harvesting basil and dealing with powdery mildew
Peppers and eggplants will slowly start to appear. Did you know that a great pepper is just a coloured pepper that has not yet changed colour? Make sure that your peppers and eggplants have sufficient space to grow, they do not like to have competition so keep the area around them.
Help your cucumber on to the trellis. Keep a close eye on cucumbers and zucchini as soon as the flowers start opening look cucumber beetles and remove and destroy as soon as they show up.
While harvesting and weeding to make sure each plant has enough space around it to grow, check for any pests and remove them. Also remove any diseased or damaged leaves and throw them in the garbage. Once you remove the damaged leaves, and adult insects, check the underside of healthy leaves and wipe off any eggs with a soapy cloth.
The powdery mildew has appeared in the Urban Seedling garden. If you see any, remove affected leaves right away, and spray the rest of the plant with a 10% baking soda solution every couple of days to prevent further spreading. Always wash your hands and tools before and after maintenance. Watch this video to to learn out to control powdery mildew.
There are lots fo herbs ready for harvest in the garden. Cut back flowers to keep your help producing. To keep your basil plants bushy, remove an entire section of leaves at a time. You will see two sets of smaller leaves on the stem – those will become entire branches post harvest. This will make your entire plant much bushier. To see how, check out my video.
Dry extra herbs to use in the winter. Harvest your herbs on a warm dry day (ideally after a couple days of sunshine and no rain). Lay out newspaper on the ground and spread out your herbs. You can also bundle them and hang them upside down, just make sure to choose a cool, dry space with no direct sunlight for drying. Once they crackle to your touch place in a mason jar for use later. Have you herbs already gone to flower? You let them flower if you like. Flowering herbs attract beneficial insects into the garden to pollinated your fruiting vegetables. A great way to preserve herbs that have already flowered is to make a infused vinegar. I use apple cider vinegar. I pick my herbs as I would to dry them. I chop them and place them in a mason jar (not to compact but full). Pour apple cider vinegar over, and let it infuse for 6 weeks. Filter and place in a nice old alcohol bottle as a gift or to have in the kitchen to make vinaigrettes or marinades.
Keeping your garden clean and well harvested plus daily checks for pests and diseases will keep your garden happy, healthy and productive all season long and eliminate any need for insecticides.