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Cercospora Disease Treatment

Cercospora Disease Treatment

Cercospora is a fungal disease that can affect a wide range of plants, including fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants. This disease is caused by various species of the fungal genus Cercospora. Cercospora disease treatment can be provided in several ways.

What is Cercospora?

Cercospora is a fungal disease that affects plants. The disease causes leaf spots, which can be circular, oval, or irregularly shaped, and can range in color from yellow to brown. The fungus attacks the leaves of plants, and in severe cases, it can cause defoliation.

Where can Cercospora be found?

Cercospora can be found in many parts of the world. It is commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions, but it can also occur in temperate regions. The disease can affect a wide range of plants, including fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants.

What causes Cercospora?

Cercospora is caused by various species of the fungal genus Cercospora. The fungus thrives in warm, moist environments, making it more prevalent in humid climates. The disease is often spread through wind and rain, as the spores are easily carried from plant to plant.

How do you identify Cercospora infection?

Cercospora infection can be identified by the appearance of leaf spots on the plant. These spots can be circular, oval, or irregularly shaped and can range in color from yellow to brown. In some cases, a yellow halo may appear around the spot. As the disease progresses, the spots may coalesce, causing the affected areas of the leaf to turn brown and die. In severe cases, the leaves may curl and become distorted, and the plant may experience defoliation.

Cercospora is caused by various species of the fungal genus Cercospora disease treatment can be handled using different methods

It is important to note that leaf spots can be caused by a variety of plant diseases, so it is essential to properly diagnose the issue. If you suspect that your plant is infected with Cercospora, it is recommended that you consult a local plant pathologist or extension service for proper identification and treatment options.

What does Cercospora do to plants?

Cercospora can cause significant damage to plants. The disease attacks the leaves of plants, causing leaf spots that can be unsightly and affect the plant’s ability to photosynthesize. In severe cases, Cercospora can cause defoliation, weakening the plant and making it more susceptible to other diseases.

How to treat Cercospora?

The best way to execute Cercospora treatment is to prevent its spread. This can be done by ensuring plants have proper spacing and adequate air circulation. Fungicides can also be used to treat Cercospora. According to a study by the University of Arkansas, fungicides containing azoxystrobin and pyraclostrobin were effective in controlling Cercospora on cucurbits (pumpkins, cucumbers, squash, etc.). Additionally, removing infected leaves and plant debris can help to reduce the spread of the disease.

Cercospora is a fungal disease that can affect a wide range of plants. The disease is caused by various species of the fungal genus Cercospora and can be found in many parts of the world. Cercospora attacks the leaves of plants, causing leaf spots and, in severe cases, defoliation. Cercospora disease treatment is handled through proper spacing, adequate air circulation, fungicides, and removing infected leaves and plant debris. By taking these steps, gardeners and farmers can reduce the spread of Cercospora and help to protect their crops.


  • McGrath, M. T. (2017). Cercospora Leaf Spot: A Threat to Vegetable Crops. Cornell Vegetable Program. Retrieved from

  • Yang, X., Wu, S., Wu, T., Lin, S., & Guo, L. (2017). Efficacy of Fungicides against Cercospora Leaf Spot on Cucurbits and Cercospora Leaf Blight on Soybeans. Plant Health Progress, 18(4), 224-228. doi:10.1094/PHP-04-17-0020-RS.

Beet Gardening for Success and Food

Beet Gardening for Success and Food

Beets are a root vegetable that has been cultivated for thousands of years. They are biennials grown as an annual in the garden. Their origin is unclear, but they are believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region or possibly in Egypt. The ancient Greeks and Romans used beets for medicinal purposes and as food. Beets were also used as a natural dye, particularly for fabric and leather. Today, they are grown all over the world, with the largest producers being Russia, the United States, and Poland. Beet Gardening for Success and Food is not difficult.

Types and Varieties of Beets

There are several varieties of beets, each with its own unique characteristics. The most common are red beets, golden beets, and chioggia beets.

Red beets are the most common. They have a deep reddish-purple color and are often used in salads, soups, and roasted dishes.

Golden beets have a bright, sunny yellow color and are milder in flavor than red beets. They are often used in salads and roasted dishes.

Chioggia beets, also known as candy-striped beets because of their striking red and white striped flesh, have a slightly sweeter taste than red beets and are often used in salads and as a garnish.

Choosing Beet Varieties: Color and Days to Maturity

When choosing a beet variety, differences such as flavor, texture, size, sugar content (the roots are typically high in sugar, 8% to 20%), and days to maturity should be considered. Here are three examples of the many to choose from:

  1. Red Ace – This variety produces round, smooth, deep-red beets that are about 3 inches in diameter. They mature in about 55 days and have a sweet, tender flesh.
  2. Golden Detroit – This variety produces medium-sized, round, golden-yellow beets that are about 2-3 inches in diameter. They mature in about 55 days and have a mild, sweet flavor.
  3. Chioggia – This variety produces medium-sized, round beets with a distinctive red and white striped flesh. They mature in about 60 days and have a sweet, tender flavor.
  4. Lutz Green Leaf is a large plant with tasty green leaves. Its baseball-sized, heart-shaped roots are sweet and tender and it and stores well. With their large size, these beets take a bit longer to mature at about 80 days.

Growing Beets Tips for Planting, Care, and Harvesting

It will take approximately 2 ounces, roughly 1,500 beet seeds, to plant a 100 foot row. In a good year, the yield would be about 80 to 100 lbs. of roots – excluding the greens. If you are planning a “year-round” food supply, plant about 10 – 15 feet per person. That would provide approximately 8 lbs. – 15lbs. per person – roughly 40 to 60 beet roots which can be turned into 8 to 15 pints of canned beets. Beet Gardening for Success and Food will provide vitamins, minerals, and important nutrients.


Beets prefer well-drained, loose soil that’s rich in organic matter. Add compost or well-rotted manure to the soil a few weeks before planting. Soil pH should range between 6.0 to 7.5. If your soil is too acidic, add lime to raise the pH level. If it’s too alkaline, add sulfur to lower the pH level.


Beets can tolerate cold and near freezing conditions but do best with temperatures from 50°F to 75°F. They do not do well in hot weather. The roots can get tough and fibrous. They are a perfect option for spring and fall crops in northern zones or as a winter crop in zone 9 and higher.

Beets can be grown by either sowing seeds directly into the garden or transplanting seedlings. Whether you decide to direct sow into the garden or start your seeds in pots, soak seeds for 24 hours before planting. You need to understand that beet “seeds” are a cluster of several small seeds together. After the seeds germinate and the seedlings are 2 inches tall pull the weaker shoots to allow the strongest the room it needs.

This variety produces round, smooth, deep-red beets that are about 3 inches in diameter. They mature in about 55 days and have a sweet, tender flesh.

When starting seeds indoors for transplanting, use small 2” x 2” pots so the seedlings have enough room to grow – both above and below the soil line. Try to start the seeds about 30 days before your last spring frost. I use a sterile seed starting mix. Soak seeds for 24 hours then plant 1/2” deep and place the pots under grow lights. When daytime temperatures are expected to average 50°F and danger of frost has past, transplant into the garden.

When direct sowing, begin planting as soon as the soil has warmed to about 45°F. Beet seeds should be planted about 1/2 inch deep and spaced about 2 inches apart, space rows about 12” to 18” apart. To ensure maximum germination, keep the soil moist. Seeds should germinate in 7 to 15 days. When the seedlings are 6” tall, pull every other plant. The final spacing between plants should be a minimum of 4” – 6”. You can use what you pull – both roots as well as greens.

Plantings can be made every 2 weeks before mid-summer. One way to judge when to stop planting in the spring is to check average temperatures in your area. When the average temperature is expected to average over 80°F, count back 60 days – that should be the last date for spring planting. For Autumn planting, start sowing seeds 10 – 11 weeks before frosts are expected.


Beets need consistent moisture to grow properly, but they don’t like to be waterlogged. Water regularly, but don’t overwater. An inch of water each week is recommended for proper growth. Mulching around the plants can help to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Sun Exposure

Beets prefer full sun, but they can also grow in partial shade. However, if grown in too much shade, they may not develop the deep, rich color and flavor that they’re known for.


Beets are heavy feeders, however, choose a fertilizer that is lower in nitrogen than both potassium and phosphorus. Too much nitrogen will lead to more leaf growth at the detriment to the roots. You can also add a side dressing of compost or other organic fertilizer once or twice during the growing season.

Beet Gardening for Success and Food This variety produces medium-sized, round beets with a distinctive red and white striped flesh. They mature in about 60 days and have a sweet, tender flavor

Problems, Pests, and Diseases

Beets are generally resistant to pests and diseases, but there are a few that can cause problems. The most common pests are aphids and leaf miners.

Aphids can be controlled by spraying the plants with a solution of water and dish soap.

Leaf miners can be controlled by removing infected leaves and applying a natural insecticide.

Flea beetles are a common pest problem. They damage leaves by leaving numerous tiny holes in beet leaves. If the infestation is bad enough the plants can be killed. Two organic methods to control flea beetles are:

  • using floating row covers to protect the plants and
  • adding beneficial nematodes in the soil to attack and kill the beetle larvae.

Cabbage loopers, tiny green caterpillars that can destroy the plant can be controlled by using Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) to control.

A common disease affecting beets is powdery mildew. This can be prevented by ensuring good air circulation around the plants and avoiding overhead watering. If powdery mildew does occur, remove infected leaves and apply a natural fungicide.

Keep beets well-irrigated to prevent scab, the same disorder that affects potatoes, causing raised brown rough spots on the mature roots.

Boron deficiency in the soil can cause an internal breakdown or browning. This is most likely to occur in alkaline soils after prolonged hot, dry periods. If this happens, get a soil test to confirm. Adding one tablespoon of borax to a gallon of water will provide enough boron for a 250 square foot garden to fix.

Damping can impact seedlings (both direct sow as well as in the greenhouse) Different forms of soil-borne fungi that grow in wet, humid environments cause damping. It’s most likely damping off if the seedlings die unexpectedly not long after planting, and the plants look discolored and decaying. Enable the seed-starting mix to dry entirely before watering, and make sure your soil has good drainage. Do not overwater your plants.

Cercospora leaf spot is a fungus that occurs on the leaves as dark, patchy spots that may be yellow in color. Remove the affected leaves and throw them out, avoid touching healthy looking leaves. If your beets are planted close together, thin them out, so crowded plants have a better chance to grow. Cercospora can be controlled by spraying Mancozeb

Harvesting and Storing Beets

You should pull beets when the soil is dry. Be careful when pulling or lifting roots from the ground, if you need to use a pitchfork or shovel, do so carefully. Do not to break or injure the beets.

Beets can be harvested at any time however, they will mature at about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. Be sure to cut off the leaves about 1 inch above the beet before storing. The green tops are edible, and frankly very tasty. If you cut away the greens at the root, you may cause damage and the root to bleed.

Any roots that are damaged should be used within a few weeks, they will not store well and rot spots will start at any damage. To prepare any roots for storage, carefully rub soil from the roots, try not to wash but if you do, dry them.

Beets can be stored in a cool, dry place for several weeks. Store beets in a cold moist place as near to freezing as possible without actual freezing, 32°-40°F and 95 percent relative humidity in a container—a bucket or plastic storage box or cooler with moist sand, peat moss, or sawdust. Don’t pack roots too tightly; if the roots touch they can start to rot; be sure to leave 2 inches (5 cm) of insulating material around at the top, bottom, and sides of the stored roots. Set the lid loosely so that there is good air circulation.

For long term storage, beets can be cooked for about twenty minutes then frozen. They can also be pressure canned or pickled and canned using a hot water method, see Ball Jar Recipe Blog for recipes for both methods of canning.

By following these tips for planting, care, and harvesting, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest and enjoy a beet gardening for success and food

The below chart provides the calories, vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients provided by 100 grams (roughly 3 ounces) of raw beets. The information from this chart comes from USDA Nutrient Database

Beet Gardening for Success and Food

you want to be a beekeeper

You want to be a beekeeper

So you want to be a beekeeper, after all honey is healthy, bees are dying for all sorts of reasons and need a champion like you. There is a store right done the street that sells the equipment you will need and Facebook Marketplace has sellers that “can hook you up with bees”. The stars are aligned, everything you need is at hand, just set up the store bought hive, pick up the bees from Facebook guy and … free honey!! The ultimate impulse buy, 25,000 flying insects that can sting. If this is your game plan, you will probably do more harm than good. You may get your “free honey” after spending close to $500.00 for equipment and bees but without working the bees and caring for them you may create a parasite/pathogen vector that will infect not only other beekeepers’ bees but also wild bees and worse of all, your hive will probably die.

so you want to be a beekeeper - learn all about it
Queen supersedure cells to replace a failing queen

Ok, that’s about as negative as I can make it and that was close to my failure except I can add that I read books about beekeeping, went to seminars, asked questions at the bee store and knew the beekeeping buzz words. I got honey and my bees died. With that loss I jumped into what I missed. I joined a local bee club and spoke with an experienced beekeeper about helping me get better. With that conversation I found a mentor who became a friend.

The mentor, and a great one at that, was the key. One summer and autumn of helping him work bees and he coming to my apiary and instructing me on things to watch and present ideas of what to do in addition to what I was doing made all the difference. The biggest lesson learned was the dedication necessary to the bees. If you want to be a beekeeper, you cannot plop them down, look two times during the year and expect success. After setting up your hives comes the work (and dedication). You should try to open your hive at least once every other week. Know what you are looking at, learn to take time and know every once in a while you will get stung. You will need to take the time and check for small hive beetles, ants, wax moths and other not very nice insects. You will want to know how to check for varroa mites and make the time to do it. You will need to know how to use medications, when to use them and when not to use them. You will need to know how to set the hive (s) up for winter and how to open in the spring. I can go on with more, but you should get the picture now.

With all the work and dedication comes the good. 50 lbs. – 100 lbs. (4 to 9 gallons) of honey per year per hive if all goes well (year 1 expect very little). What we harvest we use – our kids take home a gallon or so each, neighbors and friends are spoiled. With the honey comes bees wax for soap, lip balm, candles, etc. I find joy in sitting and watching the bees doing what bees do. My flowers and vegetables get pollinated. It is amazing to witness a “super-organism” at work. A queen laying eggs, workers feeding larvae, bees hatching, a scout bee coming back to the hive to perform the “waggle dance” are the best shows in town to watch. You may open a hive and see queen cells – are they supersedure cells? Are they swarm cells? I find it very rewarding keeping bees and trying to do it well. So…you want to be a beekeeper…

Broccoli Gardening

Broccoli Gardening

broccoli gardening Broccoli is a nutritious vegetable, high in dietary fibers, vitamins and minerals

Broccoli, Brassica oleracea var. Italica, belongs to the plant species Brassica oleracea, that also includes several other common cultivars including cabbage, Brussels sprout, kale, cauliflower, and collard greens. The short, thick-stemmed plant from the Brassicaceae family is native to eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor. It’s a herbaceous annual plant grown for its edible flower heads. If you want to attempt broccoli gardening, you should know the plant grows to about 24 to 36 inches high with thick, branching leathery leaves, and dense clusters of flower heads, usually green in color. It’s a cool season vegetable that takes between 60 to 150 days for the heads to come to harvest, depending on the variety.

Types & Varieties of Broccoli

Broccoli is a nutritious vegetable, high in dietary fibers, vitamins and minerals. It’s an excellent source of potassium, folic acid, and Vitamins A, B and K. Though most superstores only sell a few standard types, there is a wide range of broccolis to grow and harvest for home gardeners.

Common Varieties of Broccoli:

BelstarThis hybrid variety produces 6-inch blue green heads that take about 65 days to reach maturity. Once the main crown is picked, the variety is also known for producing a series of side shoots for further harvests.

Blue Wind F1 – This is an extra early maturing variety, producing large dense heads that take about 60 days to mature. The side shoot production is also commendable.

Di Cicco – It’s an Italian heirloom variety that produces its initial crowns in as little as 50 days, followed by side shoots. The plants mature at different rates, making it an excellent choice for home gardeners, giving a consistent supply of broccolis to the kitchen.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli – With purple flower heads instead of the typical green broccolis, the variety is much sweeter than others. It matures slower than others and is typically planted as a biennial to harvest in the following spring. 

Broccoli yields 4 to 6 pounds from a 10-foot row. Space individual plants 18 to 24 inches apart, with a 3-feet spacing between rows and plan about 2 to 4 plants per person.

Temperature and Timing for Growing Broccoli

Broccoli is a cool-season crop that’s typically planted in late winters or early spring for harvesting in early summer. For broccoli gardening a second crop can be planted in late summers for a fall harvest. Broccolis grow best when the temperatures are between 40°F to 70°F. High temperatures negatively impact the development of the heads, so gardeners aim to bring it to harvest before the temperatures soar.

Sun Exposure and Soil Requirements

Broccoli prefers full sun but if the temperatures are higher, partial shade may be better to prevent the plants from bolting.

Broccoli grow best in rich, fertile soil amended with plenty of organic matter and with a neutral soil pH.

How to Plant Broccoli

Broccoli gardening begins by starting the seeds indoors, 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost. It can also be started by direct sowing in the garden, 2 to 3 weeks before the last spring frost. Work the soil with 2 to 4 inches of aged compost in early spring before sowing the seeds. When planting outdoors, sow the seeds ½ inches deep in soil and 3 inches apart.

Water the soil and maintain it consistently moist throughout the germination phase. Once the seedlings emerge and grow to a height of 2 to 3 inches, thin them to maintain an 18 to 24-inch spacing between the plants.

If started indoors, transplants can go into the garden after hardening off, once they are 4 to 6 weeks old. Plant the transplants 18 to 24 inches apart, setting them slightly deeper in the planting holes than they were in the containers. Water the transplants well just after planting.

Fertilize the transplants with a low-nitrogen formula 3 weeks after planting them in the garden. Provide 1 to 1.5 inches of water each week, maintaining consistent moisture for best development. Always water at the base and avoid getting the developing heads wet. Mulch around the plants to suppress weeds.


Towards the end of a successful broccoli growing season, you’ll have plenty of beautiful flower heads to harvest. Here’s how to pick them:

  • Harvest the buds as soon as they’re the size of a large fist, while they’re firm and dense, just before flowering.
  • If you wait too long to harvest, the buds open and the quality of the heads fall. You can still eat them but the texture is tougher.
  • Cut the heads from the base with 4 inches of stalk attached.
  • Let the plant grow after harvesting the main head and side shoots will develop. The new flower heads will be smaller in size than the main head but taste just as good.


Broccoli stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Store unwashed broccoli loosely wrapped in damp paper towels in the fridge and consume them within the next few days. If you want to store it for longer, you can freeze it after blanching and use it for up to one year. 

Pests and Diseases


  • Aphids suck the plants’ sap, leaving curling and discolored leaves. Hose them off the plants with a strong jet of water. If the plants are severely infested, insecticidal soap or neem oil can help.
  • Cabbage worms feed on broccoli leaves, causing serious damage to the plants. If handpicking does not help, in the case of serious infestations, treating with Bacillus thuringiensis is typically effective.
  • Flea beetles leave small holes in the foliage, killing off the seedlings and reducing the yield for mature plants. White sticky traps can help capture the insects. Insecticides are also helpful if used early in the season.


  • Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that appears as white patches with purple blotching on leaf surfaces. The thick powdery layer coats the leaves, causing them to eventually drop off the plant. If the disease persists, it spreads to the stem and head. Plant resistant varieties, rotate crops, keep the foliage dry and avoid using excessive nitrogen fertilizers to prevent the problem.

Applying all the information you’ve learned from this article, you’re ready to begin a successful and rewarding broccoli growing season.

Okra Gardening

Okra Gardening

Okra, Abelmoschus esculentus, is a herbaceous annual plant from the mallow family, Malvaceae, and is cultivated for its edible seed pods. It’s widely grown in most tropical regions of the world. Plants can grow up to 1.2 to 1.8 meters and typically survive only one growing season. It bears heart-shaped lobed leaves, and yellow flowers with a crimson center. You need to know that when okra gardening, this heat-loving vegetable crop grows through the warm season, coming to harvest by the end of summer. The fruit is picked and consumed while it’s young and unripe. Mature seed pods are tough for consumption.

Types & Varieties of Okra

Okra is rich in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and fibers and low on calories, making it an excellent addition to your diet. Plenty of varieties are available, distinguished with their length of growing season, size of the plant and appearance and taste of the fruits. ‘Spineless’ varieties also exist that lack the tiny spines on the seed pods that irritate your skin upon handling.

Common varieties of Okra:

Annie Oakley IIThe plant grows to about 4 feet tall, maturing in about 52 days and bears spineless seed pods.

Clemson Spineless – These are the most popular varieties in markets and produce 4-feet tall plants, with a spread of about 48 inches. The variety matures in 55 to 60 days, giving ‘spineless’ fruit that can grow to 9 inches in length.  

Park’s Candelabra Branching – It’s a base-branching variety for easier harvest.

Cajun Delight – It’s a good choice for gardeners with shorter growing seasons since it takes only 50 to 55 days to mature. The plant reaches to about 4 feet tall, giving 3 to 5 inch long dark green seed pods for harvest.

In the ideal conditions, a single okra plant can yield 20 to 30 or even more seed pods. If you’re growing a self-sufficient garden, plan to grow 3 to 3 okra plants per person.

Temperature and Timing for growing Okra

Okra is a warm-season crop that’s planted 2 to 3 weeks after all the dangers of frost have passed in the region and the soil temperature is at least 60°F. The ideal growing temperatures range from 75°F to 90°F.

Sun Exposure and Soil Requirements

Okra grows best with full sun exposure for at least 8 hours a day. Plant it in fertile, well-drained soil that’s slightly on the acidic side, with soil pH between 5.8 and 7.0.

How to Plant Okra

Okra gardening begins when you start seeds indoors in peat pots 3 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost. Grow the seedlings under grow lights until they are ready to go in the garden 5 to 6 weeks later. Seedlings should be hardened off before transplanting them in the garden. Space the transplants 1 to 2 feet apart for optimal development.

Alternatively, you can start the seeds directly in the garden 2 to 3 weeks after all the dangers of frost have passed. Plant the okra seeds ½ to 1 inch deep in the ground, spacing them a foot apart in rows. Space the rows 3 to 4 feet apart to give ample room to the plants to grow. You can also plant the seeds closer together and then thin them once seedlings emerge.

Keep the planting bed well-weeded while the plants are still young and apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch around them to suppress weeds. Offer the plants 1 inch of water per week or more if you live in a very hot region. Side-dress the plants with aged compost every 3 to 4 weeks for best results.


After a successful okra garden growing season, you can look forward to a hefty harvest. Here’s how to harvest okra:

okra gardening, this heat-loving vegetable crop grows through the warm season
  • Okra is ready to harvest in 2 months after planting the seeds.
  • Harvest the seed pods while they’re still young and tender. They should ideally be around 2 to 3 inches long for best texture.
  • Wear gloves when harvesting okra because most varieties have spines that may irritate the skin. Spineless varieties may be harvested without gloves.
  • Continue harvesting the pods every other day to boost further fruiting.
  • Cut the stem just above the pod with a sharp knife to harvest the okras. If the stem is too hard, the okra has matured beyond what’s suitable for consumption. Remove it from the plant and toss it.
  • Remove the lower leaves after the first harvest to speed up production of further seed pods.


Okra lasts only 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. Wrap unwashed okra in paper towels or place them in a paper bag before storing in the fridge.

If you want to store for longer, transfer okras without cutting or cooking to freezer bags and place them in the freezer. When stored in the freezer in this way, they can last for up to a year. You can continue using them as needed through the winter months.

Pests and Diseases


  • Aphids are a common problem with okra plants and can be avoided by growing tolerant varieties. If the infestation is heavy, insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils are a good way to control it.
  • Corn earworms can infest the plants, causing damage to the leaves, buds, flowers and pods. Bacillus thuringiensis can help control these insects naturally.
  • Cucumber beetles may also affect okra plants, damaging the leaves and stems, leaving the plants susceptible to bacterial wilt. Adult beetles also feed on the fruit, leaving behind unsightly scars. Kaolin clay can manage smaller infestations, while you’ll need to use insecticides if the infestation is heavy.


  • Powdery mildew often affects okra plants, causing the leaves to roll upwards and give a scorched appearance. Application of suitable fungicides can control the problem, especially in its early stages.
  • Yellow vein mosaic disease is a common viral disease that infects the okra plants and is identified by yellow and green alternating patches on the infected leaves. Fruits are also yellowish and smaller in size. Plant resistant varieties and keep the field weed-free. Once the plant is infected, it will have to be removed to prevent the disease from spreading to the neighboring plants.

Hopefully, with all the things you’ve learned in this article, you can start the perfect okra gardening season and enjoy loads of fresh harvests.

Turnip Gardening

Turnip Gardening

turnip gardening patch

Turnip, Brassica Rapa, is a herbaceous annual or biennial plant belonging to the Brassicaceae family. It has been cultivated as a cool-season vegetable for thousands of years for its edible leaves and roots. Historians believe that turnips originated somewhere in middle and eastern Asia. Today, they are grown in most temperate parts of the world for human consumption and livestock fodder. The plant forms short stems above the ground that bear light green leaves in the form of a rosette above the root. The taproot is round and plump with a combination of purple and white on the outer skin. Though it is a biennial plant that flowers and sets seeds in the second growing season, when turnip gardening the plants are often grown as an annual in early spring or fall and harvested after one growing season.

Types & Varieties of Turnip

Though you might have only seen half purple, half white tennis ball-sized turnips in grocery stores, there are tons of varieties beyond that. There’s a range of colors, sizes, and shapes to select from besides the flavors of roots and leafy tops and the time they take to reach maturity.

Common Varieties of Turnip:

Purple Top White GlobeThis is the standard turnip variety that you find in grocery stores. It forms a 4 to 6 inches wide globe underground with a white bottom and a purple top. It takes between 50 to 55 days to reach maturity and has a spicy flavor that works well in stews and broths.

Baby Bunch Turnips – With small globular roots, about 1 inch in diameter, baby bunch turnips are harvested when they are still much younger than standard turnips. The crunchy flesh is similar to radish and works great in salads and cooked recipes.

Tokyo Cross – This hybrid variety is an AAS winner for the uniform, fast-maturing turnips it produces with mildly sweet and crispy flesh. The turnips are 3 to 6 inches wide white globes that are ready to be picked in just about 30 to 35 days.

Scarlet QueenDifferent from others, this is a hybrid variety that produces turnips with bright red skin and white flesh. The turnips are slightly flat from the top and are harvested in 40 to 45 days.

For a self-sufficient garden, grow 5 to 10 turnip plants per person, spacing them 5 to 8 inches apart in rows. The rows should be spaced 15 to 24 inches apart.

Temperature and Timing for Growing Turnip

Turnip is a cool-season crop, best planted in early spring or fall when the temperatures are cooler. They take between 1 to 2 months to harvest and grow best when temperatures are between 40 to 70°F. For early season turnip gardening, you can sow the seeds in the ground 2 to 3 weeks before the last spring frost for harvesting in late spring. You can also plant them in late summers for an autumn harvest and in late autumn for a winter harvest.

Sun Exposure and Soil Requirements

Turnips thrive in full sun but will also grow well in partial shade. Well-drained, fertile soil with pH slightly on the acidic side (5.5 to 6.8) is best for turnip gardening. Prepare the planting bed well in advance by incorporating plenty of compost or aged manure.  If your garden soil is heavy or clayey, amend it with sand or gypsum for the roots to develop easily.

How to Plant Turnip

For turnip gardening, just like any other root vegetable, turnips don’t transplant well. They are best planted by sowing the seeds directly in the garden once the weather is favorable. Although nursery transplants are available, most gardeners grow turnips by sowing seeds in the garden as soon as the soil is workable in early spring or 2 to 3 weeks before the last expected frost date.

The seeds are sown ½ inches deep in the ground and 1 inch apart in rows. Space rows 15 to 24 inches apart. Once the seedlings emerge and are 3 to 4 inches tall, you can thin them to maintain a 4 to 6-inch gap between the plants. The thinned seedlings make an excellent addition to salads.

Water well right after planting and keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season. Underwatered turnips will produce small and woody roots and may also cause the plants to bolt. On the other hand, overwatering promotes diseases, so it’s important to maintain just the right level of moisture. Mulching can help maintain optimal moisture in the soil for the plants and also protects the turnips from frost damage. Since turnips have a rather short growing season, they don’t generally need any fertilization, especially if you grow them in rich, fertile soil.

For a prolonged harvest season, you can practice succession planting every 10 to 14 days, keeping in mind that they can come to harvest before the temperatures soar above 70°F.

Since turnips are small plants, you can easily grow them in containers. Small roots can grow in pots that are at least 8 inches deep. For larger varieties, you’ll need to choose bigger containers.


As the growing season approaches a successful end, the plump turnips roots are ready to be picked from the ground. Here’s how to harvest turnips:

  • You can start harvesting the leaves and stems once they are at least 12 inches long but allow the roots to develop further. However, only remove the outer leaves, letting the inner leaves to continue growing and producing the energy that will fuel root growth. 
  • Depending on the variety, turnips take between 30 to 60 days to come to harvest after sowing the seeds.
  • As the turnips approach harvest, their purple shoulders will push out of the soil and are visible above the ground.
  • Lift the roots from the ground using a garden fork once the shoulders are 2 to 3 inches wide. Take care not to puncture the roots with your gardening tools.
  • Fall crop should be harvested after a few light frosts but before a hard freeze since extreme cold can cause the roots to crack or rot.


Turnip greens will only stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week. The roots can last for months if you store them properly. The ideal temperature for storing turnips is between 32 to 35°F. A small harvest can be stored in the fridge, but if you have lots of turnips to store, a cool, dark place such as a root cellar or garage will be ideal. Remove and consume the green tops before storing the turnip roots since the leaves will continue drawing energy from the roots if left attached to them.

Pest and Diseases


  • Caterpillars, including cabbage loopers, diamondback moths, and beet army worms love eating turnip leaves. The most straightforward approach to get rid of them is to handpick and destroy them. Alternatively, you can spray the plants with Bacillus thuringiensis.
  • Aphids suck the sap from the leaves of turnip plants, leaving behind a sticky substance called honeydew that promotes the development of molds on the plants. Small infestations can be catered to by removing the infested leaves. In the case of large infestations, hose them off with water or spray the plants with neem oil.
  • Root maggots attack the roots and are, therefore, more problematic than other pests. The flies of these worms lay eggs around the plants. The larvae feed on the roots, leaving tunnels in the flesh and causing the plant to shrivel and die. Remove and destroy the infested plants to prevent the spread to the surrounding plants.


  • White rust fungus can affect turnips and is observed by the development of white spots on the upper surface of the leaves and yellow spots on the underside. The disease is not serious, and the roots typically remain unaffected. Buy disease-free seeds and plant them in a well-drained garden bed free from any previous season’s debris. 
  • Downy mildew can affect turnip crops in cold conditions and is a serious disease because it can destroy the roots. It is identified as yellow, brown spots on the leaves that expand as the disease progresses. Preventive fungicide sprays can control the spread to other plants if you suspect the disease in your garden. Control weeds and excessively moist conditions to prevent the disease from occurring in the first place.

That’s all the information about turnip gardening that you’ll need to get started on your own. Follow all the tips and enjoy loads of juicy, spicy homegrown turnips!