Garden maintenance mid-July


We finally got some rain! With this unseasonably hot, dry weather it is imperative to water deeply, daily.

The absolutely best thing to do is to put a sprinkler on a timer for 1 hour every day. The best time of day is 4:00 – 5:00 AM.

This is a funny transitional time for your garden, especially this year since it is so bloody hot. The lettuce is finishing up and the tomatoes, peppers eggplants and squash are just getting started.

This means that the next couple of harvests will be heavy on the beans and peas, check your carrots and beets they are probably ready as well. Use your finger to dig around and investigate the size of your root vegetable before picking.

Once things cool down a bit, the lettuce will get going again. To help this along, you should mulch the spring vegetables to keep their roots cooler sooner. You can mulch the whole garden. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash and zucchini with river stones (the darker in colour the better to add heat) and all the rest – lettuce, beets, carrots, kale, chard etc with cedar mulch.

Gardening wisdom says to use straw or dried grass clippings, but I say cedar mulch is so much more ‘city’. Since our gardens are small, you can easily mulch with cedar and simply remove the cedar mulch at the end of the season. In addition to moderating the temperature, mulch helps keep the weeds down and moisture up.

It is still a great time to start your fall plants indoors. Here is a seed starting primer:

  1. Take egg cartons, single serving yoghurt cups or small pots and fill them with dirt. Wet the dirt
  2. Plant your seed. A good rule of thumb for the planting depth is 3 x the width of the seed, so beet seeds at 1/2″. Speck-sized seeds like lettuce can simply be sprinkled on top. Try as much as possible to put one seed per container.
  3. Put your pot in a sunny spot. Keep your soil moist, but not soaking.
  4. Plant your seedling in the garden as soon as there is place for it. The point of starting your seeds indoors is to avoid wasting precious garden space on germinating seeds. The spacing for each individual plant is found on your seed packet. Example: 4 lettuces per square foot.

Beets and carrots, can be seeded right away. The spinach, next week and lettuce on going.

Please give your tomatoes, squash, zucchini peppers and eggplants compost and crab meal fertilizer (on sale at Maison Coop Verte 5785 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest.) They are working hard to produce fruit and can really use the extra help.

Your snow peas should be ripped out and replaced with your seedling or a seed. They will still produce a bit, but are probably getting pretty unsightly and not very productive.

Pick your tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini as soon as they are ready. You don’t want to leave them on the vine too long. Cucumbers and zucchini taste better small, and tomatoes will get overripe and kind of gross. Also, the more you pick, the more your plant will produce.

Tereska Gesing

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