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The Garden Guru

Growing season woes

Jim Boxberger
Posted 6/18/21

We are now well into the growing season and I have heard about a lot of problems cropping up this year.

The crazy weather on Memorial Day weekend and then the scorching heat the following weekend …

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The Garden Guru

Growing season woes


We are now well into the growing season and I have heard about a lot of problems cropping up this year.

The crazy weather on Memorial Day weekend and then the scorching heat the following weekend have a lot to do with the early season growing problems. I talked about the problems with young seedlings and the temperature change last week, but now some of the older plants are coming down with problems associated with that temperature swing as well.

The biggest problem has been fungus affecting leaves, stems and even roots. Rust, powdery mildew, black spot and mold have all been showing up because the temperature swings that we saw over the past few weeks have stressed the plants, which weakens their immune system.

Just like you catching a cold when you get run down, when plants get stressed and run down, they can catch a fungus. Fungus is everywhere, all the time, but until your plants get stressed it doesn’t bother them. One product that can help is a copper or sulfur based fungicide. Both are organic and natural elements that can benefit even the roots of your plants.

If your fungus problem is severe there are stronger chemical fungicides that can be used on your vegetables as well as all your flowers. Another treatment for your plants is to fight fire with fire, by adding mycorrhizal fungi. Products that contain mycorrhizal fungi can be added to the soil around your plants and the mycorrhiza form a symbiotic relationship with your plants’ roots to help strengthen both the roots and the entire plant.

Most of these products are readily available at your local garden center, but some products are in extremely short supply as the supply chain seems to be having more problems each week.

That brings me to another problem we have been dealing with since last year, shortages. So many companies are short staffed or still closed due to lack of employees that the supply chain has dried up on many products.

Japanese beetle season starts in two weeks and most distributors are almost out of beetle traps. We ordered early for what we thought we will sell based on last year’s sales, but if we sell out early, we probably won’t be able to restock in a timely fashion to meet customer demand. We had to bring in canning jars in January even though we knew they wouldn’t be selling until June.

Two of our three suppliers for canning jars never even received their spring shipment this year, so I am glad we got ours early. But we used to be able to special order items for customers all the time when we didn’t have something in stock, but now that is impossible as it is so hard just to find product.

And this is not just a problem for garden centers, lumber yards, home centers and even the box stores are all fighting to find products to sell. This problem hasn’t gotten any better since the problems we had last summer. So if you see something you want, buy it, don’t wait before it’s gone, you might not see it again for a year.

The last issue of the week is, where are all the bees? I have only seen one honeybee all spring. I have talked with a few other beekeepers as well and all say the same thing, their bees had a rough winter and seeing swarms this spring is a rarity.

I have three swarm boxes set out trying to attract a bee swarm and nothing so far this year. Last year I was able to catch two swarms’ and I didn’t even have a swarm box out until after July fourth weekend.

Since bees swarm more in the late spring and early summer, I thought I would have seen something by now. If you’re into bees, let me know what you have experienced with them this year.


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