Summer Magic is happening! Tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, basil!
Depending on how long you want your summer veggies available, and when you want to start your fall plants, a 3rd round of summer planting is a choice! Heat lovers like okra and eggplant sometimes do better and grow quickly in the warmer temps.
Transplants! Lima and snap beans, time now for long beans, celery, corn, leeks, okras, peanuts, peppers, soybeans, squashes, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Choose bolt resistant, heat and drought tolerant varieties when you can.
From Seeds, those plant-anytime fillers! Beets, carrots, chicory, chives, slo-bolt cilantro, leeks, warm season lettuces, green onions, radish, warm season spinach.
Remember your beans-cucumber-radish triad to deal with cucumber and flea beetles. And also plant radishes with eggplants as a trap plant for flea beetles. Plant your favorite varieties of potatoes to repel squash bugs.
Now that your plants are going, sidedressing keeps them going! Sidedressing usually starts when your plants start to bloom, make fruits. Scatter and lightly dig in a little chicken manure and/or lay on a ½” of tasty compost, some worm castings, water on some fish emulsion. Water well.
- Sidedressing with seabird guano (NOT bat guano) that is high in phosphorus, stimulates blooms! More blooms, more tomatoes! We’re good with that. More about guanos and manures.
- Foliar drench or spray with Epsom Salt mix – 1 Tablespoon/watering can, plus a teaspoon of dish soap (surfactant). Foliar feeding is the most efficient. Epsom Salt, right from your grocery store or pharmacy, is high in magnesium sulfate. Peppers especially love it. Fruits are bigger, peppers are thicker walled. I drench all my Solanaceaes – toms, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, tomatillos – with Epsom salt. Foliar treat at first flowering, and fruit set.
- If leaves start yellowing, green ‘em up quick with an emergency doctoring of bloodmeal! It’s very high in quickly usable Nitrogen (N). Dig it lightly into the top soil, water well. Be aware, it and fish/kelp mixes are stinky and bring predators. If you are having a weekend party, use your fishy mix 2 or 3 days beforehand to let the smell go by.
- Heavy daily producers like strawberries, feed with fish/kelp mix every other week to keep them producing at top tasty speed. No chickie manures for them; they don’t like those salts.
- Keep those workhorses like beans, berries, cucumbers, well watered. If they lose their perk, especially late in the season, give them a little feed too!
Special care for your tomatoes if you have verticillium or fusarium wilt in your soil as we do at Pilgrim Terrace.
- Remove any lower foliage that touches the soil or would with the weight of water. As your plant gets big enough remove foliage that could be splashed by infected soil.
- Mulch 1 to 2 inches deep with a mulch like straw that allows air flow but prevents soil splash.
- Remove leaves that are curling the length of the leaf or have black edges or stems.
- Don’t cut suckers (branches between the stem and main branch) off because the cuts can be entry points for wind borne wilts.
- Wash your hands after working with each plant with the wilt so you don’t spread the wilts yourself.
- Water by drip or by laying the hose down under your plant, or carefully with a low flow water wand (like the ones they use in the nurseries), so there is no splash, and the leaves don’t get wet. Wands can get under plants, put the water exactly where it is needed. Fuzzy plants like tomatoes and eggplant don’t like to be watered on their leaves. And you can see how that water and fuzz could make fungi, so no watering the foliage.
- When the toms get about a foot tall, STOP WATERING! Remove weed habitat and don’t mulch or remove the mulch you laid down earlier. The fungus can’t thrive in drier soil. Water around the toms, their neighboring plants, but not the toms. Tomatoes have deep tap roots and they can get water from below the wilt infected soil zone.
Aphids, Whiteflies, Ants Whether you mind ants or not probably depends on how many there are and what they are doing. Ants feed on fleas, termites, and other pests in your garden, but if they are tending aphids, no, no, no! If you see curling or deformed leaves, gray spots on the leaves, or the central stem of your plant turns gray or black, take a good close look. Check the undersides of the leaves, in the curls. Aphids come in black, and gray, in our area. Immediately remove them, either by hand, smush them away, or blast ’em by hose! Check every day until they are gone. Aphid honeydew also attracts white flies. Ease up a bit on fertilizing and watering, making very soft bodied easy to eat leaves. Avoid over watering – ants will nest near a water source. Put a few drops of dish soap around, down the nest hole, fill in/bury the nest entrance. They will never be all gone – what we want is balance.
Well fed and maintained plants are more disease and pest resistant, are lusty and productive! Plan to save seeds from your favorites!
Start your fall compost now. That means letting it process June and July for unfinished but usable August compost. Let it go through August for more finished compost to be used in September planting.
Take some moments to sit under the orange tree. Hear the garden grow. Watch the birds, see what they see…feel the air on your skin, feel the colors. Forget who you think you are, just be.
See the entire June 2014 Green Bean Connection Newsletter!
The Green Bean Connection started as correspondence for the Santa Barbara CA USA Pilgrim Terrace Community Garden. We are very coastal, in the fog belt part of the year, so keep that in mind compared to the microclimate niche where your veggie garden is.