Greener BeeGreen TipsGardening column: Tips for saving tomato and green bean plants …

Q. My tomato plants are struggling with blight and I am wondering if there is a safe spray I can use other than just pruning off the blighted leaves?

A.Garden Safe offers a product that is labeled safe for use in organic gardens; Fungicide 3.

• When using any product such as this, always follow label directions.

• Also take the time to read the list of plants that this product was especially formulated for then do not use them liberally throughout the garden.

• Spray only the plant that has the problem.

• Spray in the evening after the sun has gone down or on a cloudy day—not during the hottest part of the day.

• Continue to monitor the plant and remove any blighted leaves.

• Always water deeply and at the root zone and early morning or late afternoon if you have to.

• Keep the soil clean of blighted leaves and weeds.

• When all else fails, you may need to remove a plant that can’t be saved in order to save the other plants in your garden.

Q.I have bindweed and morning glories coming up everywhere and they have gotten into my green bean bed and are wrapping themselves around the bean vines. This is very upsetting so can you help?

A.Both of these noxious weeds need to be stopped at germination if you are ever to get control of them. Since they have already invaded your garden, sorry to say your only recourse now is to stop them from blooming and setting seed and kill as many of them as possible without harming the beans.

• Find the root of those vines and pull them from the soil.

• They will probably stay locked around the beans but they will die if you do that.

• Also if you are unable to locate the root, remove any upward growth and buds or blooms that you see so they cannot make seed.

• Next spring, when you see germination of either of these plants, before they can invade your garden; you can pull them, use vinegar and as a last resort, go for the Roundup.

Q.I would like to make my own tea from herbs I’m growing this year. Do you have a quick list of what to do so that I can preserve some of them to use.

A.It is fairly easy to dry herbs for teas and also to be used in recipes.

• I’m not sure which herbs you have but some that are used to make teas are peppermint, orange mint, spearmint, lemon balm, chamomile, rose hips and others.

• Some people can have allergic reactions to these herbs so it is a good idea to research the plants you have before making teas with them.

• Teas can be made from fresh leaves or dried.

• Rose hips can be used for tea when they have turned brown.

• Gather the leaves when they are young and healthy, and early in the day right after the dew has dried on the plant.

• Cut long stems of herb leaves, bundle and tie in bunches to be air dried.

• Hang them upside-down in a cool, shady or dark place where there is lots of air movement.

• When the leaves are very dry and crunchy, strip them off the stems, and store them in airtight jars out of sunlight.

• Brew them as you would any other loose tea.

Jane Ford is an Advanced Master Gardener. Email questions to She also answers gardening questions with horticulture educator Ricky Kemery noon-1 p.m. the second and fourth Thursday of each month on “The Plant Medic,” a radio show on 95.7fm. This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of The News-Sentinel.

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