Five mid-season gardening tips

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/06, 2016 at 01:36 PM

Five mid-season gardening tips

Early July is sort of a gardening doldrums period for many. We’re right on the edge of harvesting a lot of vegetables, such as corn, tomatoes, peppers, etc. But we’re not quite there yet, so we wait.

While things may seem slow, this is an extremely important time for gardening, a key period where if you are too lax, issues can arise in your garden that cut down on production. Here are five tips to help your garden roar through the doldrums to a big finish for the season:

Weed, weed, and more weeding: Weeds are a vegetable plant’s natural enemy, competing for food, root space, and sunlight. Keeping weeds under control is important, and weeding doesn’t have to be that hard. Using hand weeders, such as a CobraHead hand weeder, can greatly speed up weeding (just be sure to hand-pulll weeds right around vegetable plants). If you catch them before they flower, they can be used as mulch. And speaking of mulch, lawn clippings make an excellent compost mulch that suppresses weed growth.

Be on the look out for disease and pests: If possible, take a walk around your garden every day, and look out for anything odd, such as discolored leaves, holes in the leaves, or even missing leaves (or plants). There are a variety of diseases that start being an issue right now, such as powder mildew and that killer of fresh tomato dreams, late blight. If you see anything unusual, take a photo and look it up, then take steps immediately. That can include anything from installing a fence to keep out rabbits/ground hogs to spraying for bugs/disease.

Keep them upright: Vegetable plants often need our help to stand up straight. Tomatoes, peppers, etc. that end up on the ground are extremely susceptible to pest damage, disease, and rotting due to excess moisture. Upright plants also have better air flow, another key to avoiding diseases such as blight. There are a variety of methods to staking plants (bonus tip: tomato cages do not really work that well for indeterminate types of tomatoes that can grow up to eight feet, and it’s likely too late to put them over plants now anyway).

Give them a snack: It is a good idea to fertilize every three weeks until the end of the season. I have found that Neptune’s Harvest, which is at the Organic Garden Center in State College, is a wonderful foliar feeding fertilizer. To apply you simply wet the leaves, and do so either in the early morning (best) or evening, to avoid fertilizer burn.

Plan your fall planting: People that pull up their garden in September are missing out on some delicious fresh vegetables that are cold hardy, like greens, etc. Basically anything you can grow in spring you can grow for fall. Take care to research what you want to plant in those bare spots that have already been harvested so you’re planting the seeds at the right time. It is also worth it to invest in shade netting to protect the seeds and seedlings from the hot sun.

Tags: gardening | tips |

{name} Author: Jamie Oberdick

Bio: Editor, Local Food Journey | Passionate about supporting local food in Central PA

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