As we approach the dog days of summer, it is time to do a nice garden clean up and start your replanting if you haven’t already.
This is an overview of that process, but don’t worry. I will remind you of each step as it comes up.
NOTE: Have a bag of compost on hand to add to the garden every time you replant something. This will go a long way in keeping your soil fertility high, and your plants healthy and pest and disease resistant.
Your lettuce plants probably have a very thick central stem regardless of your harvesting methods. This means they are getting past their prime. Next time you harvest lettuce, instead rip out the entire plant, roots and all and replace it with the seedling you started a couple of weeks ago, or with a seed.
If you plant seeds in the garden, make sure to give them extra water, as they don’t like to dry out. Lettuce seeds should just be sprinkled on top of the soil, and planted 4 plants per square.
Your snow peas will start slowing down production about now, they will pick up again in the fall when the weather cools. If you are motivated to do so, you can rip out all of your snow pea plants and plant fresh ones. This will give you a much better harvest in the fall. You can start the peas in pots next week, and rip out and replant your peas the week after.
If your garden was planted in April, your beets and carrots are ready to come out. For later plantings it might still take some time. You should harvest them as you need them for eating, and replace each harvested carrot or beet with a seed to get them started germinating as soon as possible. Carrots do not transplant well, but the beets you can also start in pots next week and put them in the garden in late july once all of your beets are harvested.
Your beans should be just about ready to harvest. Keep an eye on them and harvest early and often. The more you pick, the more will grow, and young beans taste much better than older ones.
Don’t pick your peppers, they are not ripe yet. You may start seeing small green peppers on your pepper plants. Green peppers are just picked before they get a chance to turn colour. If you leave them long enough, they will all turn red, yellow or orange. Even the jalapeño, which are spicier once they change to red.
The broccoli suffered the early hot weather and is not heading up nicely. I have started some more broccoli seedlings for a fall planting. Let me know if you want one and we will bring it to you when it is ready (free of charge) If you enjoy eating the leaves and stalk you can certainly keep doing so, if not rip it out and replace it with something else.
If you have aphids on the underside of leaves, shoot them off your plants with a strong jet of water regularly. Keep an eye out for small bright green caterpillars and slugs and squish them when you see them. Also, small black and yellow striped beetles on your cucumber plants (cucumber beetles) need to be stomped on. These are the pests we’ve come across so far this year. Let me know if you have any questionable bugs and I will direct you. Photos help.
Don’t forget to train your tomatoes up the trellis. Keep the weeds out of the garden, and water whenever it doesn’t rain – or at least every second day. Make sure to cut back your kale, cabbage, chard and broccoli leaves that might be shading your other plants. They are all delicious fresh, sautéed or steamed.
This is a fun graphic cheat sheet to help with which insects are pests and need to be destroyed!