Gardening Questions Answered

Gardening Questions Answered

Question from Marie-Eve, June 8th, 2015

My radishes are all eaten by a worm or something? I had noticed it last year in another bed.., and had heard to add somecoffee grinds to the soil, I did it and unfortunately, it didnt you have any suggestions?


Your radishes are most likely eaten by root maggots.  The coffee grinds might have been added too late to make a difference. I have had this problem as well.  Your carrots and beets should still be okay but remove all the radishes to be sure.  I would advise planting radishes away from everything else, in a separate container like a separate planter and try purchased soil (mixed with peat – All Pro – Canadian Tire – its a big bag so if you don’t want to go to that expense then pick up some sterilized soil from Wal Mart).  Radishes need to be watered steady to keep them from becoming woody and tasteless so you can even do these at home on your porch – they do like a bit of shade as well.  Quick turn around time so you can harvest them and plant another batch at the same time.  Radishes are at their peak for only a few days and that’s probably when the pesky root maggots find them – don’t ask me how – all of a sudden they are there!


Question from Doug, July 7th, 2015

Tomato Leaf Problem

Hi Master Gardener, what do you think the problem is with these tomatoes ? The leaves are curled up and not growing and the plant seems to be growing taller in between leaf sets s compared to our other tomatoes. It is only affecting three plants, the others in the plot seem fine. Thanks!



The stems between the leaves have grown longer due to bolting from the extreme warm weather we’ve been having as well as additional light for this time of year; some varieties are more affected than others (and if your other tomatoes are a different variety that would explain why they are not affected). 


As for the leaf curl, to be sure it is not caused by bugs, please put some gloves on and look inside one of the leaves to see if there are any critters in there.  If so, please let me know and we’ll figure it out from there.  If not, then damage is most commonly from either of two problems.  One of the most common causes is that they have inadvertently been sprayed with chemical drift from a weed killer.  New growth is affected first but older leaves may also become twisted, curled or deformed.  Chemical spray can drift quite far, especially on a windy day.
 The second cause, “leaf roll” can happen when there is a wide variation between day and night temperatures, again certain varieties are more susceptible than others, but leaf roll does not harm plants.  If curled or rolled-up leaves are the ONLY symptom, and the plants otherwise seem fine, free of disease and pests, do not worry about it. But this is your call, is it chemical drift?  If so, the plants should be pulled and burnt, not composted.  If you think it’s leaf roll then continue on and make sure to water regularly, evenly and thoroughly; remember to fertilize as tomatoes do require regular fertilizing.


Question from Terry, June 1st, 2015

Pests eating greens

I noticed that my row of greens, that I had big plans to savour, is being eaten by something.
I checked the greens of a few other plots as well and so are they.
Do you have any ideas on what is eating our plants and how to STOP them?
As well, am I going to have to pull this row and start over? 🙁





If there are no slime trails, then it is not slugs.  It is, most likely flea beetles or something akin to flea beetles.  They love fresh, tender leaves, like we do.  I have a couple of suggestions.  Leave the mesclun you have growing, use it as a decoy/sacrificial lamb to keep the insects occupied and yes, replant. Good quality seed is hugely important for superior yield, taste, diseases and insect resistance and has been tested through seed trials.  I would recommend Vesey Seeds and have had great success with Green Forest (romaine type lettuce), Vulcan (variegated lettuce) and any variety of Mesclun as well as other greens (spinach, chard, kale, etc).  I get most of my seeds from Vesey’s. You can go online for contact info and to request a catalogue and you may be able to order online as well. There are no shipping charges and they are fairly prompt in sending out seed right away.  Don’t worry, its not too late to replant, in fact you should replant a bit and then again in a few weeks time.  My other suggestion is that when you replant, once the plants start coming up, put some foil mulch down on either side of the row/s.  Somehow this disorients insects from laying eggs by your plants. It doesn’t look as nice but it works.  The flea beetles are too little to pick off by hand so also try spraying your plants with water – give them a good shot to dislodge them.  Put up some sticky traps and make your own with yellow poster board coated with Vaseline, put on a stick and in your patch and see how many you can catch.  I am iffy about insecticidal soaps or even garlic spray which are efficient in killing bad bugs because they also kill the good bugs which you don’t want to do.  You want to attract the good bugs – lady bugs, green lacewings, parasitic wasps, carabid beetles by not using insecticidal soaps or sprays.  Row covers are another alternative but difficult in a raised bed.  You may be able to brainstorm and think of some kind of cover you can make to cover your greens, screening or some kind of fine netting.  I have metal screening covering my cabbages to keep out the cabbage moth and it is very effective.  I hope this all helps.


Question from Jailin, July 13th, 2015

We aren’t sure what is wrong with this zucchini leaf?

Burnt Squash Leaves


Looking at your picture, I would say the leaves look burnt.  I can see that the plant is near the greenhouse wall – if the wall is up and the sun is pouring in – it could be burning the leaves.  It’s been so unseasonly hot! Next, I see the soil is looking dry.  Please ensure to water and water well, on a regular basis, especially during this very hot summer.  Also, be sure to fertilize. Use a weak solution (about a tablespoon of liquid Miracle Gro mixed in a bucket of water) every time you water. Other than that, you have a great looking zucchini plant! Does your plant have blossoms on it yet?  If so, zucchini will follow – very early this year!  I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.