New Gardener Questions

Asked May 29, 2015, 10:36 AM EDT

1. We planted about a month and a half ago in a raised box with leafpro and water every day and now some leaves are turning brownaround edges. I have noticed baby fruit starting on the squash, zuquinni, and cucumber. Is it tjust time to start fertrilizing?The eggplant leaves have little holes in the leaves and i saw tiny little flies on them.? 2.I want to be as organic as possible. I have three things to try/question: urine, old or leftover coffee brew, and fish guts&heads that i blended into a puree when i cleaned my white perch this year. What's your take on each of these as a fertilizer and/or pesticide?

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

The browning edges on the leaves of your brassicas are most likely the result of weathering or perhaps over- or under-watering, but the plants seem healthy enough. The eggplant is being attacked by flea beetles, a very common pest on eggplants. There's not much you can do to control flea beetles. It's a little late now, but you could have covered the young developing plants with a floating row cover until the blooms appeared. Some people will sprinkle flour or a white, powdery, kaolin clay product (Surround) on their eggplants to deter flea beetles.
Yes, it is appropriate to provide a side dressing of fertilizer when the flowers and fruit begin to form.
You choice of organic fertilizer is pretty heavy with nitrogen and may burn the plants, even if only applied to the surrounding soil. While the mixture does contain measurable nutrients, they should not be applied to the foliage as either a fertilizer or as a pesticide. You should dilute the mixture with an equal amount of water (at least). The fish residue would have been better used by burying them in the soil before planting. The coffee is slightly acidic and should not be used excessively. Coffee and coffee grounds would be better suited to applying around your potatoes, azaleas and rhododendrons. Urine can contain pathogens which might be deleterious to the health of a consumer, especially if applied on or near leafy vegetables or root vegetables..
We encourage you to become familiar with our sister website: http://extension.umd.edu/growit
especially the 'Vegetable' section.
LS