You might ask me "do you have trouble with slugs?" My answer would be "yes and no". Not since the year of the cucumber failure. I used to have trouble, now I avoid trouble. We learn what is coming next. We research and exercise solutions. Do I have any trouble with slugs? No. But that's not because I live in a slug free world. It's because I kill every one I see. Every time I plant cucumbers or lettuce I sprinkle Sluggo all over that very day. I sprinkle Sluggo in the strawberries. I pack it into the cracks and crevices that look like a slug hotel. I don't have trouble with slugs because I am always at war with them. ...even if they don't appear to be here. I fight them before they arrive. The same with squash bugs, deer, asparagus beetles, raccoons and flea beetles. I am always at war. Seems silly when there is no sign of the enemy? Well, no. That's just proof that the war is going well. I'm winning!
Last year's battle was against fusarium wilt. This is caused by bacteria in the soil. It rots the roots and stems where they touch the soil, and the plant "damps off". Perfectly good seedlings keel over. Sometimes they rot before they even poke through the ground. It's disheartening. I struggled to keep ahead of it.
|Large gaps are evident in my bush bean row where seedlings |
damped off before they could become established.
I had the problem in two beds, one with black beans and one with bush green beans. I've had this trouble in particularly wet years where I actually had algae growing on the soil surface in full sun, but waiting a few weeks and replanting solved the problem. Not last year. There seemed to be no stopping it.
|Discoloration of the stems is the first sign of the problem|
But one thing I noticed was that the black beans planted in the bed I'd amended for the cucumbers, were outpacing the wilt with their vigorous growth. I could stand at the bed and see where I had added the blood meal (a source of Nitrogen). The beans along the cuke row were thriving, but the beans on the other side were struggling to survive. So... this could be prevented.
|I added blood meal to the right side of the bed, but none to the left side.|
The inoculent came in a 1.5 ounce packet. A black, powdery mystery substance. You damped your seeds, roll them in the black, powdery mystery substance, and plant. So far so good. I planted two rows of purple and yellow beans from seeds packed for 2014, and on a whim used up the green ones packed for 2011. The old seeds turned to mush and only a couple sprouted, so instead I've added a row of lettuce thinned from another bed. The two goods rows are doing just fine.
|In fact, I went a little over board. These should really be thinned.|