June 18, 2014
It looks like the gardens are finally getting into their growing mode. It’s nice to see all the hard work of planting beginning to show signs of progress.
If you planted squash and / or cucumbers, you should be watching the plants for signs of insects. Cucumber beetles and squash bugs are beginning to find the plants in many gardens. If you find these beetles, be sure to treat your plants with an appropriate insecticide. At this time of the season, the squash plants will be prone to the eggs being laid for the squash vine borer. The eggs are laid on the stem of the plant. The eggs are usually laid right where the squash stems emerge from the soil. The eggs eventually hatch and the little borers tunnel their way into the squash stem. Eventually they eat the tissue inside the stem. Later in the season, the squash will wilt during the day. This happens because the plant cannot take up the water that they need to keep the plant healthy. Eventually the plant will succumb to the borers. You can prevent this from happening by spraying the stem with an appropriate dust or spray applied to the stem where the stem emerges from the soil. As the eggs hatch, the borers consume the insecticide and they are killed before they damage the plant. You should do multiple applications to the stem if the insecticide is washed off the stem.
Water restrictions are in place in many towns. These restrictions control the times that you can water your gardens. Generally, you can water in the morning and you can water in the evening. It is better for the plants if you water in the morning. Plants take up water better in the morning. If you water in the evening, plants go into the night with wet leaves. Wet leaves during the nighttime hours create the perfect conditions for fungus diseases to grow on your plants. Keep in mind that even though you are not watering at night, rainy weather can lead to fungus diseases on your plants. We have come through a period of rainy days. This has lead to conditions favorable to fungus diseases growing on your plants. You should check your plants, on a regular basis, for signs of fungus diseases on your plants. If you let diseases get ahead of you on your plants, your plants can eventually die. To sum this up, water in the morning and keep an eye out for signs of fungus diseases on your plants and treat at the first sign of a disease.
Tomatoes are the favorite plant in many vegetable gardens. Those tiny plants that you put into the ground in late May or early June will eventually grow into 5, 6 or 7-foot plants. Once the tomatoes begin to set on the plant, those tomato plants will fall onto the ground. While those plants are still small, you should be putting tomato cages over the plants. The cages allow the plant to grow up through the center of the plant and to support the plant as it grows. The mistake most people make with tomato cages is that people use too small of a tomato cage. You should be using at least a 42 or 56-inch tomato cage. The other alternative is to place a wooden stake next to the plant and tie the stem of the plant to the stake. By getting your support in place on your tomato plants now, you will be saving yourself from a lot of grief later in the season.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.