Tag Archives: Health

Raised Bed Gardening – Not Always A Good Thing

A gadzillion (gadzillion is a word..right?) words and post have been published about the benefits of raised bed gardening and square foot gardens.

In truth raised beds are best suited to cooler and wetter climates than weather conditions found in Americas West and Southwest.

Pros of Raised Bed Gardening:
More control over the location of the garden
Ability to choose the best soil for your particular plants
More efficient draining
Can be easier on backs and knees due to less bending and stooping
Easier to keep out weeds
The soil warms up earlier in a raised bed, so you can plant earlier and extend your growing season
Better ability to keep out ground dwelling pests

Cons of Raised-Bed Gardening:
Can be more expensive to get started
Require careful planning to make sure there is enough room for plants that need to spread out, and to ensure that you can reach the middle to tend the plants
* Because raised beds drain so efficiently, they will also need to be watered more often and my require an irrigation system

In the west and southwest water is a valuable, often scarce commodity. Areas with little natural rain fall, daily temperatures at or above 95 degrees and humidity levels often dropping to 10% or 20%, tap water is an expensive way to water your garden.
Raised beds will often require watering 2 or even 3 times a day to prevent dry stressing plants.

Amending garden soil by digging in or tilling in large amounts of compost and planting directly in the amended soil very well may be a better choice over raised beds. You will over time develop a quality garden soil that holds moisture. Couple this with extensive use of mulch water needs will be greatly reduced and over heated soil temperatures can be moderated.
* This years mulch will be tilled into the soil as an amendment for next years garden.

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WWII Victory Garden Planting List – Heirlooms

Today,my friends I beg your pardon, but I’d like to speak of my Victory Garden.
With a hoe for a sword and citronella for armor, I ventured forth and became a farmer …
Ogden Nash 1943

Smithsonian Institution
WWII-era vegetables Victory Garden
The vegetables planted in the Smithsonian Institution’s recreated
Victory Garden were commonly grown during World War II and can
still be found through seed * catalogues and nurseries.

From a tiny seed I will feed my family. (unknown)

Spring Garden
* Carrot
Amarillo
St. Valery
* Lettuce
Bronze Arrow
Forellenschuluss
Black-Seeded Simpson
Tennis Ball
* Kale
Red Russian
Early Curled Siberian Kale
* Onion
Red Wethersfield
Siskiyou Sweet
* Peas
Alderman Tall Telephone
Corne De Belier
Green Arrow
* Radish
Red Meat
White Icicle

Summer Garden
* Basil
* Lettuce Leaf
Mrs. Burns Lemon
Beans, Bush
Black Pencil Podded
Beans, Pole
Kentucky Wonder (‘Old Homestead’)
Dow Purple Podded
* Beans, Lima
Red Calico
* Popcorn
Strawberry
* Corn, Sweet
Stowell’s Evergreen
Golden Bantam
Texas Honey June
* Cucumber
Lemon
Early Russian
Suyo Long
* Eggplant
Black Beauty
Rosa Bianca
Muskmelon
Hale’s Best
Pike
* Okra
Clemson Spineless
* Pepper
California Wonder (Sweet)
Marconi (Sweet)
Black Czech (Hot)
* Pumpkin
Rouge Vif D’Etampes
* Squash, Summer
Yellow Crookneck
Cocozelle Bush
* Squash, Winter
Blue Hubbard
* Tomato
Yellow Pear
Brandywine
Mortgage Lifter
Cherokee Purple
* Watermelon
Moon and Stars
White Wonder

Fall Garden
* Beets
Detroit Dark Red
Bull’s Blood
Chioggia
* Broccoli
Calabrese
* Cabbage
Early Jersey Wakefield
* Carrot
Amarillo
St. Valery
* Cauliflower
* Lettuce
Bronze Arrow
Forellenschuluss
Black-Seeded Simpson
Tennis Ball
Kohlrabi
Purple Vienna
* Parsley
Extra Curled Dwarf
* Parsnip
Sugar Hollow Crown
* Radish
Red Meat
White Icicle
* Spinach
Viroflay
Bloomsdale Long Standing
* Swiss Chard
Ruby
* Turnip
Purple-Top White Globe

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Organic food isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

It turns out eating organic isn’t always that great for the planet, and may only have a marginal effect on your health.

A new study published in the journal Science Advances reports organic farms have the ecofriendly benefit of using fewer pesticides but they also use more land, which is harmful to the planet.

University of British Columbia analyzed organic crop farming across 17 criteria such as yield, impact on climate change, farmer livelihood and consumer health by looking at the existing scientific literature on its results.
They found the environmental benefits of organic farming can be offset by the lower yields of such crops (typically 19 to 25 percent lower than conventional farming).

While an organic farm may be better for things like biodiversity, farmers will need more land to grow the same amount of food.

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Some Like Them Hot – Some Don’t

This Is Not a recommended list of peppers to grow in your home garden. It is a chart to base you pepper selection from.

How hot do you like your pepper? The sweet bell peppers at zero Scoville units to Naga Jolokia(Ghost Pepper) at over 1,000,000 Scoville units.
The substance that makes a chile{chili} pepper so hot is called Capsaicin. Pure Capsaicin rates between 15,000,000 and 16,000,000 Scoville Units!

Scoville Units

Chile Pepper

Heat
Range
Sweet Bell 0
Sweet Banana 0
Pimento 0
Cherry 00 ~ 500
Pepperoncini 100 ~ 500
Sonora 300 ~ 600
El-Paso 500 ~ 700
Santa Fe Grande 500 ~ 750
NuMex R Naky 500 ~ 1,000
Coronado 700 ~ 1,000
TAM Mild Jalapeno 1,000 ~ 1,500
New Mexico 6-4 1,000 ~ 1,500
Espanola 1,000 ~ 2,000
Poblano 1,000 ~ 2,000
Ancho 1,000 ~ 2,000
Mulato 1,000 ~ 2,000
Pasilla 1,000 ~ 2,000
Anaheim 500 ~ 2,500
Sandia 500 ~ 2,500
NuMex Big Jim 1,500 ~ 2,500
Rocotillo 1,500 ~ 2,500
Pulla 700 ~ 3,000
NuMex Joe E. Parker 1,500 ~ 3,000
Bulgarian Carrot 2,000 ~ 5,000
Mirasol 2,500 ~ 5,000
Guajillo 2,500 ~ 5,000
Jalapeno 2,500 ~ 8,000
Chipolte 5,000 ~ 8,000
Long Thick Cayenne 6,000 ~ 8,500
Hot Wax 5,000 ~ 9,000
Puya 5,000 ~ 10,000
Hidalgo 6,000 ~ 17,000
Aji Escabeche 12,000 ~ 17,000
Serrano 8,000 ~ 22,000
Manzano 12,000 ~ 30,000
Shipkas 12,000 ~ 30,000
NuMex Barker’s Hot 15,000 ~ 30,000
De Arbol 15,000 ~ 30,000
Jaloro 30,000 ~ 50,000
Aji 30,000 ~ 50,000
Tabasco 30,000 ~ 50,000
Cayenne 30,000 ~ 50,000
Santaka 40,000 ~ 50,000
Super Chile 40,000 ~ 50,000
Piquin 40,000 ~ 58,000
NuMex XX Hot 60,000 ~ 70,000
Yatsafusa 50,000 ~ 75,000
Red Amazon 55,000 ~ 75,000
Haimen 70,000 ~ 80,000
Chiltecpin 60,000 ~ 85,000
Thai 50,000 ~ 100,000
Merah 85,000 ~ 100,000
Tabiche 85,000 ~ 115,000
Bahamian 95,000 ~ 110,000
Carolina Cayenne 100,000 ~ 125,000
Kumataka 125,000 ~ 150,000
Bahamian 125,000 ~ 300,000
Jamaican Hot 100,000 ~ 200,000
Birds Eye 100,000 ~ 225,000
Tepin (Wild) 100,000 ~ 265,000
Datil 1,000 ~ 300,000
Devil Toung 125,000 ~ 325,000
Fatalii 125,000 ~ 325,000
Orange Habanero 150,000 ~ 325,000
Scotch Bonnet 150,000 ~ 325,000
TigrePaw-NR 265,000 ~ 348,000
Rocoto / Manzano 225,000 ~ 350,000
Caribbean Red 120,000 ~ 400,000
Choclate Habanero 325,000 ~ 425,000
Red Savina Habanero 350,000 ~ 575,000
Dorset Naga 800,000 ~ 900,000
Naga Jolokia “Ghost Pepper” 800,000 ~ 1,041,000
Pure Capsaicin 15-16,000,000

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Going gluten free may raise your risk of type 2 diabetes

I have commented on this Gluten free Fad Trend in the past.

JAMA Internal Medicine research shows celiac disease rates have remained stable, while going gluten free is now trendier than ever.

People without celiac disease or a gluten intolerance may be unnecessarily raising their risk of type 2 diabetes by following the trendy diet. Dr. Geng Zong, a research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, said “Gluten-free foods often have less dietary fiber and other micronutrients, making them less nutritious and they also tend to cost more.”

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Pre-Spring Gardening

Daylight Saving Time starts on the 12th of March.
The Northern Hemisphere marks the spring equinox on Monday, March 20, 2017.

Southwest Oklahoma has been experiencing spring like weather for the past 2 weeks and my weather man indicates we can expect much more of the same spring like weather.
My miniature apple tree will soon be leafed out and and I hope to see a few blooms in it this year. It was planted in a large porch pot for two years but now resides in an area in the garden I have set aside for fruit trees and a few grape vines.
Flowering pears, wild plumbs and many ornamental flowering plants have started putting on their flowering splash of color show.

Three weeks past I pruned my seedless concord grape vines. I saved 5 cutting in an attempt to root at least one cutting to replace a vine I lost to the rabbits chewing it off to ground level during the 2015/2016 winter season.

In an attempt to root these cutting I put then in a small container of water and set them in a north facing window. I now have a few buds leafing out but no roots as of today. So in an attempt to jump starting root development I add 2 table spoons of liquid root stimulator to the water.

Grin… I must have had a ‘hatch’ off of rabbits. As of late I have collected four nice cotton tails that dressed out at about 1-1/2 pounds each. Today will be rabbit stew day.

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The Thyme Is Now

Thyme is a highly aromatic herb which grows especially well in sunny somewhat dry conditions. A Mediterranean herb, thyme holds its flavor in cooking and blends well with other flavors like garlic, olive oil and tomatoes.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 – 9+
Exposure: Full Sun
Mature Size: Varies with variety.
Thyme is generally low growing, spreading, 6 – 10″ in height. Some varieties form an almost flat carpet.

Description: Thyme is a low growing, woody perennial. It is extremely fragrant and flavorful and grows well in tough, dry conditions. The pink, lavender or white tubular flowers are very popular with bees. Tiny gray-green leaves remain evergreen. There are about 350 different species.

Suggested Varieties:

  • Thymus x citriodorus ‘Aureus’ – Lemon-scented thyme with a true lemon scent, the minty quality of thyme and golden variegated leaves.
  • T. pseudolanuginosus ‘Woolly Thyme’ – Very soft, flat spreading carpet. No scent. (Zones 6 – 5)
  • T. herba-barona ‘Caraway Thyme’ – Low growing, with pale pink flowers and the scent of caraway. Also look for thymes with the scents of orange, rose and lavender.
  • Growing Requirements & Maintenance: Thyme pretty much grows itself. In fact, the more you fuss with it, the less hardy it will be. Thyme is most fragrant and flavorful when grown in dry, lean soil. Too much moisture will rot the plants.

    Thyme will grow well indoors, if given a bright, sunny window. However, since it survives quite well outdoors all winter, you might want to consider giving it a sheltered location outside, where you can continue to harvest.

    Maintenance: When grown in warmer climates where it can get shrubby, prune hard, in early spring, to prevent the plant from getting too woody. Additional shaping can be done after flowering. Otherwise all that is needed is to prune by harvesting and to remove and replace any areas that die out.

    Uses: Thyme is flavorful fresh and dried. It makes a nice complement to tomato sauces, cheeses, eggs and vegetables. It can also be used to flavor jellies, breads, vinegars, marinades, sauces and in bouquet garnish.

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    Bee on the lookout for these pollinators

    The European honeybee (Apis mellifera), introduced into North America in the early 1600s, is often what people visualize when they think about bees. About 4,000 species of bees that occur in North America, many gardeners are unaware of the diversity of native bees that are busy going about their work of collecting pollen or sipping nectar from flowers.

    The 10 genera of native bees are common in gardens and wherever an abundance of flowering plants occur. Each has its own seasonality, nesting lifestyle and forage preferences that differ greatly from those of the honeybee.

    1. Calliopsis Bees
    Where you’ll see them: The Western Hemisphere from southern Canada southward to Argentina and Chile.
    When to look: Summer is the optimum time to observe Calliopsis.
    These fast-moving small to medium-size bees are easy to miss, but you may spot them on vervain (Verbena spp.) in summer.

    2. Small Sweat Bees
    Where you’ll see them: Throughout the world on every continent except Antarctica.
    When to look: In the northern United States, early April is often when some of the first sightings of female Lasioglossum occur; they happen earlier in the spring farther south.
    Small sweat bees are a large, diverse genus of bees. The dominant subfamily Dialictus is composed of small black or gray bees with a slightly metallic sheen.

    3. Long-Horned Bees
    Where you’ll see them: Throughout North America and in parts of Central and South America.
    When to look: Midsummer through fall is the optimum time to observe long-horned bees.
    These robustly shaped bees can be consistently found foraging on plants in the Asteraceae family in summer. These beautiful medium-size bees are effective pollinators of many open-flower forms, including sunflowers.
    Males have extremely long antennae, and females have chap-like, long pollen-collecting hairs on the lower parts of their hind legs.

    4. Sweat Bees
    Where you’ll see them: Throughout most of the world except Australia, New Zealand and southern Asia, including Indonesia.
    When to look: Sweat bees are active as adults from spring through fall.
    Sweat bees are medium-sized, black or dark gray with pale or white hair bands on their abdomen.
    Sweat bees effectively pollinate native plants, cultivated plants and, in some cases, food crops, including blueberries and strawberries.

    5. Bumblebees
    Where you’ll see them: In North and South America, Asia, Europe and northern Africa; they have been introduced into other countries, including New Zealand and Australia.
    When to look: Bumblebees are active throughout the growing season, from spring through fall, with the time of year often determining what types of bumblebees you will likely observe.
    There are over 40 species of bumblebees in North America, and they are one of a minority of native bees that nest socially, forming small, annual colonies. Excellent pollinators, they visit a wide variety of plants.

    6. Mining Bees
    Where you’ll see them: Throughout the Northern Hemisphere, including Europe, North America, southern Africa and limited areas in Asia; they are very common throughout the U.S. and southern Canada.
    When to look: Spring is the optimum time to observe mining bees.
    The majority of mining bee species are active in the spring and are responsible for pollinating many woodland wildflowers as well as early-flowering native shrubs, such as viburnums (Viburnum spp.) and dogwoods (Cornus spp.).

    7. Leafcutter Bees
    Where you’ll see them: Throughout most of the world, including Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, South America and North America.
    When to look: Leafcutter bees are active as adults from the beginning of June to the end of September in the upper Midwest; they tend to emerge in May farther south.
    Female leafcutter bees have large teeth that they use to cut pieces of leaves (or flower petals) to use as a nest lining, one step in their nest-building activities. Another feature of bees in the leafcutter bee family is that the females collect pollen on the bottom of their abdomen, rather than on their hind leg like the majority of bees.
    Leafcutter bees effectively pollinate native plants, cultivated plants and, in some cases, food crops. A few species have been introduced into North America as commercial pollinators of food crops, including Megachile rotundata for the pollination of alfalfa.

    8. Small Carpenter Bees
    Where you’ll see them: Throughout most of the world, including Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and North America; they are rare in Australia.
    When to look: You will see small carpenter bees visiting flowers throughout the growing season, from early spring through fall.
    These tiny, shiny blue bees nest in pith-filled flower stalks, and it’s easy to provide them with nesting sites in your garden. Although small in size, small carpenter bees have a relatively long tongue and can access floral resources on both open, simple flower forms and complex flowers where nectar is more difficult to reach.

    9. Cellophane Bees
    Where you’ll see them: Throughout most of the world, but absent from Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.
    When to look: Spring is the optimum time to observe cellophane bee nests and emergence activity.
    Cellophane bees are medium-sized, and most species have a heart-shaped (tapered) face, giving them a “cute” appearance. Cellophane bees are effective pollinators of many types of plants; they have a short tongue compared with other bee species of a similar size.

    10. Metallic Green Sweat Bees
    Where you’ll see them: In the Western Hemisphere from central North America south to Central America and parts of South America.
    When to look: In the northern United States, mid to late May is often when some of the first sightings of female Agapostemon occur, earlier in the spring farther south.
    Metallic green sweat bees are one of four genera of bees in the eastern U.S. that are brilliant emerald green. They are effective pollinators, visiting a wide variety of open or accessible flowers from early summer through fall.

    Don’t Water Your Garden And Orchard Weeds

    Starting anew this spring.
    I am attempting to make watering a few trees and grape vines easier on me yet insuring desirable plants get the maximum amount of water and undesirable weeds get a minimum amount of water.

    Visiting my local farm store I found all the nifty parts to construct a ‘portable’ drip watering system.

    Last summer I bought 2 new 50 foot water hoses. I got 2 – 50 foot hoses so I can disconnect at 50 feet to water chickens and a near by Maple tree without the need to drag 100 feet of hose behind me.

    This spring I went to my local farm store and bought:
    2 – brass quick disconnects – $4.99 (for 2 quick disconnects))
    1 – brass ball shut off valve – $3.49
    1 – mechanical water shut off timer – $9.99
    * why is it everything cost $?.99 or ?.49 cents???

    The layout:
    Water shutoff timer is connected to freeze proof faucet. Attach water hose, use lots of duct tape to secure water host near the ground to the freeze proof faucet riser pipe. This should keep me or others from damaging the water timer by pulling on the hose and damaging the plastic parts of the timer.

    Hose #1 attach to timer and attach quick disconnect ‘securely’ to other end of hose.
    Hose #2 attach quick disconnects to female end and your ball valve shut off valve to the male end of your hose.

    With this setup you can control your water supply and apply no more that about 5 gallons an hour directly at the base of your tree or grape vine. I plan on watering trees and vines once a week starting about the 1st of May through the end of September, maybe less if the mulch holds as much moisture as I am hoping it will. More control can be had by setting your timer to 15, 30 or 60 minutes before it automatically shuts of the water supply.

    The pro’s 1. your don’t forget to check and shut off your faucet.
    2. your hose is not setting in the hot summer sun under full water supply pressure, a real hose saver.
    3. You are only watering your desirable plants and not your unwanted weeds.

    The con’s, you will likely loose 1/4 to 1/3 faucet volume passing through the timer, quick disconnects and hose end ball valve. If you water by sprinkler this very well maybe a serious water flow reduction problem.

    I have taken this one step further. My good neighbor delivered free of charge about 4 yards of wood chips. I am in the process of putting down a 4 foot circle of wood chips 6-8 inches deep around each tree and grape vine. Wood chips will help keep the soil cooled in out hot dry summer weather. It conserves soil moisture and is helpful in controlling unwanted weeds near the base of trees and vines.

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    Tomato’s Seed to Table – Short Course

    Don’t Crowd Seedlings.
    Don’t Let Seedlings Grow Into Each Other. If you are starting tomatoes from seed, be sure to give the seedlings room to branch out. Close conditions inhibit their growth, so transplant them as soon as they get their first true leaves and move them into 4″ pots about 2 weeks after that.

    Provide lots of light.
    Tomato seedlings will need either strong, direct sunlight or 14-18 hours under grow lights. Place the young plants only a couple of inches from florescent grow lights. Plant your tomatoes outside in the sunniest part of your vegetable plot.

    Put a fan on your seedlings.
    Tomato plants need to move and sway in the breeze, to develop strong stems. Provide a breeze by turning a fan on them for 5-10 minutes twice a day.

    Preheat the soil in your garden.
    Using Black Plastic to Warm the Soil. Tomatoes love heat. Cover the planting area with black or red plastic a couple of weeks before you intend to plant. Those extra degrees of warmth will translate into earlier tomatoes. Tomato’s will germinate below 70 degrees, however best results are obtained when soil temperature is above 70 degrees and below 95 degrees.

    Bury them deep.
    Bury tomato plants deeper than they come in the pot, all the way up to a few top leaves. Tomatoes are able to develop roots all along their stems. You can either dig a deeper hole or simply dig a shallow tunnel and lay the plant sideways. It will straighten up and grow toward the sun. Be careful not to drive your pole or cage into the stem.

    Mulch Later.
    Straw Makes a Great Vegetable Garden Mulch. Mulch after the ground has had a chance to warm up. Mulching does conserve water and prevents the soil and soil born diseases from splashing up on the plants, but if you put it down too early it will also shade and therefore cool the soil. Try using plastic mulch for heat lovers like tomatoes and peppers. (See Tip #4)

    Remove the Bottom Leaves.
    Tomato Leaf Spot Diseases. Once the tomato plants are about 3′ tall, remove the leaves from the bottom 1′ of stem. These are usually the first leaves to develop fungus problems. They get the least amount of sun and soil born pathogens can be unintentionally splashed up onto them. Spraying weekly with compost tea also seems to be effective at warding off fungus diseases.

    Pinch & Prune for More Tomatoes
    Tomato Suckers in the Joint of Branches. Pinch and remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches. They won’t bear fruit and will take energy away from the rest of the plant. But go easy on pruning the rest of the plant. You can thin leaves to allow the sun to reach the ripening fruit, but it’s the leaves that are photosynthesizing and creating the sugars that give flavor to your tomatoes.

    Water the Tomato Plants Regularly.
    Blossom End Rot. Water deeply and regularly while the plants are developing. Irregular watering, (missing a week and trying to make up for it), leads to blossom end rot and cracking. Once the fruit begins to ripen, lessening the water will coax the plant into concentrating its sugars. Don’t withhold water so much that the plants wilt and become stressed or they will drop their blossoms and possibly their fruit.

    Getting Them to Set Tomatoes.
    Determinate type tomatoes tend to set and ripen their fruit all at about the same time, making a large quantity available when you’re ready to make sauce.
    You can get indeterminate type tomatoes to set fruit earlier by pinching off the tips of the main stems in early summer.

    Iowa State University is for those of you that garden in the northern 1/2 of the U.S. University of Texas provides information that most often effect southern state tomato gardens.

    No matter where you live both sites have a huge amount of useful information on Identifying and treating tomato diseases. Don’t be discouraged or intimidated by the sheer numbers of tomato diseases. I’m pretty sure you will not suffer from all of them this year. in fact, insect control very well maybe your biggest problem in a home garden.

    Iowa State University Contains Pictures, description, Control and Treatment of tomato disease, bacterial and virus infections.

    Texas A and M University Contains Pictures, description, Control and Treatment of tomato disease, bacterial and virus infections.

    Insect control just like disease control starts with properly identifying the insect(s) that are causing your problems.
    Colorado State University will help you identify and control some of the most common tomato insect pest.

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