How to Help Your Plants Thrive: An Informative Guide
When you first begin gardening, diseased or wilted plants can seem like the end of the world. However, this isn’t the case at all—with the right preventative measures and care, your plants can recover and continue to thrive. As seasoned gardeners with decades of experience, we’re here to help troubleshoot common garden issues and show you how to help your plants thrive in your vertical vegetable garden.
Help Your Plants Thrive by Spotting Disease Warning Signs
Understanding Plant Illness and Remedies
When it comes to plant diseases, there are four different types of organisms that cause these infections: viruses, bacteria, fungi, and nematodes. For example, a common fungal infection in the Garden Tower® is powdery mildew (which can be prevented by keeping your plants trimmed and allowing airflow). With a keen eye, diseases can quickly be taken care of. However, it’s crucial to understand that every disease has a different treatment, though. Before you begin fighting the infection, it’s important to be able to identify the issue. While we recommend using the PictureThis app to find the issue quickly, you can also uncover the condition yourself or double-check their findings, too. To do this, you should first narrow down the type of organism that is causing the disease:
- If the disease is bacterial or fungal, symptoms typically develop on older leaves first.
- If the disease is a virus, symptoms develop on younger leaves first.
Once you’ve identified the type of organism, you can begin looking for physical indicators and symptoms. Typically, diseased plants show signs of stunted growth, wilted spots, decay, discoloration, or rapid death of leaves, but every infection is different. Once you’ve found the disease affecting your plants, it’s time for treatment. Every infection is different, and there are both homemade remedies and products available for most ailments. When possible, we recommend using non-toxic homemade remedies to shield the rest of your plants from harsh chemicals.
Treating your plants isn’t the only crucial part of this process, as it’s also important to prevent these diseases. Some preventative measures in traditional gardening aren’t necessary when you’re growing in our Garden Tower®, though. For example, it’s common practice to rotate crops to ensure that they don’t grow in the same area for a 24-month cycle to prevent diseases, but this doesn’t have to be done in our vertical vegetable garden. Healthy plants are significantly less likely to be susceptible to illnesses, so make sure you’re taking care of your garden!
Differentiate Garden Friends vs. Foes
Containing Unwanted Garden Pests
We think that the title “pests” fits our garden foes pretty well. However, the first step in controlling these pests is realizing that not every insect in your garden is bad. Some are helping your plants! Here are some common Garden Tower® friends and foes that you should familiarize yourself with before beginning:
- Common garden friends include ladybugs, spiders, hoverflies, lacewings, and more.
- Common garden foes that Garden Tower® users deal with include cabbage moths larvae, tomato hornworms, and aphids.
So, how do you get rid of unwanted insects in your garden? There are two different options—insecticide treatments, which can be commercial or homemade, and insectary plants. Insectary plants attract good bugs that will prey on pests and even repel some garden foes, too! Some of our favorite insectary plants include marigolds, nasturtiums, cilantro, thyme. Not only will these plants keep away unwanted bugs, but they’ll make your garden look great and can add a great flavor to your meals as well.
On the contrary, insecticide treatments typically depend on what type of pest you’re dealing with. No matter if you pick commercial or homemade, we recommend applying liberally in the late evening. If you’re using an insecticide that kills all bugs, though, it’s crucial to your garden’s health to only use this treatment on affected plants, as you don’t want to kill the helpful bugs, too. Additionally, if you’re looking for a more organic route, traps and barriers, such as barrier paper or apple maggot traps, can be used in addition to companion planting. Keeping your pest control organic leaves you with healthier plants and larger, flavorful harvests
Causes of Yellowing and Wilting Leaves
How to Help Your Plants With Leaf Issues Thrive
A variety of different factors can cause yellowing and wilting leaves. While many people simply think that these are symptoms of their plants being underwatered, it may be much more complex than that. Some of the causes include extreme temperatures, nutrient deficiencies, overwatering, or underwatering. Because there is such a broad spectrum of reasons your plants may be reacting this way, you should be prepared to experiment and try new things. Here are some different ways we recommend combating all of these issues:
Just like us, plants are sensitive to both warm and cold temperature changes. There are many ways to show us this stress, but yellowing and wilting leaves are common. If your area is experiencing extreme temperatures or frequent changes in temperature, this may be the cause of your leaf issues. During times of extreme heat, shade covers or misters are used to shield plants from high temperatures.
Additionally, too much or not enough water can cause yellowing or wilted leaves, too. If you’re using one of our vertical garden planters, it’s uncommon that you’re overwatering, as our draining system is designed to keep the soil at the perfect amount of moistness. However, in scenarios where your area has received a large amount of rain, we recommend putting a pop-up canopy over the Tower to limit water intake and combat overwatering.
Similar to watering amounts, too many or not enough nutrients can cause your leaves to yellow and wilt, too. Nutrient deficiencies can typically be spotted when there is a strange pattern of yellowing and the top leaves are yellowing, too. This can be fixed by adding more nutrients to the soil through compost or fertilizer. Lastly, if your soil has too many nutrients in it, it can easily be fixed by flushing it with water to disperse excess.
You can preemptively fight diseases in your vertical garden planter by learning about good gardening practices, companion planting, and signs of sick plants. Even better? You’ll have a healthy organic garden with delicious AND nutritious herbs and vegetables. Ready to learn more about planting your very own organic garden? Visit Garden Tower Project today to get started.