Tomato season is in full swing. You should be enjoying wonderful tomato-basil-bocconcini salads.
I like to include some steamed Kale to the mix and drizzle with reduced balsamic and some nice virgin olive oil. Delicious.
If you were not diligent in removing the suckers from your tomato plants earlier in the season, you may have some very long branches dragging on the ground or otherwise spilling into your garden. I suggest tying these up to the trellis with some string to give your other plants more space and to keep slugs away from your tomatoes that might be touching the ground.
This week we finally got some sustained rain! With all of the drought and dry weather we’ve had for the last 6 weeks or so, many of the plants have been unusually stressed. This makes plants more susceptible to pests and disease. We have seen problems with cucumbers, melons, zucchini and squash especially. They have been attacked by cucumber beetles and powdery mildew.
Powdery mildew can be controlled with a spray made from 1 tablespoon baking soda, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon dishsoap in a gallon of water. Spray the entire plant, the spray will stop the powdery mildew from spreading, but will not cure affected plants. Remove damaged leaves where they connect with the vine. Also a good defence for beans and against Cabbage Butterfly.
Cucumber beetles can also be spotted, but so far I’ve only seen the striped variety. At this point in the season, the best we can do is to remove them manually and kill them. Remove any damaged leaves, and be sure to keep the ground free of debris. You can generally find them in and around the flower.
Unfortunately it is too late in the season to plant more cucumbers, zucchini, melon or squash. If your plants are too far gone, simply remove them. Dispose of the plants in the garbage (not on a compost pile ) and we will try again next year. You can replace them with a fall crop.
Now is a great time to plant fall crops. This can include any lettuce, beans, peas, spinach, radish, bok choy, roquette, beets, carrots. If you want a broccoli or cabbage, I still have a couple of seedlings available. Just drop me a line and let me know.
This has also been a particularly bad year for the Cabbage Butterfly, and resulting Cabbage Caterpillar. This green caterpillar likes brassicas: Broccoli, cabbage, bok choy and kale. Check these plants for an inch long green caterpillar. Remove and destroy. If the plant is still small, it can benefit from washing the underside of the leaves with soapy water to remove any eggs. Spray with the baking soda mixture to help deter the butterfly from landing.
If you still have your old pea plants from the beginning of the season, they most likely have some pea pods that have fully dried out. You can crack these open and plant the peas directly into the garden for a fresh crop.
Don’t forget to add compost whenever you replant. Adding mulch (i like natural cedar mulch) around your fall plants can really help them conserve moisture and regulate root temperature better.