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Post  dstack on 4/14/2014, 10:24 pm

I'm so disappointed that after so much work and planning that tonight I discovered that root knot nematodes killed one of my grape tomato plants (Everglade tomato).  My other plants are at their peek of growth and production. So it was odd to me that in the middle of these thriving vines, I have one that was drained of it's vigor. So I pulled it up, and sure enough... ROOT KNOTS!   affraid  I was like... you've GOT to be kidding!  pale  

If you've followed my posts you may know I'm only in my third season of SFG-ing of three 4'x8' table-top boxes built last Sept., and I've been SO careful with sanitation of tools and careful about contamination that I've been accused of being OCD about nematodes and sanitation. Apparently I wasn't careful enough!  So now I'm... TICKED (and careful not to use profanity here). Evil or Very Mad  

I could drive myself nuts over what went wrong, but I've known that this could be a very real possibility. All it takes as one cat to dig around in nematode infested soil and then jump their contaminated paws into a bed.... DONE!  (But I adore my cats, and would never get rid of them.)


MY PLAN: 
Over the next few weeks I'll plant lots of French Marigolds in this box among the nightshades and their companions, but ESPECIALLY where that tomato plant died. And I'll start cuttings of the tomatoes and eggplant ASAP, which I'll keep potted in my sanitized pots, and mushroom compost.  Come June, I'll solarize the box for 5 or 6 weeks. 

One thing I like about SFG is that it's easy to solarize, so there's at least that for a positive. [SIGH!]
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Post  sanderson on 4/15/2014, 1:20 am

I am so, so sorry about the nematodes.   very sad   "We" worked so hard to get those beds perfect.

I understand about your cats.  Sweetie chewed down 3 young corn stalks.  I wasn't diligent with the taunt bird netting fence.   silly me
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Post  Rahab222 on 4/15/2014, 1:23 am

Nematodes are the reason we're supposed to rotate our tomato plants and not plant in the same bed every year.  I think the rotation is 3 years?  Most home gardeners, like myself, don't have the space to rotate.  Next year, you might consider planting Big Beef tomatoes because these are nematode resistant.  This is what I did this year.  Big Beef produces large fruits that are perfect for slicing for sandwiches, are firm and have full flavor.  They are indeterminate, which simply means these are huge, plants that don't have a pre-determined size.  They produce fruit in 70 days.  My plants didn't do much at first, but then I got a spider mite infestation throughout my whole garden area and sprayed everything down with liquid seaweed (1 tablespoon/gallon of water), every two weeks.  The extra work from the infestation nearly killed me, but I've got a hold on it now and my Big Beef tomato plants are thriving, so I guess they liked the seaweed juice.  They are now four feet tall and covered with flowers.
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Post  dstack on 4/15/2014, 5:58 am

@Rahab222 wrote:Nematodes are the reason we're supposed to rotate our tomato plants and not plant in the same bed every year.  I think the rotation is 3 years?  Most home gardeners, like myself, don't have the space to rotate.  Next year, you might consider planting Big Beef tomatoes because these are nematode resistant.  This is what I did this year...
  
Thanks Rahab. My next step was to seek out nematode resistant varieties. So I'll keep Big Beef in mind. With three beds I'll be able to rotate somewhat. After solarizing the bed, I'll do a rotation.  Although, I'm afraid that I've probably contaminated one or two of the other beds with my trowel that I use exclusively for the SFG beds. I never thought of having to sanitize it between beds in case of infection. 
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Post  GloriaG on 4/15/2014, 8:36 am

Hi destack,

You might want to have the MM in that box tested.  When I had them in one of my boxes I contacted the extension service who told me that they multiply best in "soil" that is low in nutrients and beneficial mychorrhizae. 

They suggested adding lots of organic matter and a mychorrhizae supplement like "Agrispon"  http://www.amazon.com/Agrispon-16-oz-Concentrate/dp/B002WK5LIC/ref=sr_1_sc_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1397564448&sr=8-2-spell&keywords=agraspon.  

I was dumbfounded when I found that box tested only trace amounts of Nitrogen and Potash because I always add compost when I replant.

I didn't solarize the box, but I did add tons of compost, and some adrispon then let it stay empty for the summer.  It seems to be OK now, but I have learned that it's a good idea to test ALL my boxes regularly.

Good luck,
Gloria
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Post  dstack on 4/15/2014, 10:15 am

@GloriaG wrote:Hi destack,

You might want to have the MM in that box tested.  When I had them in one of my boxes I contacted the extension service who told me that they multiply best in "soil" that is low in nutrients and beneficial mychorrhizae...

Good luck,
Gloria
Thanks Gloria. I've had samples taken for testing in January, and I'm STILL waiting on results! I hate to complain when it's a university student who is using my garden in her studies. I'll see if I can get a status update. BTW, as OCD as I've been about nematodes, I've thoroughly done my research, and even the nematodologist at UF was impressed with thorough and extensive questions that I had for him. I've need OBSESSED with the subject. So this post is mostly to vent my frustration.
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Post  sanderson on 4/15/2014, 12:20 pm

@dstack wrote: I've need been OBSESSED with the subject. So this post is mostly to vent my frustration.

Very Happy  This Forum also provides free therapy!!   Very Happy
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Post  dstack on 4/15/2014, 12:31 pm

@sanderson wrote:
@dstack wrote: I've need been OBSESSED with the subject. So this post is mostly to vent my frustration.

Very Happy  This Forum also provides free therapy!!   Very Happy
LOL! Yes it is is therapeutic on this forum! And thanks for the correction Sanderson. We have a new strict "NO Cell Phone" policy at work, so that was the best I could do on my morning break.  Very Happy  


I really do appreciate this forum!
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Post  Marc Iverson on 4/15/2014, 9:12 pm

Ugh, sorry to hear about that, dstack. You certainly did your best to keep the nematodes out of your garden beds. Like you say, though, it's so easy to contaminate soil. An animal walking, an animal pooping, a little detritus walked or tracked in or carried stuck onto a bug or bird, spores or seeds carried by the wind ... At least you tried your best, but unfortunately success in such things is impossible to guarantee and perhaps isn't even all that likely in the long run. Since you couldn't forever eliminate the problem, I hope instead you find a way to successfully manage it.

This is one reason why I'm trying to slowly wean myself away from nursery plants, too. They can come from almost anywhere and carry almost anything with them.
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Post  llama momma on 4/15/2014, 9:24 pm

Marc that's an interesting point about possibly bringing problems into our precious gardens from purchased nursery plants. I never thought of it.  Wonder how often it happens.  A scary thought!   Shocked
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Post  dstack on 4/16/2014, 6:00 am

Yes, that's a good point to keep in mind Marc. At least I know that this is not how my box got contaminated since I planted all of mine from seed and cuttings.
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Root Knot Nematodes in my nightshade box!!! Empty Great news today... the infection looks to be contained in the one square.

Post  dstack on 4/19/2014, 10:16 pm

Good news in the garden: Today I inspected roots surrounding the nematode infested square (1st pic/center square), and fortunately it looks like the infestation has not spread to the other plants. So I planted lots of French Marigolds in and around the square. French Marigolds produce a chemical that kills root knot nematodes. I may not have to solarize the box this summer after all. We'll see.


The infected square is in the center with newly planted Marigold seedlings.
Root Knot Nematodes in my nightshade box!!! Nemato10
Root Knot Nematodes in my nightshade box!!! Evergl11

In general, the garden has been enjoying April showers... Shown below: 
Collard greens, Jade bush beans, zucchini, Australian brown onions, bok choi, swiss chard, romaine lettuce, golden beets, and purple eyed poll beans (not seen behind the collards).


Root Knot Nematodes in my nightshade box!!! Box2-a11
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Post  sanderson on 4/20/2014, 1:09 am

dstack, that 3rd photo looks like an ad for SFG.  Very Happy 
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Post  Marc Iverson on 4/20/2014, 2:01 am

If that's the only square that's infected, how about throwing out that square foot of soil? It's not that expensive compared to risking the whole box.
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Post  dstack on 4/20/2014, 6:52 am

@Marc Iverson wrote:If that's the only square that's infected, how about throwing out that square foot of soil?  It's not that expensive compared to risking the whole box.
I hadn't considered that. I trust that the French Marigolds will do their job. There is a chance that it has actually spread, but that the knots aren't yet visable. If that's the case, I may solarise this summer.
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Post  dstack on 4/20/2014, 7:22 am

@sanderson wrote:dstack,  that 3rd photo looks like an ad for SFG.  Very Happy 
 Very Happy  Thanks Sanderson!
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Post  dstack on 7/10/2014, 9:11 pm

It turns out that the species of RK nematodes that I have LOVE the marigolds that I planted! LOL! Oh my! When my master gardener friend gave me the seeds saying that they're an old variety of French marigolds, I thought, what if these aren't actual French...?  He's been known to be wrong about things before. 

The marigold article that the UF nemadotologist that sent me warns that if you don't know what you're doing you could be perpetuating your nematode problem. Now I've seen this with my own eyes. But the article also says that French marigolds seem to kill the widest variety of nematodes. Either what I have is not a French... or I have an exceptional species of RK nematodes! I can't believe this!  Evil or Very Mad 

Live and learn, right? I invested so much time and energy in even planting those marigolds around all my papaya plants. I've ripped them all out of the ground. I won't be growing those anymore. 

So, now I'll be solarizing most of this bed. I think the onion squares are safe. I'll pot the eggplants.
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Post  Marc Iverson on 7/10/2014, 11:55 pm

Sorry to hear you have to do that. You took a bit of a gamble there.
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Post  GloriaG on 7/11/2014, 12:24 am

Hi dstack,

I'm sorry to hear your still having RK nematode problems, but please don't give up on your marigolds. 

When I was researching RK nematodes for my garden, I found a good article about the use of marigolds.   http://blog.nola.com/dangill/2008/05/the_truth_about_marigolds.html 

According to Charles Overstreet, extension nematologist with the LSU AgCenter marigolds act as a trap crop.  They function by attracting the RK nematodes then prevent them from feeding so they die. 

So it sounds like your marigolds are actually doing their job very well.
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Post  yolos on 7/11/2014, 12:26 am

I understand that nematodes are prevalent throughout Florida.  Some growers just plant the nematode susceptible plants in pots and other plants that are not affected greatly by the nematodes are planted in beds. 

You probably have already been to the U of F website, but just incase here is one article about nematodes in Florida.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ng005

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Post  sanderson on 7/11/2014, 2:05 am

Dstack, Gloria has given you a glimmer of hope. Maybe the marigolds are working?
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Post  dstack on 7/11/2014, 6:05 am

@GloriaG wrote:Hi dstack,

I'm sorry to hear your still having RK nematode problems, but please don't give up on your marigolds. 

When I was researching RK nematodes for my garden, I found a good article about the use of marigolds.   http://blog.nola.com/dangill/2008/05/the_truth_about_marigolds.html 

According to Charles Overstreet, extension nematologist with the LSU AgCenter marigolds act as a trap crop.  They function by attracting the RK nematodes then prevent them from feeding so they die. 

So it sounds like your marigolds are actually doing their job very well.
GloriaG, I wish that was the case here, but I'm certain that these nematodes were thriving by the looks of the big knots. About 1/4 of the marigolds had knots as big as you would see on a badly infected tomato plant. Plus, the infection spread considerably in the box to my Seminole Squash. I'm better off solarizing the box. 

We don't know for certain that those are French Marigolds. I got seeds from someone who got the seeds from someone who told him that they were French Marigolds.  So, first of all I've destroyed all of the French Marigold imposters!

Secondly, I want to buy what I know to be French Marigolds, and I'll do a test. I'll pot them using the infected soil.  Alter a few months I'll use the same soil with a tomato plant. I should know pretty quickly if it's a super variety of nematode or not. And I'll do the same with a dwarf variety that I have. So I'm not totally giving up on marigolds.

Here's the University of Florida report:
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ng045
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Post  GloriaG on 7/11/2014, 10:26 am

Hi dstack,

I wish you luck.  I know from experience that RK nematodes are a really nasty problem and it sounds like something you'll have to deal with regularly if you plant in boxes that are sitting on the ground.

Gloria
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Post  dstack on 7/11/2014, 11:33 am

@GloriaG wrote:Hi dstack,

I wish you luck.  I know from experience that RK nematodes are a really nasty problem and it sounds like something you'll have to deal with regularly if you plant in boxes that are sitting on the ground.

Gloria
Fortunately they are not. I've got table tops on 16" of cinder block. I'll definitely rotate so that my nightshades are in a different box next time.  Laughing
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Post  dstack on 7/11/2014, 9:22 pm

You'd think these are RKN galls on tomatoes, but these are marigold roots...

Root Knot Nematodes in my nightshade box!!! Marigo11

I covered most of the bed to be solarized over the next 5-6 weeks. 

Root Knot Nematodes in my nightshade box!!! Solari10

My (real) French Marigold experiment begins. These are planted in infected soil... 

Root Knot Nematodes in my nightshade box!!! French10
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