Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lawn Problems And Garden Produce

We dropped Alex off Sunday for her week and Camp Wesley Woods, so Bev and I are all alone. Not knowing what else to do we just spent Monday making love all day – and I have some ocean front property in Arizona for sale if you buy that.

We finally had some nice weather the last week with highs in the 80’s, low’s in the low 60’s (back in the 90's now), and the humidity was so low it felt like fall – the downside is we need rain. Fortunately we have a watering system for the lawn and the garden.

Speaking of the garden, we’re staring to get some tomatoes – mostly paste type but still delicious. I grow mostly the paste type tomatoes for canning and a few slicing varieties to eat on. Notice the absence of low foliage, which had to be removed due to the fungal blight – the cooler dry weather helped out though.

Our blueberries are now ripe enough and Bev picked a few while I mowed the lawn. They start out green, then get pinkish, and then blue, after which they get pump and that’s when to pick them. Here they are on the bush and the bowl – they are so sweet and delicious - I've been just getting a hand full and eating them like peanuts.

Our neighbor across the road can’t get his blueberries to grow due to not acidifying his soil, but he has a crop of tame blackberries that are doing great and they are delicious. The plants are just loaded with red berries that will mostly go to waste if we don’t help them by eating a few :-) – it's their vacation home and they are only there occasionally.

I had a volunteer come up in my compost pile and was in hopes it was a melon of some sort, but it turned out to be a pumpkin and this one is the entire crop - I believe it is a carver and not an eater.

I used to try, with reasonable success, to have a Southern Living quality lawn, but after untold hours, chemicals, and money, I’ve decided to quit fighting Mother Nature and work with her. My place is bordered on two sides by woods with all of the plants and seeds native to them and on the other two sides by a cow pasture and a yard, both of which are full of clover and Bermuda grass.

One of the difficulties of growing non-native plants in this area is the high amount of fungal problems brought on by the hot humid weather. It creates issues for vegetable growers, fruit farmers (especially peaches), and cool season grass lawns, such as fescue. I took some shots of my lawn to show you the problem. Too often when a lawn starts browning, the natural tendency is to water it, but this could well make the problem worse. Grass suffering from drought stress will usually take on a bluish hue before browning, whereas fungal problems result in a green healthy lawn beginning to brown – either in patches or in general. So if your grass begins to brown even though it’s rained recently or you’ve watered it, think fungus. It can be treated with an effective systemic product called Bayleton, which protects it from the inside or by spraying with a fungicide such as chlorothalonil.

The way I’ve decided to work with, rather than against nature, is to allow the Bermuda to take over, even though I consider it a weed. It has two primary issues – it turns brown in winter (but brown is a nice color) and it is very invasive, which can be controlled with a little Roundup. I use much less of a safer chemical this way than trying to have the fescue lawn, so it will be easier on me, my wallet and the environment. The nice green areas are the heat and humidity loving Bermuda, which will pretty well deal with the other weeds and can be mowed long or short, as is done on golf courses.

Now if you ever call me to your home to troubleshoot this lawn problem, I’ll first ask if you’ve had a visit from your grandchildren. And if you say yes, I’ll tell you your lawn is likely suffering from pitch-a-tent-alitis and you may just have to over seed this fall.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.



  1. They are calling for 99 here on Thursday! I got up early this AM and started my watering. I posted my blueberries today, though they don't look nearly as happy as yours.

  2. I've never heard the term paste tomatoes. I've got lots of green tomatoes right now, we're probably about three weeks behind you for any of them even thinking about turning red. Great post, lots of good info. Thanks for taking the time to educate us.

  3. I wish I had a neighbor with a blueberry plant!

  4. II also am not familiar with the term "paste" tomatoes, but they look really good. Right now, I'd be happy with any tomato that was red instead of green! Maybe in a couple more weeks! Thanks for sharing all the wonderful pictures and information with us. Hope you had a great 4th of July! :)

  5. Hi Larry, We are desperate for some rain up here on the plateau also. George and I got out and watered the plants/flowers, etc. really good this morning... Even our Rhododendron leaves are turning yellow. This is the hottest summer I can remember since we moved here in 2003.

    We had a drought in '07---but it wasn't this hot in addition to the drought.... I hope we get some much-needed rain SOON.

    Have a good day--and stay COOL.

  6. It was 93 here about 2 hours ago, but a thunderstorm blew through and knocked it back to 81. Hooray! A guy who works for us won't use lawn products. He tells his wife that crabgrass is "manly grass" and he won't grow any other kind. It makes me laugh. I'm jealous of your blueberries!

  7. Will you keep the bermuda grass from your garden with a barrier of roundup?

  8. As has been the case all year, we're having opposite weather. We had a warmer than usual winter with too little snowfall, then a crazy wet spring with record-breaking rainfall. My plants are drowning. Thanks for info on lawn browning. I have a lot of lawn to look after. I love the blueberry photos and am jealous of your tomatoes. Great post, Larry!

  9. Oh,and I LOVED pitch-a-tent-alitis! You're funny.

  10. I really enjoyed this post Larry! More! More! We have really had enough rain in south Mississippi for the entire southeast here lately. It's either bone dry and slamming hot or pouring rain for days and days. Course with the rain it's cooler, but the plants are a bit pale.

    Pitch-a-tent-alitis indeed LOL!! My biggest lawn problem is weeds, weeds and more weeds. I bought weed & feed & never got around to putting it down because of the heat. Eh...

    What variety are your "paste" tomatoes?

  11. I don't even want to see my water bill this month. Did you see the differential on the news comparing last year's rain to this years?


I appreciate and enjoy your comments