Fighting Mold Outside
Spending time working in the garden this year? It's been pretty hot out there and water is limited, but we are harvesting tomatoes and other yummy veggies! The photo is our very first tomato of the season. We have some red and yellow ones now.
Here in Southern California, we usually have more problems with things being too dry than too wet, but we all noticed how high the humidity has been lately. We even had rain last weekend--rain in July is pretty unusual. Our friends in Northern California 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 rather than losing it to evaporation on hot days. Mulch also keeps soil temperatures more regulated. In addition, mulch 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 convenient, but they don't always do the best job. You want the water going into the soil, not sitting on your tomatoes--they'll get sunburned! Keeping your produce dry on the vine is as important as keeping it dry in the fridge.
Trim and clear - Remove any moldy or rotten fruit or leaves as soon as you see them to prevent the spread of the fungus and mold that are breaking it down. The circle of life is at work but you want to be part of it!
Disinfect gardening tools - Clean your tools after using them to remove any moldy material. Spores are always looking for a way to travel. A weak bleach solution can keep you from spreading mold yourself while you are working in the garden.
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! Now about the caterpillars...