Drying herbs, harvesting lettuce, slugs and ripening tomatoes

Ripe organic tomatoes

This warm weather is great for your garden! We are seeing our season extended giving time for fruiting vegetables to ripen and the leafy greens to establish themselves in the garden.

You can start to harvest some leafy greens. Remember to harvest the outer leaves and leave the inner ones to keep growing. Enjoy these delicious leafy greens in your salads.

You may want to consider drying some of the herbs in your garden. I wait for a dry day that has not seen rain in the last couple days. Cut back herbs the herbs you want to harvest. You can either hang them in bunches in a dark cool place. If you have space, I like to lay out some news papers and spread them out nicely. I find they dry faster and it is less work for me. You know they are dry when they crackle under your touch. For best preservation you want to keep the herbs as whole as possible and placing them in labelled paper bags help keep them fresh longer. If you need to know if a herb is still fresh, test it with you nose! It it still smells strongly, you are good to go.

Watering is still vital at this time of year. Make sure that the water is penetrating the surface. Don’t worry if the leaves on your tomato plants are looking brown or wilted. They are putting their energy into ripening their fruit. Other plants may be showing similar signs.

The slugs are out in full force. My garden has been invaded in the last week and we have been getting photos of slug damage from other gardens. Put outbeer traps. Go out in the early morning to remove them manually from the garden. Put down diatomaceous earth around plants you want to protect. There will always be some slugs, the trick is keeping their numbers down. If the slug problem is very bad, you can purchase a product like Sluggo, or Slug B Gon. These ferric phosphate slug baits are not organic products, but are considered acceptable for use in an organic garden.

Slugs are a valuable source of food for birds, toads, raccoons, beetles and more. They are also an important part of the natural cycle in your garden. They break down organic matter recycling organic matter and contributing to the food chain. Slugs lay 20-100 eggs several times a year. The lay can remain dormant till the conditions are perfect. More so, they are hermaphrodites so they canfertilize their own eggs. 

If you have lots of green tomatoes and they are seem slow to ripen, there may be not enough air circulation. If there is lots of greenery you can prune the tomatoes (no more than 20%) to help them focus their energy into ripening their fruit. If you have powdery mildew in the garden, remember to remove affected leaves  to keep the plant going for the remainder of the season.