Ask an expert: Crop rotation is a powerful tool in home garden success

The gardening season is in full swing and if you’ve got questions, turn to Ask an Expert, an online question-and-answer tool from Oregon State University’s Extension Service. OSU Extension faculty and Master Gardeners reply to queries within two business days, usually less. To ask a question, simply go to the OSU Extension website type it in and include the county where you live. Here are some questions asked by other gardeners. What’s yours?

Q: Here’s a micro crop rotation problem: I have planted three 8-by-3.5-feet raised beds (11 inches deep) for a number of years. One is on the second year of strange tomato growth.

Specific problem: Last year ‘Amish’ paste tomatoes set minimal fruit and looked alien with few leaves and spindly. This year the “trial” tomato with my seed order and an ‘Opalka’ tomato are showing strange growth, also.

The photos show three beds. The center bed is under performing. All beds receive identical care. At least the peppers are over-performing. I never grew them before! Thanks for any help that doesn’t require moving the bed or fallow ground. – Clackamas County

A: Since the photos are from too distant a position to identify the tomatoes’ specific issue(s), here is a general answer on the crop rotation problem that involves only planning, and no bed-moving nor fallow ground.

Since this is an ongoing process, and there’s not much you can do this year, keep a record of what you plant in each bed, and plant a different plant family next year. And, if your plants cease production this season, consider succession planting in the same beds this year. – Kris LaMar, OSU Extension Master Gardener

Q: Is there a safe way to dispose of leftover diluted Roundup? – Coos County

A: Pesticides need to be disposed of properly to prevent accidents and to protect the environment. If you have unwanted pesticide products, store them safely and dispose of them as soon as you can.

  • Dispose of pesticides as instructed on the product label. Look for the Storage and Disposal statement on your pesticide label.
  • If any product remains in the container, it must be disposed of as household hazardous waste.
  • To find out where to take your unwanted pesticides, contact your local household hazardous waste.
  • After emptying a pesticide container, rinse it properly for disposal or recycling. Never reuse a pesticide container for any purpose.
  • Be sure to wear protective clothing when rinsing pesticide containers, such as chemical resistant gloves and eye protection.
  • Apply rinse water according to label directions; only where the pesticide was intended to be used.
  • Do not pour rinse water into any drain or on any site not listed on the product label; it could contaminate the environment.
  • If you mixed or diluted a pesticide and you have a little too much left over, try to use it up while following the label instructions. Consider asking a neighbor if they can use any leftover mixtures.

– Samantha Clayburn, OSU Extension Master…

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