Avoid Over-Crowding the Vegetable PlantsAugust 04, 2011
Overcrowding in a greenhouse — or even in a planting bed — is a sure-fire way to invite pest and disease problems. And, if you’re like me and unwilling to spray pesticides and fungicides, then keeping your greenhouse clean and well-ventilated, and being sure plant crowding is minimal is ideal.
So, perhaps I really should have titled this post: “Oh, here go hell come.” (Calvin Tran).
Yep, my greenhouse is just asking for it this year.
Yes, it is well ventilated. But, it is also terribly over crowded with overlapping vines and leaves of multiple cucumber and tomato plants.
I’m watching it closely. Thinning the tomato suckers almost daily. Cutting out cucumber leaves that look suspicious. And, I’m unwinding areas that are really getting thick and are building up moisture, which fungus and mildew loves — especially when its coupled with little airflow and warm temperatures. (Sounds like a greenhouse to me.)
So far, I’m doing okay with things as crowded as they are. The cucumbers are producing beautifully. And, the tomatoes, while still only green, are laden with fruit. Air is flowing through the vent and the dutch door windows. Bees are traveling in and pollinating. Fruit is forming, and so far disease isn’t.
Protecting both these crops from this year’s incredibly long spring and late arrival of summer, has been a good thing in the greenhouse. But, I may have over-done it. And, I may pay for it later.
If the vines start getting sick, they’ll be culled. Again, I’m checking them at least once a day. But, really kids, don’t try this at home. It requires a trained eye and regular, diligent inspections to make this work.
And, let’s be honest, in the end, it may end up failing completely. So, please, for your own sanity and success, follow the old adage: do as I say, not as I do. All this maintenance and worry probably isn’t worth the potential of an extra tomato late in the season. My greed may result in a total loss. Or, if I work hard at it, I might get an overwhelming glut.
Stay tuned. Updates will follow.