By Darrell Blackwelder
For Farm Carolina
SALISBURY - As the leaf color changes, many will have outdoor maintenance chores, including both landscape and vegetable questions. Many people have called with various questions about lawns and gardens. Here are a few questions from the public:
Q: I have turnips and the leaves are covered with spots. What are these spots and how can I control them?
A: There are three common fungal leaf diseases on greens: cercospora leaf spot, white spot and anthracnose. All three diseases are favored by wet conditions and are usually spread by wind or rain, but their activity varies based on temperature. Cool temperatures and abundant moisture favor these diseases. Make sure your seed is treated. Maintain proper soil fertility via a soil test and rotate your crops. Do not cultivate or work the garden when plants are wet or water overhead. Visit www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/pp/notes/oldnotes/vg14.htm for more complete information.
Q: My vegetable garden is spent and we're not planting a fall garden. You have mentioned winter cover crops for home gardeners. How and what crops do I plant?
A: You need to deep plow if possible to expose roots and soil insects to the weather. Over-seed with cover crops such as small grains, red or crimson clover, Austrian winter peas or a blend of these. Turn these under 6 weeks before planting in the spring to help increase the tilth and organic matter.
Q: I have a spot in my lawn that turned dark after the power company put up a new outdoor light. It is the exact shadow caused by the power pole. Did the light influence the growth of my lawn?
A: Yes. When the power company switched the outdoor light, it produced a different wavelength to the plants thus allowing the lawn to receive continuous light and therefore continue to grow. The shaded area turned a different color from lack of light. For example, poinsettias are shaded to make them show color earlier in the season while others are lighted quicker and lights are added to produce color later in the season.
Q: We found this bug in a stack of cedar shakes on a house we are painting. Do you know what it is?
A: Interestingly enough, it is a Halloween bug or jack-o- lantern beetle. It is a predacious stink bug that usually appears in the fall.
Q: My cabbage and broccoli are not growing that well. Aren't they supposed grow well in the fall?
A: Cool season vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. have weak root systems and need fall fertilization. Most leafy vegetables will benefit from an application of nitrogen three and six weeks after planting. Visit www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-8001.html for more detailed information.
Darrell Blackwelder is county extension director, Rowan County Center. 704-216-8970.