The salad days

Salad Harvest

If you haven’t planted your garden yet, we have an end of season seedling sale 2$ per plant at our Garden Centre. We will be closed for St. Jean, but open on Sunday the 25th.

For the early-May planters, you should be doing tons of harvesting every day! With all the hot weather and rain, even early-June gardens are producing lots and lots of leafy greens. Harvest leafy greens by cutting off larger outer leaves to leave the inner leaves to grow for a continual harvest. Keep leafy greens well harvested away from peppers and eggplants if your plants are sharing squares at this time of yearIf your peppers and eggplants do not have lots of clear space around them, they will not grow. 

The same thing goes for tomatoes and cucumbers. All plants need access to lots of sun. It is important to clear space in front of the plants that are along the trellis. Keep your garden well weeded and keep on harvesting everyday! Tomatoes have been planted in front of peas to share trellis space. Usually we would take the pea vines out before putting the tomato plants on the trellis, but because of our cold, wet spring the peas are not as far along as they need to be for this to work.

This year we will leave in the pea vines to share the trellis space with the tomato plants. You can also remove the pea vines and eat the leaves as pea shoots (delicious!) to make more room for the tomatoes on the trellis. Start gently wrapping the growing tip of the tomatoes around the trellis each week. It’s important to start removing the suckers off of your tomato plants so that they don’t take too much energy away from producing your tomatoes, and to keep control over your garden.

Garlic scapes are ready to harvest. It is important to remove them all from each garlic plant so that the plant’s energy goes into producing bulbs instead of flowers. The scape is the curled end above the top leaves, see photo below. Remove and enjoy – they are delicious!

If you have broccoli, make sure to harvest the head before it opens into hundreds of little yellow flowers! The florets (small broccoli heads on the side of the main stalk) will be ready in 2 or 3 weeks. Bokchoy, mizuna, arugula and tatsoi are starting to flower in some sunnier gardens as well. Harvest the entire plant to eat while it is still tasty. The flowers are delicious too!

Did you remember to thin your beets and carrots? Make sure each one of these little seedlings has an inch or two between plants to form a nice root. Young shoots are a delicious addition to your daily garden salad.

It is important to keep on top of Slugs and leaf miner populations early in the season as well. The leaf miner can wipe out your chard or beet crops if left unchecked. Remove affected leaves and destroy. Check backs of healthy leaves for eggs and scrape off with your nail. It is important to get slugs out of the garden right away. They grow quickly and multiply! Use beer traps and hand picking to get out ahead of the population explosion. Watering in the morning instead of at night can helps to reduce slug populations.

It is important to water your garden deeply every day that it is not raining. Ideally it would be a morning watering so that the water has a chance to penetrate deeply instead of evaporating, and to avoid damaging the plants under a hot noon-day sun. Small, yellowing plants are almost always due to not enough water to support the rapid growth on the hot, sunny days.

You have the opportunity to get on top of your weeding while the weeds are still small. Weed early and often to avoid competition for your vegetables, and a lot of extra work. Small weeds are way easier to pull than huge ones. Weeding early and often makes maintaining your garden a lot easier, and it also helps to keep pests such as slugs and snails out of the garden.

We’ve seen some flea beetle damage (round small holes) in the bokchoy, mustard greens and other leafy greens. Applications of Diatomaceous Earth or Black Soap and installing Yellow Sticky Traps are effective ways of controlling these pests. The damage is cosmetic — the affected plants are still edible and delicious!