Is your garden looking snaggly?

Posted: July 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

That’s okay. It is the latter half of July.

This is when the pests start really munching and the powdery mildew settles in for the rest of the season and most of the corn has been harvested leaving the remaining stalks looking like multiple aphid raves. Coachella for aphids, man. It’s nasty.

The tomato cages you lovingly set over your babies in April or May have not been seen in more than a month. Tomato vines run amok everywhere. Up the plum tree, into the bird bath, through the damn rose bush, making the collection of tomatoes an uncomfortable affair. The pumpkin and squash plants have taken over and you’re starting to worry about whether or not you should feed those large, yellow flowers raw, red meat. They look hungry.

This is actually a good time to do a little garden cleaning. Pull out all those dead, mildewy, rolled up, brown nasty squash leaves. Cut away the mildewy leaves. Put them into the green can. You don’t want that stuff spreading. Spray some soapy water on the remaining leaves. It will help arrest the spread of mildew. Has that Ronde de Nice plant stopped producing? No squash for three weeks? Yank it. Plant carrots.

Keep harvesting. Tomato plants, bean plants, and cucumber plants will produce more fruit if you keep consistently harvesting the fruit. And the zucchini. Do not forget to harvest your zucchini. I’ve collected zucchini the size of bowling pins when I don’t get up to the community garden often enough. And speaking of zucchini. It is probably really snaggly about now, right? Cut off some of those dead leaves, carefully rearrange that vine, new green leaves pointed up to the sun, and give it a good drink. It will find its second life.

If your tomatoes have overgrown their cage, trellis, plum tree, whatever, no worries. Just let them keep going. Lying on the ground isn’t the worst thing ever. We never got around to completely trellising our tomatoes at the plot this summer. We just have to do a little extra digging among the aromatic vines to find those red balls of gold. I’ve tried trellising this late, but usually, I just snap the vines. Boo. The snapped vines are always full of huge green tomatoes.

And like the aforementioned Ronde de Nice, if something looks diseased or bad or is not producing, yank it. Here in SoCal, you have at least until late October, or if this upcoming winter is like last winter, until February, to grow your summer crops. Carrots, beans, and tomato seedlings can go in now. And while it might be a month or so before you see any bounty, your garden will be healthier and definitely less snaggly.

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