Nematodes and Elbon Rye

slowpoke_gardenerAugust 26, 2011

I have started cleaning out some of my tomatoes. These were plants that looked well early in the year, but started going down hill later. I blamed it on the fact that I was trying a no til method in this part of the garden and had just not quite got the hang of it yet.

This area was planted in Elbon Rye last fall and I got a very heavy crop, which I cut down with a string trimmer and just stacked the stalks on the ground. I used post hole diggers to dig the planting holes and then mulched around the plants.

I have had to deal with root knot nematodes twist before, but never here. The first time I used Vapam, which I no longer can get. The second time I tilled the crap out of the soil. I even tilled the ground when it was frozen.

I know I did not kill all the nematodes, but I reduced the number to where they were not a problem for next years crop.

The nematodes in the plants I have pulled are going to find out what diesel fuel smells like, the ones in the ground will be dodging tiller tines all winter.

I will also check the peanuts planted next to the tomatoes because they look a little sick also. I will also check the part of the garden that was tilled before planting.

This is a little hard for me to understand because this soil has been highly amended, and had a cover crop of Elbon Rye.

If I have nematodes in other areas I will try solarization.

Well I have cooled off a little, now its time to get back to my nematode hunt.


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I pulled the rest of the tomatoes in my nematode row and two peanut plants in the next row. The peanuts looked OK, as did the tomato plants I started from seed. The tomatoes given to me had a bad case of root knot nematodes.

I always check the roots of any plant I pull and will continue to do so. For now I will only expect in this small area.

I will go turn this area by hand and pick out the pieces of roots that I find and plant Elbon Rye. I will start tilling when it gets very cold and hope for the best.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 12:06PM
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klo1(z7 OK)

Larry, I planted the Elbon rye you sent me and while my garden is better this year I have pulled a tomato plant that had the classic knotty roots of the nematodes. Need to plant the rye again this year but what I had left the weevils got to. If you buy it again this year, I would like to get some from you.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 4:27PM
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Klo1, I will be happy to send you some seed. I will check the supply I have to see if it is OK, if not I will buy more. I will plant some and see if it germinates.

I will have to tear my tomato trellis down to get in there to work, but at any rate I can get some Rye seed to you.

You may want to plant rye every year. I started planting it as a cover crop because of the organic mass it produces.

I think I would have been OK it it were not for the infested plants that were given to me. So far I have not found any other nematodes, and I have not been bothered by them since I mover here.

I have two rows cleaned out and ready to plant fall crops. I will go check the seed, if it looks OK I will plant a row to see if it germinates and I will get back with you.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 5:56PM
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klo1(z7 OK)

Thanks Larry, do you still have my address? If not I'll send it to you. I really planted the rye thick last year and it was something else to get my beds ready to plant but it sure seemed to be worth it.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 8:58PM
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Klo!, I cant find your address. I tried to send you an email through GardenWeb, my E-mail should be on it.

I planted a test row of last years seed this evening to see if it is going to germinate. The seed should be coming up in 4 to 7 days. At that point I will know whether to order new seed or to use last years seed.

I don't see how you were able to work the rye in by hand.
I bought an old Troy Bilt Horse last year to work mine in with, I was even able to till in my corn this year, thanks to rock hard soil.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 9:42PM
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klo1(z7 OK)

Don't know where the Garden Web is at, sure haven't got it. Don't remember how we did this last year do you?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 12:06PM
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Klo1, I sent another e-mail. The trouble my be on my end. I use the e-mail so seldom that dont know what I am doing.

You may have to use larrypeugh at yahoo to get to me. I get mail there from Harbor Freight and someone in Africa, trying to give me millions and millions of dallars, matter of fact, if they come through, I will throw in a million with the seed so you can buy a tiller to work the rye in. Go ahead and hang on to your spading fork for a while.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 5:00PM
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joellenh(6b Jenks)


I still have nematodes, despite solarizing, adding compost, crab shells, and actinovate, and planting a cover crop of elbon rye last fall.

Since nothing else is growing in my beds anyway I will likely plant the elbon again this year.

If I still have them bad next year I will bring out the flame-thrower.

I have a few tomatoes clinging to life (not doing very well though), and thought I'd list here what has lived and what has died in case it helps someone with nematodes decide what to plant next year.

My surviving tomatoes are:

Abe Lincoln
First Mate
Golden Cherokee
Lemon Boy
Marizol Korney
Wessel's Purple Pride

All but Lemon Boy and Abe Lincoln were from Gary, planted late, and haven't produced yet. The one exeption that produced AND survived is Wessel's Purple Pride (Cherokee Sausage). I love this tomato and will plant it every year.

The ones that died (most of these were planted earlier and produced lightly before dying):

Better Boy
Black Cherrry
Black from Tula
Cherokee Purple
Green Zebra
Juan Flamme
Supersweet 100


    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 8:08AM
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JO, thanks for the info. I had to laugh a little about the flame thrower because of what I did yesterday. There was about a 10' strip of the row the row that had signs of nematodes, so I hand dug that 10 feet of row, hand crushing each and every clump and removing anything that looked like a root. I them got my Mantis tiller and pulverized all the soil again. I then made a trip to town and bought 36 LBS of charcoal. I next dug 10 holes about about 8" deep, got the charcoal burning well and dropped some in each hole. I only did the first 5' of row this way and thought I would compare one 5' section against the other. When the charcoal was nearly through burning I tossed on the mulch and then covered that with hay.

I did my best to cook nematodes all after noon. All the neighbors stopped by with a hungry look, they though I was roasting a pig in the ground.

I went out a while ago and dug the ash and unburnt charcoal out of the holes and used it to cover a water line.

I just got my Mantis out and I am soaking the tines to get rid of all the ground up nematodes before I till again and plant Elbon Rye.

I may have that soil so screwed up that it will never grow anything again, I guess I will find out in a few weeks.

I think I know why you thought of a flame thrower.

My plan now is to grow corn in that spot next year, but I want to copy your list because I have no idea what the rest of the garden looks like.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 9:26AM
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