Chlorosis: Diagnosing Pale, Yellow, or Yellow-White Leaves

Are your leaves a pale, yellow, or yellow-white color? If so, your plant may be experiencing chlorosis.

Chlorosis is a condition where leaves yellow or blanch due to lack of chlorophyll, which is responsible for the green color of leaves. A plant that is chlorophyll deficient has little or no capacity to create carbohydrates using photosynthesis and may die unless the cause of the chlorosis is treated.

The most common cause of chlorosis is a lack of nutrients. The leaves will become pale or yellow if the plant does not have enough nutrients to synthesize all the chlorophyll it needs.

Perfectly natural pale yellow leaves

However, this process can also be natural. A plant will have two starter leaves known as cotyledons when the seedlings first emerge from the soil. Over time, the plant will start to produce its typical adult leaves. The cotyledons help the plant begin growing, but once it’s producing more leaves, they are no longer needed and will often yellow and eventually fall off. If these are your only yellow leaves, your plant is perfectly healthy!

 

 

Tips for Salad Gardens

In the spirit of August’s Seed Pod Kit of the Month, Heirloom Salad Greens, here are some salad tips-

Temperature- Salads prefer cool temperatures below 72 degrees. Take care to keep your garden away from sunny windows that might increase the temperature. If you are struggling with keeping your salad garden cool, try the following tips:

  • Add ice cubes to the water bowl regularly.
  • Place your garden in a cooler area in your home, such as a basement.
  • Avoid placing your garden near other gardens or appliances that might give off heat.

Harvesting- There are two ways to harvest your salad greens.

  1. Remove whole leaves by cutting the base of the leaf with scissors or shears, or by gently pinching off with you fingers. Spread your harvest evenly across your garden.
  2. Prune the top 1/3 of the leaves, as if you are giving it a hair cut!
  3. Avoid harvesting right after adding liquid nutrients to your garden, it will have a mineral taste as the lettuce quickly absorbs the nutrients.

Garden Check Up: Roots

The condition of the roots reflect the health of the plant. Healthy roots are light colored and firm. Unhealthy roots turn brown and mushy and can have a bad odor.

To prevent root rot try the following steps to promote garden health:

Rinse and Refill the water bowl. This is good to do at-least once a month to replace old water filled with excess minerals left over from the liquid nutrients that the plants did not absorb. After refilling- add the recommended amount of liquid nutrients for your AeroGarden. Optional– add a teaspoon of food grade hydrogen peroxide to the water.


Mature plants will have an advanced root system that may overwhelm the water bowl of your garden. If the roots are healthy, then you will need to water more frequently due to the limited space in the water bowl and those thirsty roots.

 

To root trim or not? Some people do trim the roots of their mature plants BUT there is a high risk of over trimming and killing the plant. Because of this risk, it is not recommended.

So take a look under the grow deck and do a Garden Check Up on your roots.

Bolting Lettuce

What does “bolting” mean and why does lettuce do it!?

Well, it’s when the plant bolts into rapid growth and goes straight to flowering. The plant goes into survival mode and goes to seed.

Hot temperatures will trigger bolting in cool season greens, such as arugula, mustard greens, romaine, beet greens, and lettuce. other plants known to bolt are beets, broccoli, cilantro, basil and dill.

Can You Eat it After Bolting? No. When this happens, the flavor turns bitter and the leaves tend to get smaller and tougher. At this point it is inedible.

But you can prevent bolting….

How to Prevent:

Keep the water in your AeroGarden bowl cool.

If the water feels warmer than room temperature, add cold water and or ice cubes to the water bowl.

Very rarely bolting can be temporarily reversed or slowed down if you catch it early enough and trim off the flowering stocks. This can give you more time to harvest before it becomes inedible.

 

 

Is It Time To Clean Your Garden?

Before starting a new Seed Pod Kit, you’ll want to clean your garden for a fresh start. Do Not throw away your filter by accident! It’s easy to do when removing plant roots.

Start by dismantling your garden:

Roots can grow into the filter, so be sure to clean it out and reinstall. If the filter looks too worn, replace the filter to prolong the life of your pump.

While you are doing maintenance on your garden, you may want to consider using Airstones. This will give your plants an oxygen boost for better growth! Note: Airstones are for use in all aerator/bubbler models.

 

After each planting, you should clean and sanitize your AeroGarden to reduce the risk of root pathogens that can destroy your crop.

Here’s how:

  • Fill the bowl with water and add ¼ cup of chlorine bleach
  • Let the water pump or aerator circulate the bleach solution for 5 minutes
  • Empty the bleach solution, rinse well, and then fill with clear water (no bleach)
  • Allow the pump or aerator to circulate the clear water for 5 minutes
  • Empty and rinse once more to ensure that all bleach is rinsed from bowl

Or without bleach: 

Add 5 cups of distilled white vinegar (instead of ¼ cup chlorine bleach) and follow instructions above.

Good Garden Bugs

Part 1: LadybugsIf you have an aphid problem in your AeroGarden, the answer is ladybugs! These lady beetles are the natural predator to the invading plant-sucking aphids.

Aphids can find their way to your garden by riding in on clothing, on other plants or produce, or through an open window or door.

Ladybugs feed on aphids, mites, and other soft-bodied bugs during their larval and adult stages of their lives.

Every gardener has spotted the lady beetle’s cluster of bright yellow eggs on plant leaves and stems. Within a week the eggs hatch and the insatiable, horned and segmented larvae emerge seeking food. The larvae go through three molting stages and, depending on conditions, will pupate after three to four weeks. It’s another week before the adult emerges, ready to resume feeding.

Planet Natural

Ladybugs, or lady beetles (Hippodamia convergens) are the best known garden predators available and can purchased online.

Method:

  • Adult beetles are commonly shipped in cotton bags mixed with wood shavings.
  • After opening, gently shake the contents evenly over the pest infestation.
  • The ladybugs will stay in the garden until they have eaten all the food (bad bugs such as aphids).

Ladybug larvae can eat up to 400 aphids before hitting their pupa stage. As adults they devour over 5,000 aphids.

Storing Tips: Basil

Basil is a great herb to use in anything from pesto to drinks and happens to be apart of July’s Plants of the MonthCocktail & Mocktail Herb Seed Pod Kits. When harvesting and storing this herb, you’ll want to follow the below steps to prolong the life of your clippings.

Method 1:

1 Prune. See video above.

2 Fill a jar or a water glass partially with water and place the stem ends of the herbs into the water in the jar.

3 If your home to dry, place a plastic bag loosely over the basil in jar to create humidity.

4 Basil is ideally stored at room temperature and not in the refrigerator, because it is susceptible to damage from cold.

5 Change the water after several days if the water starts to discolor and trim stems.

Using this method, basil can last up to 2 weeks.

Method 2: Freezing

1 Prune leaves.

2 Place harvested leaves in plastic bag, seal and store in freezer. This gives the basil a longer shelf life and preserves it’s flavors better than dried basil.

You can also freeze basil in olive oil or butter in an ice cube tray and use in cooking. For drinks, simply freeze basil in water for beverage ice cubes. It looks lovely and releases notes of flavor!

Harvesting Flowers

You can use the flowers harvested from your Incredible Edible Seed Pod Kit in all kinds of ways. Make a fragrant mini-bouquet for your desk, add color to a place setting or even add a unique flair to one of your favorite recipes.

Harvesting

Since your flowers have been grown in a controlled indoor AeroGarden, you don’t need to worry about sprayed chemicals and the plants are safe to consume.

  • Prune flowers that have just fully opened. Think of edible flowers as you would fruit in that they should not be over or underripe.
  • Make sure to separate the flower from the stem and remove any non-colored/ white portions at base of petals.
  • Some flowers can be eaten whole, such as viola and squash blossoms.

Storing

After harvesting, store in a refrigerator and use as soon as possible for best flavor.

  • Use a glass or plastic container to store the flowers with a damp paper towel at the bottom to provide humidity. This will help the flowers to last longer and lessen wilting.
  • Remove parts of the flower that contain pollen before tasting.

Drying Method

Some flowers that can be dried whole include chamomile, calendula and lavender. Remember to rotate so they don’t dry flat. Larger flowers should have the petals removed to be dried.

  • Spread flowers and petals out in a thin single layer over a clean surface such as paper towels or dish towel.
  • Place in a dry, undisturbed area in your home (avoid direct sunlight). Rotate each flower/ petal once a day until dry.
  • Store in a glass jar with lid.
  • Keep dried flowers in a dry area and out of direct sunlight for increased shelf life.
  • Wait until you are ready to use dried flowers to crush or powder if desired. This will help preserve fragrant oils in the plant.

If properly stored, your dried flowers can stay good up to a year. The potency of the flowers decrease as its color fades.

Floral Bath Salts

Time to relax! Use your AeroGarden flowers in this lovely Floral Bath Salts recipe by Soap Queen.

Any AeroGarden flowers can be used in this bath salts recipe! So don’t feel limited.

Here are a few great options:

Snapdragons come in the following seed pod kits:  Incredible Edibles, and any custom flower.

Lavender come in the following seed pod kits:  Lots of Lavender, and any custom flower.

Calendulas/ Marigolds come in the following seed pod kits:  Incredible Edibles, and any custom herb.

Chamomile comes in the following seed pod kits:  Fresh TeaTraditional Medicinal Herb, and any custom herb.


Perfect Flower Collections include: Mountain Meadow, English Cottage, and June’s Plant of the MonthIncredible Edibles.

 

Get this relaxing Floral Bath Salts recipe at Soap Queen

(image and recipe by Soap Queen)

Garden Checkup: Treating “Blossom-End Rot”

Blossom-end rot can occur in tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, squash, and melons. Often times, the damage appears when the fruit is half-way grown. These soggy areas expand and turn dark brown and harden. The effected areas will begin to rot and the fruit should be cut-off and discarded.

Blossom End Rot is not a pest, parasite, or disease process but is a physiological problem caused by a low level of calcium in the fruit itself. There is no cure for blossom end rot, only prevention. This can occur when tomatoes are nutrient deprived or under erratic watering. Typically adding more nutrients will resolve the problem and tomato plants will recover.

How much nutrient are you giving your tomatoes? 

The nutrient level should be increased when growing tomatoes upon the third feeding and moving forward.  

Nutrient level for 6/7/9 pod gardens is 8 ml (2 capfuls) upon the first two feedings, and 11 – 12 ml (2 ½ to 3 capfuls) upon the third feeding and moving forward.

Nutrient level for a 3 pod garden is 4 ml (1 capful) for the first two feedings, and 6 ml (1 ½ capfuls) of nutrient upon the third feeding and moving forward.

Make sure that you are checking your water level every other day. Once the tomatoes are established, they will consume quite a bit of water daily, especially if you are running your furnace more often. Do not wait for your AeroGarden to alert you that your water level is low to add water. Your AeroGarden will alert you when the water level is very low. It is ideal to keep the water level in your garden to the “fill line”, and to be consistent in your watering habits.

Here is the solution. Start with a “rinse and refill”. Empty the contents of your water bowl, rinse it, and replace the water adding the appropriate level of nutrient (12 ml). This will restore the pH level in your AeroGarden. Add 1 Tablespoon of Epsom Salt to the water. Remove and discard the browning tomatoes.

In addition, make sure you are pruning your tomatoes. Go ahead and prune back the leaves that are shading out your tomatoes. This will encourage your plant to continue to produce tomatoes. Also, your green tomatoes will be exposed to more light, encouraging them to ripen.