Jen Swanson

pollinator
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since Jul 11, 2020
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Vancouver, Washington
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Recent posts by Jen Swanson

My experience is that plants are not really that fussy when the pH is at least n the ballpark. It's only when the pH is way out of the range that they prefer that I've seen negative effects that need to be remedied. Personally, I'd try growing what you want to grow and see how it does. If you see things like clorosis or other signs of nutrient deficiencies, you could consider altering the pH of the soil. Be careful, however, as something like blossom end rot could be due to a high soil pH or it could be something as simple as not watering enough.
1 month ago
Excellent question, Janice! I struggle with  that every year. Right now, my cabbage has bolted, and my carrots, spinach and Swiss chard are starting to. I look at my garden and think I should have picked all of these earlier. When I can, freeze or dry food and then eat it later, I think it would have been better fresh. And each year, I renew my commitment to grow less so I can eat it fresher and pick it fresh so I enjoy it more. I don't have the answer. I am posting my reply to commiserate and so that I know when some people who do know the answer post what they do!
Hi Patrick -
Regarding the deformity of the new leaves, I suspect the persimmon psyllid. Do you have a microscope or know someone who does? Identifying whether an insect is causing the leaf curl would be helpful.Persimmon psyllid can contribute to fruit drop.
Also -
Do you have a male tree nearby for pollination? Lack of pollination certainly can cause to fruit drop.
I would also prune the tree to allow more sun and light into the center, and start training it into a properly structured orchard tree. I'd also thin the fruit so that you have the correct ratio of fruit to branch for the size of your tree. Thinning the fruit will help the tree retain what's left and will also make the yield from year to year more consistent.
I'd also suggest considering whether you may be over- or under-watering the tree.
Good luck and hope you get some persimmons soon!
1 month ago
Hi Collette. Sorry to hear about your persimmon tree. It does sound and look like a fungal disease that started in the soil to me, but I'm not 100% sure. Do you see any other symptoms on the stems, trunk or root crown of the tree?
Is the tree in a location where the soil drains well? Persimmons need well-draining soil.
I would definitely reduce watering. I think you are watering too much now that the tree has been in the ground a couple months. Water only when the top inch of soil is dry, probably once or twice a week.
1 month ago
Hi. Have you tried testing the pH of the soil or at least adding an acidifier and soaking it in well? The leaves definitely do not look like they are uptaking the nutrients they need from the soil to me, which is what happens when the pH is off enough. The acidifier will take a while to work too. It may take a couple months.
1 month ago
Hi, Jasper. It does look like a fungal disease to me. The large hole in the tree trunk looks like a canker and, it's hard to tell from the picture, but the area where a limb was removed looks infected as well. The fact that the center of the stems looks diseased is another piece of evidence. Some fungal diseases enter through a wound and some through the soil, but, as you can see, they travel through the center of the tree affecting the flow of nutrients and water. They are very difficult to treat. If it's possible to remove the infected limbs (meaning it wasn't soil-borne), that could be a solution. I don't really have any idea how long it will live untreated or treated - I've had trees with fungal diseases die very quickly, some I see keep going for a while.

That's just my opinion and I am not any sort of tree expert. I've just seen this a good number of times. I would definitely get a second opinion. I don't know where we you located. In the U.S., we have university extension offices that you can take something like this to and get their opinion at no charge. Another option is a certified arborist who may offer their opinion free of charge in hopes of getting some business.
1 month ago
Well, that doesn't look good. Do you see anything else unusual, e.g., black twigs, dying limbs, or damage, odd growths, discolored or weeping areas on the trunk or the root crown? If so, Pictures may be helpful.
1 month ago
Try a protection tent once you get them in the ground, one that helps keep the cold out, or put a hoophouse over it that you cover at night. We have chilly nights so I cover my peppers most nights except for in July and August. Come September, I leave the tent on day and night. My peppers LOVE IT. Sometimes I'm harvesting into November.
1 month ago
I think the biggest issue with direct sowing tomato seeds is keeping them warm enough while they germinate. They like to be 70 to 80 degrees. Keeping the seeds warm enough at night could be a struggle.

I do have a number of friends that prime their tomato seeds by putting them in a wet coffee filter, putting that in a sealed plastic bag and putting it on a heat mat until the seeds germinate. It speeds up the germination and you know what's germinated when you plant it. (Tomatoes still like to be 50 degrees or warmer at night or they will stop growing during that time and it may stunt their growth.)

Good luck! I always love a good experiment! It will be interesting to see how well it works.
1 month ago
James, I have to guess that the reason for your experience with your seedlings has to do with the soil, the small cells  the seedlings are in, and that they have not been warm enough.

Tomatoes are an odd plant in that they like really warm temperatures when they are germinating. Heat mats help a lot. The red color of your seedlings tell me they have been too chilled. What are your temps for them, day and night? They definitely don't like being colder than 50 at night and germinate best in the 70s and 80s range.

Second odd thing is that they love lots of room for their roots. My friends and I have experimented with uppotting them to gallons instead of 4" pots once they have a couple sets of true leaves, and they perform way better going directly into gallons. Bury them deep in the gallons - as deep as you can, and they will grow roots all along the buried stem.

Lastly, the soil. I have experimented with using my own compost and garden soil to grow seedlings and failed miserably. All sorts of wierd pests, fungus gnats, damping off and failure to thrive. I even tried baking the soil in the oven for an extended period of time to sterilize it. I expect there's a way to do it that that works, but I now buy seed starter mix and my experience is night and day better. A little goes a long way because I just use it either in the little 1" cells like you have or as a topping on potting soil for bigger seeds planted in bigger pots.

Good luck and thanks for sharing!