?

First up, should be what will grow in your region/climate. If you have a shorter season, look carefully at the “days to maturity”, if a plant will take too long to grow, your work will be in vain, and your setting yourself up for disappointment. So, plant things with the shortest “days to maturity” listed. If you live where it’s hot and humid, look for heat and humidity resistant varieties. If you live where it’s hot and dry, choose heat and drought tolerant varieties. Don’t discount the value of asking other heirloom gardeners in your area what they grow, or searching Google or forums for others’ suggestions of what to grow in your area. We find a wealth of helpful information this way.

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September Garden Tips

September Garden Tips - St. Clare Heirloom Seeds

Funny thing, just last week we were talking about August being one of the hottest months, the need to water, etc. and then God made sure we remembered who’s in charge and sent along a cold snap here in Wisconsin. So, now we are thinking about when we need to cover tender plants to protect them from frost, and all those things we have to do at the end of the season. Crazy how weather can turn on a dime and change up what we are focused on so quickly!

September is one of the busiest months in the garden, lots of harvest happening, some crops coming to an end, preparing to bed down the areas of the garden that are finished for the year in Northern states, while finally getting back out in the garden in the hot Southern states. Depending upon your zone in the US there are specific tasks that you’ll want to focus on this coming month.  Read on for Zone specific tips….
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August Garden Tips

August is one of the best months in the garden! Many of the best fruits of your labor are finally hitting the table. But, don’t let the joy of harvest make you lax in the work department. 🙂 Big things to remember are watering and weeding. August, in many places, is the hottest month of the garden season, therefore the plants need that extra water. Even and consistent watering is very important to your plants. And, weeding, though it’s a pain, is important as the weeds rob your fruits and veggies of that precious water they so need to thrive in the hot months.  Continue reading August Garden Tips

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Heirloom Fall Vegetable Garden

Lincoln Peas in your fall vegetable gardenAs promised we’re back again to discuss planting a heirloom fall vegetable  garden. What vegetables or fruits can I plant for a Fall vegetable garden? When to plant, I don’t want to plant them too late, I’m really not sure how to do this? These are the big questions on the mind of those who want to try their hand at planting a heirloom fall vegetable garden. You may have always hesitated thinking that Fall crops of veggies were for the experts to grow, “I don’t know how to do that”, but really it’s easy, and no harder than planting in Spring. We’ll give you some helpful starting tips, and this year you could have more of your favorite heirloom vegetables right up until the Fall frosts! Continue reading Heirloom Fall Vegetable Garden

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Composting Tips for Beginners

Composting Tips for Beginners - St. Clare Heirloom Seeds

Q. I want to try out composting, but I find it daunting and am uncertain where to start, any tips?

A. Sure thing! Compost is great for your heirloom vegetable, fruit, or flower garden, and essential to organic heirloom gardening, as it is natural, nutrient-rich fertilizer right from materials you most likely have on hand, or can get easily. Not only is compost great fertilizer, it improves the structure of your soil, and it’s water retaining capabilities(less work to water your garden!). All of the above reasons will help produce healthier plants in your garden, what’s not to like about compost?!?

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11hp Briggs & Stratton Vanguard on a Troy Bilt Tiller

11hp Briggs Vanguard engine on Troy Bilt Horse Tiller
11hp Briggs and Stratton Vanguard engine
11hp Briggs & Stratton Vanguard engine.

At St. Clare Heirloom Seeds we use a Troy-Bilt Horse Tiller to till our test gardens. Our Troy-Bilt Tiller came new with an electric start 8hp Briggs & Stratton engine. This spring while we were tilling, the engine unfortunately decided to fly apart and we were left with a really nice tiller with a bad motor.

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Cut your weeding in half before you plant!

Here at St. Clare Heirloom Seeds we have several different large test gardens that we grow out a lot of different varieties of vegetables every year. Weeding gardens can take an enormous amount of time so one of the ways that we get a head-start on dealing with weeds is to shallow till numerous times in the spring, before planting time arrives.

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