All Posts   Posted:   July 18, 2018 by Nicole Forbes - Dennis' 7 Dees Education Director

It has been almost exactly 8 weeks since May 21st when I planted my summer vegetable garden. Although I had already planted cool-season crops in the ground such as leeks, peas, carrots and salad greens – I like to wait until the earth is nice and warm before planting warm-season crops like tomatoes and squash. Once these are planted I apply a thick layer of mulch to discourage weeds and reduce water evaporation from the soil and fertilize the growing plants monthly; yesterday I gave the garden it’s second fertilizing with G&B Tomato, Vegetable & Herb food after giving all plants a deep watering.

Recent hot weather has been stressful on some of my plants so I have put up a temporary shade-cloth to provide a little relief for the more tender crops. Many of the crops that were planted early in the season are now coming to an end; I have been picking a handful of peas and lettuce leaves each day but my plants have suffered from the last week of heat and are ready to be removed and replaced with something different. Growing food year-round is quite possible in our mild northwest climate; it just takes a bit of practice and starts with understanding what to plant and the best times to plant it.

A friend of mine, who is fairly new to vegetable gardening has gotten a taste for it this month as she harvested her first ripe cucumbers. She said “Growing my own food is so fun… I wish I could do it all the time!” I looked at her with an amused expression and asked her, “What’s stopping you?” Edible gardening is not just for summer; I am planning on seeding another round of carrots as I pull out the peas I planted last spring and will sow some beets and broccoli in place of the lettuce that I’ve been eating for weeks that is almost finished. Fall and winter crops may be started now or very soon as early-ripening crops are removed or ready to be replaced in your garden. Depending on your crops, you will be harvesting anytime from early-late fall (Carrots and Brussel’s Sprouts) or leave some plants to overwinter in the ground for ripening early the following spring (garlic and parsnips).

As for those summer crops that are beginning to ripen- continue to fertilize, deep water regularly, and monitor closely for signs of pests or other trouble. Harvest regularly to keep crops productive; peas, greens, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, snap beans and squash all degrade rapidly in hot weather so best to harvest every day or two in early morning. Tomatoes, peppers, and melons should be picked when just ripe and at the end of a warm day. Sweet corn is ready when the tassels turn brown and the husk is tight, liquid in kernel is milky when pierced. Potatoes, garlic & onions are ready when the tops die back – allow soil to dry out slightly before harvest. Do not allow your tender lettuces or other salad greens to become extremely dry or the flavor will become bitter and less desirable.

 

If you have any questions or problems be sure to consult our experts for assistance. Our upcoming class on August 4th will cover more information on fall & winter vegetable gardening, tips to keep summer crops healthy and productive as well as some ideas on how to use all that fresh produce you now have on your hands. Sign up for our Summer in the Veggie Garden Class here! Savor life in the garden – each season brings its own rewards!

It has been almost exactly 8 weeks since May 21st when I planted my summer vegetable garden. Although I had already planted cool-season crops in the ground such as leeks, peas, carrots and salad greens – I like to wait until the earth is nice and warm before planting warm-season crops like tomatoes and squash. Once these are planted I apply a thick layer of mulch to discourage weeds and reduce water evaporation from the soil and fertilize the growing plants monthly; yesterday I gave the garden it’s second fertilizing with G&B Tomato, Vegetable & Herb food after giving all plants a deep watering.

Recent hot weather has been stressful on some of my plants so I have put up a temporary shade-cloth to provide a little relief for the more tender crops. Many of the crops that were planted early in the season are now coming to an end; I have been picking a handful of peas and lettuce leaves each day but my plants have suffered from the last week of heat and are ready to be removed and replaced with something different. Growing food year-round is quite possible in our mild northwest climate; it just takes a bit of practice and starts with understanding what to plant and the best times to plant it.

A friend of mine, who is fairly new to vegetable gardening has gotten a taste for it this month as she harvested her first ripe cucumbers. She said “Growing my own food is so fun… I wish I could do it all the time!” I looked at her with an amused expression and asked her, “What’s stopping you?” Edible gardening is not just for summer; I am planning on seeding another round of carrots as I pull out the peas I planted last spring and will sow some beets and broccoli in place of the lettuce that I’ve been eating for weeks that is almost finished. Fall and winter crops may be started now or very soon as early-ripening crops are removed or ready to be replaced in your garden. Depending on your crops, you will be harvesting anytime from early-late fall (Carrots and Brussel’s Sprouts) or leave some plants to overwinter in the ground for ripening early the following spring (garlic and parsnips).

As for those summer crops that are beginning to ripen- continue to fertilize, deep water regularly, and monitor closely for signs of pests or other trouble. Harvest regularly to keep crops productive; peas, greens, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, snap beans and squash all degrade rapidly in hot weather so best to harvest every day or two in early morning. Tomatoes, peppers, and melons should be picked when just ripe and at the end of a warm day. Sweet corn is ready when the tassels turn brown and the husk is tight, liquid in kernel is milky when pierced. Potatoes, garlic & onions are ready when the tops die back – allow soil to dry out slightly before harvest. Do not allow your tender lettuces or other salad greens to become extremely dry or the flavor will become bitter and less desirable.

 

If you have any questions or problems be sure to consult our experts for assistance. Our upcoming class on August 4th will cover more information on fall & winter vegetable gardening, tips to keep summer crops healthy and productive as well as some ideas on how to use all that fresh produce you now have on your hands. Sign up for our Summer in the Veggie Garden Class here! Savor life in the garden – each season brings its own rewards!