Fighting Mold in the Garden
Are you spending a lot of time out in your garden this summer? It's been pretty hot out there, but a friend of mine is already harvesting tomatoes and other yummy veggies! The photo is one of her garden earlier this summer.
Here in Southern California, we usually have more problems with things being too dry than too wet, but even our humidity was unusually high in the most recent heat waves, and our friends in the North are always dealing with lots of moisture in the air. What can you do to reduce the risk of developing mold in the garden?
Mulch with straw - Mulch helps keep the moisture in the soil--so important when yu are trying to have a garden in a desert environment-- and keeps soil temperatures more regulated. But it also provides a barrier between mold spores in the soil and the fruit and vegetables on your plants.
Water the roots, not the plant - Sprinklers are great, but you really want the water going into the soil, not sitting on your tomatoes. Your plants can even get sunburned on spots of water in direct sunlight! Keeping your produce dry on the vine is as important as keeping it dry in the fridge.
Trim and clear - Any moldy or rotten fruit or leaves should be removed as quickly as possible to prevent the spread of the fungus and mold that are breaking it down. The circle of life is at work and should be, but keep it at bay until you get to be part of it!
Disinfect gardening tools - A weak bleach solution can keep you from spreading mold yourself while you are working in the garden. Make sure to clean your tools especially after using them to remove any moldy plant material.
There is nothing as tasty as a tomato right from the vine, still warm from the sun. We eat them like apples at my house. These tips should help you prevent that beautiful treat harboring a nasty friend!