Viki's Advice Corner for Midsummer
Hello everyone. I hope folks are starting to enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of their labor. Here are some current things happening:
Garlic I have noticed many people now grow garlic and onions. Harvest time for garlic is when half the leaves on the stalk have turned brown. This means active growth for the bulb is done. The whole cloves can be immediately eaten (milder taste) or “cured.” To "cure" garlic so that they last much longer, leave the dirt on the bulb and place in a cool, dry, ventilated spot for about 2 weeks. As for onions, the greens will flop over and start to yellow. Cure these the same way as garlic for use later in summer/early fall.
Lettuce, green peas, etc. Most crops that were sown in May have been spent by now. They can be pulled up and replaced with other short season crops. For example, lettuce can be replaced by radishes, carrots, chard, bush beans, or beets. Check Resources for more tips on what can be grown midsummer and how to be successful. Don’t forget to add compost or a slow release, organic, balanced fertilizer (e.g. 10-10-10) to the soil where the harvest is finished.
Blood meal Before the end of July, it will be time to add the second dose of nitrogen in the form of blood meal. You should have product left over from the first application at the start of the season. Smaller plots need 1- 1/2 lbs scratched into the soil; larger plots need 2 lbs.
Pests Unfortunately, our bountiful crops attract bad bugs that feast on our beauties. The most recent observed varmints are: flea beetles, cucumber beetles, potato beetles, Japanese beetles, and squash bugs. Please check our Pests and Treatments sections. Also there’s a quick bug/ caterpillar reference on a laminated card in the shed. As a cross reference you may need to google “garden insects” to get better identification photos.
Watering We are officially in a moderate drought. Our type of soil is very sandy so it doesn’t hold moisture when it is hot, dry, and windy. It is essential we use proper watering techniques. We are stewards of the earth (sorry for the soapbox) therefore we are obligated to minimize wasting water.
Some ideas: water deeply and less frequently; purchase a water meter you stick in the soil to determine how much moisture is present below the top inch; mulch any bare soil as well as around the base of plants with extra layers of compost or dried grass clippings, straw or salt mash hay. Some people have already placed landscape fabric in their plot which allows water through but lessens evaporation. These methods will also decrease the need for weeding if bare soil is covered.
Smile and enjoy the miracles of nature.