A Request from the Plant Doctor!
We now have had almost 3 years of this column and while it is interesting, it is also much too short. So I’d like to make a few small changes, when you present your cases. You all need to give me more information, so that this column becomes more than just a “clinic for plants.” While it is interesting, far too few of you supply photos and none has an interesting video of their whole plot or habitat. I would like to see these additions. I would love your cooperation to make this the most talked-about column on the entire web. Therefore, below I have drawn up a list of the things I want to know, so I can give much more interesting answers.
- Climate. Are you in tropical, subtropical or temperate circumstances?
- Weather. What type of weather was it in the 2 weeks prior to the problem your plants are facing?
- Soil. What type of soil do you have and what is the pH?
- Fertiliser. What was the last type of fertiliser you applied and for what reason?
- Crop. What crop are you growing, or what type of plant/tree has the problem?
- Stage. What stage is the plant in at the moment? During which stage did the problem became apparent? Stages are : Seedling, Growing, Flowering, Fruitsetting, Ripe.
- Weeds. Weeds tell us about soil pH and structure. What is your most abundant weed?
- Biome/Habitat. Tell us about the trees, plants and animals/insects that live and grow in the neighbourhood.
- Photos/Video. Last but not least, make photos or shoot video! Every modern phone has a camera. Do this before and after, so we can discuss cases on a more ongoing basis. We can discuss which measures have worked and which have not.
Make your story as interesting as possible and I can give you hints on how to manage that whole biome or habitat with minimum fuss and maximum pleasure. I will explain how to become a lazy farmer. So from the next month on, give me the full story and I can explain how these different components of a habitat all cooperate to bring about a certain situation. I can also explain how we can manipulate that habitat, so that it functions as we intended it to. That is, we can go from the monoculture image to the multiculture image, all without introducing a single species. It is by using remedies made from these species that we can create a habitat – any habitat.
Let us all make this the most discussed homoeopathic column in the world! In the process, we gather all the proof we should want. As the sole alternative to chemical agriculture, we can help this method produce the changes we want to see in the environment. People need to use this knowledge and apply it in their backyards. That is where the changes come from, because seeing it work, will make them demand it for their food. So I want this column to be the best in the field anywhere and you, who present the problems in plants, can do much to make that a reality.
From my side, I will put in short videos, which discuss a problem often seen. I will explain in writing what sort of climate it is, what type of soil and of course, which are the most common problems we see in the garden. I will explain the remedies and make it more interesting that way, but I also need your cooperation in filling out the whole story. That way we learn to recognise problems and their consequent results. I think we have things to show that are found nowhere else. And remember, failures are also results, which will teach us a great deal!
Send your questions! : [email protected] with the subject “Plant Doctor”.
The majority of our three acres of vegetables is infected with some strain of Altenaria. Onions, brassicas, beets, carrots, tomatoes. We also have late blight devastating our potatoes and moving into our tomatoes. I have read in previous posts your recommendation of ferrum phos for blights. Does this apply to my situation? If so, can I use 30c pellets? I have these on hand and do not know how to quickly get 6x liquid. How can I use the remedy in a 4 gallon backpack sprayer? Can I use the remedy in the same mixture with organic fertilizers?
That sounds like you have a rather acidic soil. In acidic soil, fungi tend to thrive more than in alkaline soil. What organic fertilisers do you use? If chicken or pig, it is too acidic, if horse manure, it is alkaline. The very best is cow manure, because it is neutral pH and contains all nutrients in a balanced content. However, if the soil is acidic, I recommend to use, first of all, Calcarea carbonica and not above 30C. This will neutralise an acid or alkaline soil. The 30C is about the highest potency I would prescribe for vegetables. My motto is, small plants, small potencies. Large trees, high potencies. The law of similars is always applicable.
Next, Alternaria fungi are generally best controlled by Silicea. Blight on the other hand, responds well to Ferrum phos, but that may not always be the case. There are also other remedies to use, such as Carbo vegetabilis or Silicea.
You say you grow a variety of vegetables and of those, carrot and onion like each other well, and so do beans and potatoes. Tomatoes on the other hand, have to be kept away from potatoes, because they infect each other with blight. Tomatoes do like basil, but not more than one basil per 6-10 tomatoes. Grow together plants that likes each other in the kitchen; taste is often enhanced when we use certain herbs, and as much as they belong together on your plate, they like each other in the garden. Mixing remedies with fertiliser may have an adverse influence. People also do not take homoeopathic medicine with their food! Plants are no different and I would recommend to not mix them with organic fertiliser.
Let us know next time how things have improved or not and show us some pictures please.
My tomato plants got stuck in part of a rain storm last week. Since then they have not been doing too well and are wilting. I am not sure what to do. I am going to buy supports for it, but I’m not sure if that will help. I want to know if I should try to save them, or just start over?
Sounds like you live in Africa somewhere – Ghana perhaps? Your tomatoes can be fixed fairly easy with Dulcamara, which we humans take when we get sick from getting our wet feet. Here is a description.
Solanum dulcamara. Woody Nightshade. Bitter-sweet. N. O. Solanaceæ. (Not to be confounded with “Deadly Nightshade,” Belladonna, nor with “Climbing Bitter-sweet,” Celastrus.) Tincture prepared from fresh green stems and leaves, gathered just before flowering.
Waterlogging, damping off, collar rot. Effects of prolonged wet weather. Fungal diseases, such as rust. General problems with photosynthesis, such as discolourations and fungal leaf diseases. Halo spot, rust, blight, mildews. Injuries. Checked eruptions.
The leading indication for the homœopathic use of Dulcamara is found in its modality, “< from cold and damp.” Any condition which has this feature may find its remedy in Dulcamara Dulcamara is a remedy which produces ill effects as from getting drenched. Thus, we see it has symptoms from “wet feet,” such as damping off, collar rot, and waterlogging.
“Sensitiveness to cold and damp runs through the Solanaceæ, and is marked in Belladonna and Caps., but it is supreme in Dulcamara Dulcamara is a scrofulous remedy and has many eruptions: moist or dry, red, tettery eruptions, especially on leaves; furfuraceous,” as in downy mildew. “It corresponds to results of repercussed eruptions.” (Clarke)
Worse from cold weather, especially in weak plants. It is indicated when the fields remain wet and water remains on the soil after much rain, such as we often see in spring and fall in the northern hemisphere and in monsoon climates, when the rain sometimes does not stop for days on end. At the same time, we see that the plants have a great desire for water, and this may account also for the condition of waterlogging, since in humans dropsical affections are prominent.
It is, like its close similar Rhus tox, also indicated after hot days, followed by cold nights. Such conditions often occur both in spring and fall, when the sun has enough power to make the days warm and pleasant, but which may be followed by night frosts, or at least a significant drop in temperature. Dulcamara will do much to alleviate such symptoms and we can draw this conclusion from the effects it has on humans and animals under similar circumstances.
Since such conditions and circumstances are also promoting fungal diseases, Dulcamara is equally indicated for those effects. It is useful in some forms of rust, Most fungal diseases caused by dampness and waterlogging will be covered by this remedy. Damping off is one of those diseases which affects many seedlings of the Graminae and Leguminosae. It may also be seen in the Brassicaceae and Cucurbitaceae. Of the Solanaceae we may mention the protato and tomato as most prone to diseases from dampness and excess water, of which blight is perhaps the most prominent example.
There are some problems with flowering, especially from the effects of cold weather, which delays the flowering or causes difficulties with the pollination of the plants. In grains and pulses pollination occurs by wind and often in rainy weather wind is absent, which may account for crop losses. In Solanaceae, Brassicaceae and Cucurbitaceae, pollination occurs by either bees and butterflies or is forced by humans, such as in tomatoes and pumpkins. During rainy weather, pollination may be problematic.
Spots with red edges, such as halo spot, rust, blight, small, round, yellowish-brown rust spots. Red spots as in rust.
Modalities and concomitants:
Worse in the evenings and nights, during rainy weather, from standing in water, after significant drop in temperature. Better from warm weather, warm wind, covering the soil with straw (especially in tomatoes).
Similar: Rhus tox.
Antidoted by: Camph., Cuprum, Kali carb.
Antidote to: Cuprum
Follows well: Bryonia, Calcarea c., Lycopodium, Rhus t., Sepia, Veratrum
Complementary: Baryta c.
Compare: Aconite, Arsenicum, Chamomilla, Acid nitricum, Pulsatilla, Rhus t., Staphysagria, Sul.
Hello Doctor Kaviraj,
We live in Wisconsin and are having blackberry plants shipped to us from Washington State this week. Everything we read says to plant them in the spring in this area. How do we preserve the plants this winter until we can plant them in the spring? Thank you!
There are two ways. One is to put them in a trench, close together, outdoors and cover the trench with earth. In spring, they can then be planted out. You can also plant single ones in pots and keep them indoors. Plant out in spring. A third method consists of clipping the roots back and sticking the whole root in water, making sure the plants are stored frost-free. I prefer the above methods.
Honey Fungus is killing all my fruit trees and I am at a loss to know how to eradicate it.
Thank you for your help.
Sounds to me like you have scale perhaps, because they produce honey fungus also. But I might be completely wrong and also, I never heard of honey fungus before. So it would be advantageous to send some photos, to enable a proper diagnosis. Also, please tell me what climate you live in and what the weather has been during summer. At the top of this column, you’ll find some other info which is crucial to proper diagnosis.
I have planted 3 Campsis (orange trumpet vine) in my garden and all of them have grown to quite large plants. The lower leaves are well formed and dark green but the upper leaves look parched and dull and the very few flowers produced are small and withered. I have tried watering them well and also putting a general fertiliser on but this does not help. Could you please suggest what I can use to help these plants grow and bloom? I live in Greece.
Many thanks – Katherine
Maybe your trumpet vine does not belong in your climate. Greece has many islands – do you live on one, or on the mainland? If you live in the northern part of the mainland, your trumpet flower may not be under the circumstances it likes best, either too dry or too alkaline. Perhaps if you tell me what type of soil you have, I can advise better. And if there are mountains, what type of rock are they?
On the other hand, it sounds like it could do with a dose of Ferrum phos, which is for chlorotic plants which have difficulties in flowering. But it is equally important to grow plants not just for beauty, but as partners in the habitat. In other words, the habitat must always fit the plants we want to grow.
Note from Kaviraj : When I refer to treating plants with homeopathic remedies, this is the standard dosing procedure: Put 20 drops of a 6X potency in a litre of water. Succuss the bottle 50 times. Put this litre in the watering can,fill it up with 19 litres of tap water and stir. If the watering can is smaller, the amount of remedy put in must be proportionally smaller. Thus a 10 litre can needs only ½ litre and just 10 drops of the remedy. Apply the contents of the watering can to the roots of the plants to be treated.
Each month V.D. Kaviraj answers questions about plants and plant problems. Kaviraj is one of the foremost pioneers of Agro-homeopathy and author of the book, Homeopathy for Farm and Garden.
The completely revised and enlarged edition with an additional 176 pages is now available:
Send your questions! to [email protected] with the subject “Plant Doctor”.