Spring into summer

Little vegetable gardener

Harvesting cool weather crops, caring for warm weather crops

The more sensitive lettuces and spinach are starting to bolt with the onset of some warmer weather. This means that the plant gets super tall and starts flowering and setting seedpods. It is time to pull out these plants and enjoy the leaves before they become tough and bitter.

If you have snow peas, you will start harvesting soon, if you haven’t already. Harvest early and often. The peas are tastiest young, and the more you harvest the more peas you will get. Once the pea vines start to yellow and die at the bottom, it is time to remove them to make room for the tomatoes on the trellis.

If you don’t have any snow peas, you can attach your tomato plants to the trellis right away by wrapping the growing tip around the trellis string. You can take a look at my video for more instructions. Make sure to remove any suckers (extra vines found in the crotch between the main vine and the leaf) so that the tomato plants don’t over run the garden. Each plant needs enough sun to grow.

Your cucumbers will start to flower. Each vine has a male and a female flower. The female flower has a baby cucumber attached to it. For that cucumber to grow, pollinators need to bring male pollen into the female flower. If your baby cucumbers are withering and falling off the vine, it is because they are not being pollinated sufficiently. Same goes for squash, zucchini or melon. If you do not have enough insect activity and are losing your fruit, you can hand pollinate with a soft paint brush.

Check cucumber leaves for traces of downy mildew or powdery mildew. Remove any affected leaves and wash hands and tools before and after maintenance. If your cucumber vines are not wrapping themselves around the trellis, you can gently bring the vines to the trellis and get them started. Same goes for the bean vines.

If your pepper or eggplants plants are falling over, you should prop them up with a stake so they are standing up straight. Cabbage and Broccoli should be ready in the next few weeks. You can remove large outer leaves if they are in the way of other plants and use them in sautés. Keep an eye on broccoli, and harvest the head before the flower opens. Smaller side shoots will be ready to harvest in about three weeks.

If you have potatoes, they should be tall and lush by now. If they are falling over, you can remove the bottom leaves and hill up the soil as much as the raised beds will allow. This will increase the amount of roots, and can increase harvests.

Once asparagus spears become thin, let them grow into nice feathery fronds. Keep the asparagus bed weeded and watered so that the plant can restock stores for next spring.

Keep watch for pests – slugs, potato beetles, cucumber beetles, cabbage moth caterpillars and leaf miners. Remove any damaged or diseased leaves to get out ahead of downy mildew (brown spots) or powdery mildew. Keep on weeding, and watering (if it ever stops raining!) for a happy, healthy and productive garden.