Column: What’s wrong in my garden?

Commentary by Noah Herron

Harvesting season is upon us and you may start noticing problems in the garden. We have noticed a surge of customers bringing in tomatoes and other fruits to have us diagnosis the problem. Here are a few common occurrences you should look out for and how to remedy them:

IO-Herron end rot

Blossom End Rot

Symptoms: This is a very common occurrence on tomatoes and peppers. Fruits start to rot from bottom up. Looks like a brown, ripply skin.

Causes: A couple things cause this: dry weather following wet spell or insufficient calcium in soil.

Control: Mulch around tomatoes to even moisture. Add lime to the soil.

Verticillum Wilt Disease

Symptoms: Leaves turn yellow and dry up. Starts from bottom and moves up.

Causes: Caused by soil borne fungus and can affect several different vegetables.  Fungus can persist for years. Blocks uptake of water and nutrients eventually killing the plant.

Control: Crop rotation and resistant varieties is important. Remove affected plants and burn.

IO-Herron cabbage looper

Cabbage Looper

Symptoms: Holes in leaves mainly between the veins; stunted plants.

Crops: Mostly brassicas: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and mustards.

Control: Remove and discard. Use floating row covers. Apply Bacillus thuringensis.

IO-Herron Hornworm

Tomato Hornworm

Symptoms: Caterpillars feed on foliage and fruit; leave eaten spots on fruits; defoliation.

Crops: Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers.

Control: Handpick and drop in soapy water. Apply Bacilus thuringensis on plants. Attract beneficial insects to garden.

Noah Herron is owner of Urban Farmer Garden Center, 4105 W. Ind. 32, Westfield. To contact Herron, call 600-2807 or visit