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To Solarize, Or Not To Solarize. Toplef10To Solarize, Or Not To Solarize. 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

To Solarize, Or Not To Solarize. I22gcj10To Solarize, Or Not To Solarize. 14dhcg10

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To Solarize, Or Not To Solarize.

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Marc Iverson
Rolling Stone
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To Solarize, Or Not To Solarize. Empty To Solarize, Or Not To Solarize.

Post  Rolling Stone 6/8/2014, 7:47 pm

The daytime temps in this neck of the woods has been in the high 80s and into the 90s lately. Consequently, my tomatoes and Jalapeno have given up. They were great producers, but now, if setting a blossom, it drops off. (Staked, and yes, I water regularly and have about three inches of pine straw mulch around them.) 
     On the other hand, Scotch Bonnets, sweet potatoes, garlic and okra love this weather.
     Being in the land of two seasons, now must be the time to end the first season and prepare the tomato beds for the Fall season. The tomato, garlic and pepper beds are MM. The other bed: sweet potatoes and okra is a"Work In Process".
Those two veggies do OK in anything but stones. But WIP with MM will improve things.
     For the temporarily fallow land I do not want to plant a cover crop, nor do I want to have weeds take over while I am not looking. So:
     A. Do I solarize?
     B. Should I pile more pine straw on?
     C. Would newspaper /cardboard be best?
     D. Is blue poly tarp a better option (Last years choice)?

Advice and opinions gratefully accepted.
          Karl
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Post  Marc Iverson 6/8/2014, 8:16 pm

Solarizing can kill good things as well as bad, so I wouldn't do it without a specific reason to do it, some particular bad actor you're trying to get rid of.

Re what to plant, I noticed my patty pan squashes growing very well in our 100 degree weather last year. Their fruits grow quickly and are picked small, so their having a short season can sometimes still leave you with some veggies to show for it. Might be worth considering, especially if you can get some starts from a local nursery.
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Post  walshevak 6/8/2014, 8:45 pm

Might be worth considering, especially if you can get some starts from a local nursery.


Rolling stone is in FLa. His growing days are still long enough to sow seeds for cukes, beans, squash.


Kay

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Post  Marc Iverson 6/8/2014, 11:59 pm

Yup. He did mention that he's thinking about preparing for fall, which could mean he may be considering, a while from now, sowing fall seeds at a time when summer veggies are still growing. Losing a bit of time in the early season and a bit of time in the late season for summer veggies might recommend using starts to gain some of that time back. Or maybe not. Nothing wrong with planting seeds either.

I guess it all depends how long he wants those plants in there before pulling them. I've wondered before whether I should eke out the last few tomatoes and peppers or just pull the summer plants and put the fall/winter ones in.
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Post  Rolling Stone 6/9/2014, 9:19 am

Marc and Kay -

Thanks for the notes.

The practice around here is to put the beds "to bed" for a few of the hottest - and buggiest - months, usually July and August. So, after the last pepper picking I will pull everything (except garlic), throw some compost in and cover them until September.

Taking your advice for summer seeding I may plant some summer greens in the WIP bed. I have five nice sweet potato hills and thirty okras there and have a little extra space for something.

OK, if no solarizing or cover crops, which is the best among the other options?

Thanks, Karl
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Post  walshevak 6/9/2014, 10:59 am

I say put down a layer of newspaper and pile on the pine straw.  All will be easy to remove when you are ready to start the fall garden.

Kay

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Post  AtlantaMarie 6/9/2014, 12:28 pm

+1!
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 6/9/2014, 2:13 pm

Since you mentioned solarizing - does anyone know if that will kill mosaic virus?  I have some issues with that in my squash and don't want it to continue spreading.
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Post  sanderson 6/9/2014, 2:17 pm

Solarization is usually covering with clear plastic to really heat up the soil, etc.  If you cover the squash, they will be killed.  Is that okay?  I mean to kill the plant in order to stop the virus from spreading?

PS How hot is it up there?
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 6/9/2014, 3:47 pm

sanderson wrote:Solarization is usually covering with clear plastic to really heat up the soil, etc.  If you cover the squash, they will be killed.  Is that okay?  I mean to kill the plant in order to stop the virus from spreading?

PS  How hot is it up there?
We are already over 100 degrees.  Even my dogs are wilting  Shocked 

I would solarize the soil after this year's crop, sorry I didn't make that clear.  The squash is actually still doing quite well, the mosaic virus isn't damaging things too much at this point.  I'm seeing it on some cucumbers in another location as well.  

If the virus is spread in a wide area, I'm not sure I can do much of anything about it.  If I solarize one bed and the one next door has it, I'm not sure how it's spread.  Is it spread via bugs biting the plants?
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