Growing Strong: What’s Wrong with My Plant? (and how do I fix it?)

🌻🌞Happy Summer to the Northern Hemisphere!🌞🌻 A new gardening season is here, and we want it to be an excellent one! The COVID-19 lockdown experience is a difficult for us all, but one of the silver linings that I can see is that so many people, finding themselves confined to their homes or communities, have turned to gardening to keep themselves occupied.

But as enjoyable and centering as growing plants can be, whether in a pot on a windowsill or a field full of garden beds, it is a process that has its own challenges. If conditions are not optimal, plants can fall prey to a variety of maladies; figuring out what to do about it can be frustrating, especially to new gardeners (Hint: If you know me, you know that I’m going to say that a good way to insure a healthy, productive garden is to create a good, fertile soil. How to Grow More Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts, Berries and Other Crops With Less Water Than You Ever Thought Possible On Less Land Than You Can Imagine will show you how to grow the best, healthy soil. 😊)

Historically, newer farmers would ask more experienced farmers for advice when things went wrong, but in most places, “old farmers” are scarcer than essentials on the grocery shelves these days, so what do you do if your plants are looking peaky?  I have just the thing: What’s Wrong with My Plant? (And How Do I Fix it?) A Visual Guide to Easy Diagnosis and Organic Remedies by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth can make all the difference in the world (and your garden)—without resorting to unpronounceable chemicals: most problems can be solved organically! The key is to ACT, the minute you observe a challenge. I have found, if you use common sense and learn to “think like a plant”, you may find the problem disappears quickly! Once, years ago, we had a problem with the dreaded “black spot” on cherry tomatoes at our Common Ground Mini-Farm in the Stanford Industrial Park in Palo Alto, California. The books at the time said the only solution was to remove and destroy all the plants. You can imagine our distress. Instead, since the books also said it was caused by excessive humidity, we just stopped watering for four days to see what would happen. The black spot, which had been pervasive, disappeared.

For us, back in the “wild west” of the organic movement, we were making it up as we went along. Luckily, you don’t have to do that: What’s Wrong with My Plant? is an excellent guide to common sense plant care! “Extensive color illustrations and photographs guide you to a diagnosis and a safe organic solution. Part 1 presents easily understood, illustrated charts—organized by the plant part on which the symptoms appear that enable you to accurately diagnose what is ailing your plant. Part 2 tells you how to fix the problem; whatever the cause—growing conditions, pests, or disease—you’ll find a safe, organic solution. Part 3 is a photo gallery of all common problems…Curing a plant just doesn’t get any easier.”

Chapters include:

  • The parts of the plants
  • Roots, Bulbs, Root Vegetables, Seeds and Seedlings
  • Growing Conditions
  • Fungi
  • Insects
  • Mites
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Nematodes
  • Resources
  • References, and
  • An Index

In short, this is useful and interesting publication that can make troubleshooting in the garden… fun? Well, maybe. At the very least, you’ll learn enough to one day be an “old farmer” with advice to spare for the next batch of sprouts. You will become expert. The authors certainly are! Enjoy!


2 Comments on “Growing Strong: What’s Wrong with My Plant? (and how do I fix it?)

  1. Thank you so much!! I’m getting the plant book right away! I love and appreciate all your work John and I am going through the 2-week Farmer’s Course online during Covid.

  2. Thanks for your nice “What’s Wrong with My Plant?” tips.That is why I am here to read your informative article. Here you mention the “How do I fix it?” idea in this point. I really support this point. Thanks again.

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