Prevention: the best medicine

Fresh Greens

10 to 15 minutes per day of checking for pests and disease

Keep on harvesting! Pick those peas, enjoy the lettuce before it goes to seed keep Kale and Chard under control by removing large outer leaves. You can remove the large outer leaves of cabbage and broccoli as well. These are delicious shredded as a coleslaw, or in a sauté or stir-fry.

The fruit season is upon us as well. Strawberries are ripe and ready for harvest. Blueberries will be ready in the days to come and raspberries in the weeks to follow.

All the rain we’ve been having has been very helpful in terms of watering, and giving us nice lush gardens, but coupled with the hot, humid weather it also promotes more pests and diseases in the garden. Not to worry, a simple 10 to 15 minutes of maintenance per day will help avoid any future problems.

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.

The pests we’ve been seeing in your gardens and ours are slugs hiding on and under lower leaves of lettuces. Green cabbage moth caterpillars on cabbage and broccoli, potato beetles on eggplants, and leaf miners on the swiss chard. Also keep a close eye on cucumbers and zucchini as soon as the flowers start opening for cucumber beetles and remove and destroy as soon as they show up.

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 only disease we’ve run across is powdery mildew. 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.

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.