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Old July 11, 2008   #1
BVGardener
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Default My technique for eliminating Root Knot Nematodes

Yes, thats right....I said it: The elimination of root knot nematodes. And I'm going to share with everyone here my process for accomplishing this from start to finish during my upcoming fall gardening season.

At this point, I just wanted to set up a place holder for this topic and not quite yet go into details. I'll come back either later today or this weekend and provide some facts about nematodes and then get going from there.

My technique is 100% effective and involves absolutely no chemicals (I know, sounds like a cheesey advertisement). It basically accomplishes what the typical soil solarization technique is not able to.

For me, RKN has never been an issue until the last fall season or really I should say, began to be an issue during the late summer season of last year. My biggest concern and a question that I had to answer was, did I introduce RKN into my garden via soil amendments or possibly through a mechanical means?

I answered that question during the past three months and that answer would be no. The RKN were always there but they built up to destructive levels and the reason I never observed them for several years is that I was changing the configuration of my garden each year which meant I was not planting in the same exact spot each year. However, about three years ago, I realized that I was never going to build up the soil if I kept changing the configuration of the garden so I established a layout of the garden and started growing in the same beds.....and I now know that I was building up something besides soil structure.

I researched the different techniques and methods for dealing with RKN last year but none of them provided the results I was looking for. Most of the reported results were rather vague and not something that I wanted to invest lots of time in only to realize minimal success.

So stay tuned and here we go.

Jay

Last edited by BVGardener; July 11, 2008 at 11:00 PM.
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Old July 11, 2008   #2
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Another buildup to where I'm going with all this and what it involves. You might ask, what could you possibly be doing that someone else has not already tried? Well....it's not so much whether its something different because it's not really, maybe a little, but really has more to do with making the technique more effective.

I should mention that this would not be practical for a large scale application where someone had to deal with RKN infestations that encompassed a large area like an acre or more. The ideal scenario for this is one such as I have where overall, I don't have an RKN problem but do have some small areas that need to be brought into control

See the attachment below for a view of the areas that are effected and where this project will be conducted. The orange area is where the RKN first built up to destructive levels. The yellow areas are the latest. This project will take place in the orange area.

Jay
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File Type: jpg RKNgl.JPG (48.2 KB, 23 views)
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Old July 12, 2008   #3
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Hi, Jay -- this is an important topic for me as well, as I also have the dreaded 'todes.

I've been thinking of posting about this for quite a while so we can hash out this important issue beyond the usual (mostly useless) dogma and tips.

Looking forward to hearing more about your process, especially if it involves something more than just simple crop rotation and/or regularly adding plenty of organic matter. Don't leave us in suspense...

One thing I have learned so far is that is best (at a minimum) to avoid planting a fall crop in the same area as a spring crop was planted if one can avoid it.

I am also extremely impressed with the results I've experienced with Dazitol -- a mustard/hot pepper based product that is used to pretreat the soil. I replanted in the same area I used last year, and it was not a problem at all with the Dazitol. From looking at the roots of the plants I've pulled so far, galling was very minimal as compared to last year.

Had one of the best years ever, both in terms of overall productivity, general plant health, and duration of harvest. I'm definitely past peak harvest, but am still picking tomatoes here and there.
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Old July 13, 2008   #4
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Suze and Everyone.....

This technique is somewhat inspired by the Soil Solarization Technique (SST). For those unfamiliar with SST, it is a method used for the control of RKN whereby the infected soil is tilled, smoothed out, lightly watered and then covered with clear plastic with the edges buried in the ground thus using heat trapped by sunlight to "cook" the soil and destroy the RKN - this method requires the plastic to be left in place for weeks or better yet, months at a time to ensure maximum heat penetration into the soil. The SST method probably is effective from 4" to 6" at best.

The obvious problem with the SST is the fact that only a small percentage of the total depth of soil needing to be treated will actually be brought up to a high enough temperature to kill the RKN and depending on the heat temperature achieved, that heat level may have to be maintained for a matter of hours. However, the effectiveness of heat on RKN are dramatically increased when the temps reach 135+ degrees (F) bringing the time for maintaining the heat level down to a matter of minutes. But complicating this further is that all sorts of variables can reduce the effectiveness of soil solarization using the method described above such as clods of soil on the surface.

My version is basically the "Nuclear Option" for eliminating RKN and does use heat. My method is not for everyone. It's quite labor intensive amoung other things.

I'll be performing some minor prep work tomorrow morning which basically involves the raking of the three beds that will be treated and removing all weeds and grass, etc from that area. Next weekend I will be applying the technique and will be posting photos and details the following week.

The material list for my method:
  1. Cardboard - has to be enough to cover an area at least three times the total width of the surface area to be treated and equal the length of same area. Plastic sheeting must not be used with this technique.
  2. Heat Gun - I have one with two heat ranges and will heat to over 1000 degrees (F). Don't even think about using a blow dryer.
  3. Garden Hose w/sprayer.
  4. Soil Thermometer
  5. Shovel
More later,

Jay
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Old July 13, 2008   #5
carolyn137
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I can see it now Jay.

Cover the area with cardboard, hit it with the heat gun, set the carboard on fire with those temps, let the cardboard burn, stand by with the garden hose in case the burning bits of cardboard start flying off into the dry brush in the area and you forgot to add cellphone, to call for the Fire Dept if things get totally out of hand.

I jest a bit, as you know, but I also know how many folks have major problems with RKN's and the fact that tomato varieties that have RKN tolerance are not all that useful.

And it's a real bummer to have to move to containers if the RKN populations do build up to destructive populations.

Baking the soil as you're implying should remove lots of water and since the RKN's move from sandgrain to sand grain via the water shell around each grain, it might just work.

Are you going to also do controls in the same area?
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Old July 13, 2008   #6
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I hope I am not stealing this thread:

Here is what I havew been doing: for maximum effect, if heat is to be considered to treat soil:

1. My raised bed is insulated with 1 1/2 foam.
2. I cover the soil with double layer of clear polycarbonate plastic panels to gain solar heat and prevent heat loss.
3. Near the end of solaring the soil, when the soil is quite warm already from the sun, on a warm day, I pour boiling water into the soil. In most areas, the energy to boil water on a stove is much cheaper than electric heat and it carries the heat very deep into the soil. The combined heat of already hot soil from solar heat and boiling water is much more effective than either one alone.

I do this not to control RKN, which is not a problem in my area, I do it to kill roots from nearby trees and weeds.

BTW, I still get plenty of worms afterwards.

dcarch
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Old July 14, 2008   #7
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Carolyn, I got a good laugh reading that . Ya know, that scenario would be real bad here as we only have a volunteer fire department. About nine years ago, our neighbor down the road bought property right next to ours and cleared some of it and then tried to perform a "controlled burn". It quickly got out of control and it got very close to setting our property on fire but fortunately that did not happen. I do remember having to go back out after the volunteer fire department left and having to put out some hot spots here and there.

Ideally, I do want to incorporate some type of controls but just have not been able to make my mind up on the best way. This project will consist of three beds and since they all have RKN, at first I thought I would leave one bed alone and treat the other two but then I wondered if it would be a better comparison if I treated most of each bed and left maybe the last four feet untreated and possibly put a carboard divider between the treated soil and the untreated so that the roots would not make it over to the RKN. Which way would you go?

Thats another good technique, dcarch. The main thing with RKN treatment, is that it pretty much has to be 100% coverage. Once I get into the step-by-step application of this method, it will make sense as to how this can be accomplished. The heat output from this heat gun makes the elimination of RKN instantaneous.

To answer a couple of questions folks may be wondering about, the reason for not using a blow dryer or hair dryer is that you would be blowing the RKN into other areas of your garden because blow dryers use high velocity air along with heat. Heat guns use very high heat but low velocity air. Again, this will make sense once I get into the details of the application. And of course plastic cannot be used as it would melt. Cardboard is the way to go and ideally it needs to be very large pieces or sections like what a refrigerator is packaged in. You do not want to use a bunch of small sections where you have numerous seams or gaps.

Stay tuned...
Jay
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Old July 14, 2008   #8
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Regardless of how well this works, there is some thought
that shrimp shell meal may help with nematode control.
(The idea is that something feeds on the chitin in the shrimp
shell meal, and once it runs out, its next best food is the
nematodes.)

I came across it at Peaceful Valley:
http://www.groworganic.com/item_F196...theses=3161146

Could be part of a multi-pronged approach to nematode control
(using shrimp shell meal as part of your regular soil amending).
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Old July 15, 2008   #9
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Default Yet another RKN solution

TZ-OH6 posted an interesting reply to a topic I started, apparently in the wrong forum, concerning my severe nematode problem here in North Louisiana.
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Old July 22, 2008   #10
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Hey folks,

I've put this project on hold for two weeks. I do have the area prepared and ready to go but I had too many other things going on last weekend and when I do this project, I need to be able to do it thoroughly without interruption.

This coming weekend we are having quite a few people over to the house for a BBQ so I won't be able to get anything done then either. It's also not something I can do after work hence the need for part of a day on a weekend.

Now I'm off to put in some quality book reading time.

Jay
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Old July 24, 2008   #11
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why can't you do it first, get your data together than start a thread.?. atleast from a forum ettiquette standpoint.

but I await this secret nontheless
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Old July 24, 2008   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aphid View Post
why can't you do it first, get your data together than start a thread.?. atleast from a forum ettiquette standpoint.

but I await this secret nontheless
Some people like to read about projects as they happen.....at least that is what I was told by several folks.

Jay

Last edited by BVGardener; July 25, 2008 at 10:05 AM.
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Old July 24, 2008   #13
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sorry, guess I just got prematurely excited when I read the title of your thread.

whatever the other 2,621 members preferr is fine by me.
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Old July 28, 2008   #14
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For those interested in this project, I'll be documenting the procedure at my website: www.txtomatogardener.com and will post further comments there. I'll have a link posted on the main page soon. More prep will begin this coming Friday with the actual process taking place Saturday morning.

Jay

Last edited by BVGardener; July 28, 2008 at 12:49 PM.
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Old August 5, 2008   #15
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I did run into a bit of a setback in that the county where I live is under a burn ban and while I'm not actually going to be igniting anything, my wife was concerned that due to the heat generated from the heat gun that grass could potentially catch fire and perhaps when we were not in the garden....we did have a couple of grass fires about a mile or two from where we live. And yes, the heat gun will set things on fire if the gun is held too long in one area. As it is, the grass crunches under your shoes when walking out in the yard. Our yard currently gives the appearance of being in the middle of winter will all of the brown grass.

I think the rain issue for our area is about to be resolved with the arrival of the tropical storm. It's headed right over our area and bad weather will be here within the hour.

When you hear people talk about the heat and humidity of South Texas, it's really hard to describe just how hot it gets to those who do not live down here. I walked outside yesterday about 3:00 and it was like walking into a blast furnace. But as brutal as the climate can be over here, there are ways to use that to your advantage. Especially when dealing with RKN.

My technique is inspired by the Soil Solarization Method (SSM) which I've already mentioned and can be applied a couple of ways. The typical soil solarization method utilizes plastic. Because of the climate that I have, I am able to achieve without plastic what most soil solarization methods try to achieve with plastic.

For instance, I took a soil temperature reading at a 1" depth last Sunday and it was 140 degrees (F). Three inches down it was 125 degrees and at a depth of six inches it was over 100. I'll get some numbers posted with plastic from out in my garden soon.

Now here is the problem with the typical soil solarization technique - the temperatures required to kill RKN are not going to be realized at significant depths and so the technique will only be effective for either a short period of time and/or will only be useful for shallow rooted crops.....and probably only for a single season.


Need to sign off for a sec, be back in a while.

Jay

Last edited by BVGardener; December 1, 2008 at 06:33 PM.
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