Your Late-Summer Veggie Report

August 27, 2012

HOW ARE YOUR VEGGIES COMING ALONG? Any troubles to report? My own kitchen garden, above, is at the “better pick me now” stage.  Here’s what I’m pulling, picking, or snipping as the summer of 2012 draws to a close:

Last Saturday, I pulled 130 yellow ‘Copra’ onions from one 8×4 raised bed. Copra is a great storage onion, for after it cures in sunlight and air, it develops a thick papery coating.

In case you’re wondering, I grow all of my onions from seed, not “sets.” Sets have never produced decent harvests for me.

On Sunday, I pulled 67 red onions. Reds are delicious for raw eating on hamburgers and in salads. They are great for winter-storage, too. How I harvest, cure, and store onions.

Meanwhile, the bell peppers are changing from green to red…

…or from green to yellow, depending on variety. When your peppers achieve the color you want, by all means harvest them immediately. Otherwise they can quickly rot on the plant. I saute and then freeze my peppers as a colorful, nutritious condiment called “Piperade.”

Strictly for your benefit, I reached into a bed and retrieved 3 ‘Blue’ potatoes. Other varieties in the same bed are ‘Red Norland,’ ‘Kenebec,’ and ‘Yukon Gold.’ Although potatoes can be harvested anytime after the foliage withers away, my own policy is to keep them in-ground until October. That’s when my cellar is cool enough to accommodate the tubers. How I plant, grow, harvest and store potatoes.

I harvested ‘Nutri-Bud’ broccoli back in mid-July. The heads of this heirloom variety were enormous. Now, as you can see,  the side-shoots are producing a second crop. These smaller heads are still quite large.

The cucumber vines are the picture of health, probably because I planted the seeds in early July, after the cucumber beetle had retreated. The vines are growing up a 7-foot tall trellis.

To encourage the vines to grow up not out, I loop the tendrils around the wooden support. If only my beagle was this easy to train.

On other tall, wooden trellises are tomatoes. They seem to enjoy these structures far better than cages. My policy is to pick the fruit while it is still green and blemish-free, and let it ripen indoors. One tri-pod trellis accommodates red, yellow, and white cherry tomatoes;  another supports 3 heirloom varieties — ‘Cherokee Purple,’ ‘San Marzano’ (marvelous for sauce), and ‘Rose.’ I hope you’ll talk about your own tomatoes in the comments field below.

Sandwiched between ‘Ace’ bell peppers and the cucumber vines are 3 plants of ‘Red Russian’ kale. These have grown almost too well. I harvest the leaves weekly, and then either freeze them or saute them in vermouth (vermouth removes the bitterness from the leaves).

Here in zone 5-b, kale can produce well into December. The plants are not bothered by the occasional hard frost. It is only after temperatures remain consistently below 40 degrees for several weeks that the plants finally give up.

When you are in my Kitchen Garden, you can look down and see the small Herb Garden that grows between the Music Room wing and North Wing of my house. There are more veggies in that garden, too. But let’s save these for another time, okay?

Meanwhile, tell me about your own veggie patch. What are you harvesting these last days of summer? Or has high-heat and drought put the kibosh on your crops?

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Related Posts:
Classic Tomato Pie
Lettuce Soup
Chive Blossom Vinegar

Comments

  1. Kathy says:

    Kevin,
    I have to thank you for your advice regarding my tomatoes. Once I hooked up a soaker hose, I have had no problems with the black spots. Thank you so much for all your info and recipes. I look forward to every post from you….Kathy

  2. Kathy – You’re welcome. Glad to hear that your tomatoes are prospering once again.

  3. Mysti says:

    Pulled a few more softball sized red onions this weekend, and since it’s cooled down a bit in West Texas, my green beans and cucumbers are producing at last. Cantaloupe and watermelon are our other big produces in August…I have one watermelon – from a volunteer no less! – that so huge I’m thinking of entering in our local area fair!

  4. Hi Mysti – Glad to hear it has cooled down where you are. As for that volunteer watermelon — kudos to you!

  5. Sue Wein says:

    Hi Kevin, Today I picked some green tomatoes. I am going to try to ripen the green ones in a shoebox. I put a cushion of newspaper in the bottom…and will cover with newspaper too. I think it should work.

    I have a question…do you think I could put a small ripened tomato in with them? I only have one banana and don’t want to use it for this..I wonder if it would work as well.

    Your onions are gorgeous!

    Hope you are feeling perfect again!

  6. Hi Sue – Yes, go ahead and place a ripe tomato in with the green. Ripe tomatoes give off the necessary ethylene gas.

  7. Dawn says:

    Kevin, I have really enjoyed your blog so much.
    My Kevin was the gardener at our house and like a true southern boy, believed that every yard no matter how small deserved a garden.
    Due to his illness, passing, and my having absolutely no idea of how to care for the yard, there hasn’t been a real garden for at least three years now. I planted herbs and tomatoes in patio pots, but have really missed the green beans, squash, etc..
    You have inspired me to plan and prepare for next year. Thank you. And please keep the advice and tips coming!

  8. Denise in NJ says:

    Green beans, peppers, and kale are producing big time, as well as raspberries. Tomatoes and cucumbers were lost to disease (tomatoes were put into brand new pots with new soil, and cucumber in a new bed with new soil, but just like the last 3 years disease has stopped them in their tracks). Watermelons are coming along, 2 really huge ones, and about a dozen much smaller “younger” ones.

  9. Carol says:

    Kevin – I have so enjoyed your blog since I discovered it earlier this year! Later this week I plan to try your tomato pie :)

    Tonight I harvested my “jellybean” variety cherry tomatoes, a Japanese eggplant, lots of yellow squash, green beans, one banana pepper, yellow lemon cucumbers and “volunteer” blackberries :) This was my first year with raised beds and they have been so fun! However, I encountered mildew problems this year that infected my cucumbers and squash plants that will definitely shorten their season. I wish I had taken out the starter plant that introduced it the moment I found it. Is there anything that can be done to eradicate or stop the spread of powdery mildew? Is there anything I can do now to sanitize/prepare my soil for next year? I live in the Pacific Northwest so I’ve been told that mildew is a perennial problem… Any ideas will be much appreciated!

  10. Dawn – I would have liked your Kevin. So glad you feel inspired to grow more produce next year.

    Denise in NJ – Your tomatoes might be suffering from a fungus called “verticilum wilt.” Seems strange, though, since you are growing the plants in pots, not in the open ground. Maybe try verticilum wilt-resistant varieties (seed packets will be marked with a “V”). As for cucumbers — you can control powdery mildew with a weekly spray of 2 parts water to 1 part milk. And be sure to plant your cukes in a different location next year. Clean beds in the fall — the fungus overwinters on weeds and any debris left in the beds.

    Carol – Ooo, Tomato Pie! Let me know how it turns out for you. I’m an addict! Same advice as for Denise above regarding powdery mildew. It can be controlled with a weekly spray of 2 parts water and 1 part milk. According to research, this spray is as effective a fungicide as any. Not sure how you can sanitize beds, other than to clean them of debris before winter sets in.

  11. Terry says:

    I have had a lot of crookneck squash and zucchini, much more than any 2 people can eat in a season, so I have been following your directions for grating and squeezing out the liquid, then freezing both of these. I have quite a few portions in my freezer now! Also made some squash pickles. I also had a lot of green beans which I canned. Still waiting on the tomatoes which are ripening very slowly. I have some butternut squashes to store. I planted potatoes but they did not do very well. Lots of green stuff but not many potatoes. Although I do have a second batch going so I am hoping to have a better supply coming up in the fall. I planted ground cherries for the first time and made some jam and dehydrated some, the are good dried, like raisins. Earlier I had raspberries and made jelly. I will have grapes a little later.

  12. Terry – Oh, will you love having that summer squash in your freezer. Regarding potatoes — why do you suppose they didn’t produce well?

  13. Denise in NJ says:

    Carol,
    I recently read that you can sanitize the beds by covering them in black plastic and letting the sun heat the soil to kill off most problems. I’m thinking of trying it this year before I plant my fall veggies.

    Kevin,
    I was doing some research on my tomato problem and read that in 2009 Bonnie plants were infected and therefore spread throughout the northeast. The diseases apparently live in the soil indefinitely, so I think that even though I’ve rotated my crops it’s in the soil – which is why I haven’t had a good tomato or cucumber crop since, well, the last 3 years. I’m hoping the heat treatment will help. Perhaps I’ll need to do that and forget the fall crop this year. I will try the milk treatment. I tried spraying a copper treatment when it first started, but my faithful garden companion dog (a Boston Terrier) broke out in hives and required a trip to the vet for a benadryl shot, and the vet said it was the fungicide that caused it.

  14. Terry says:

    Kevin I don’t know why the potatoes did not do well. Maybe the extra hot weather and no rain? I tried to keep them watered. I covered them with straw also, and am wondering if I kept them to wet. It is only the second time I grew potatoes. Last year I only had a few organic potatoes that had sprouted and so I stuck them in the ground and really didn’t do a whole lot to them. I was surprised they did very well. So this year I specially ordered seed potatoes to grow. Maybe that was my mistake, ha ha!

  15. Denise – Oh, your poor Boston Terrier! Probably half of the chemical treatments that garden centers sell should be banned. Your pooch might like the smell of the milk and water treatment (it’s effective for both blackspot and powdery mildew), but at least it won’t hurt him (or her).

    Terry – I’ll wager the heat is to blame for your poor potato harvest. Potatoes are a cool-season crop. Unfortunately, cool seasons are fast-disappearing in the Northeast, as evidenced by 90 degree days in April! Oy.

  16. Brad says:

    I have planted Cherokee Purple tomatoes the last two years. Both years they split and quickly begin to rot on the vine. Any ideas?

  17. Lynn says:

    I usually plant about 15 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes each year. Plants grew great this year but I found in many varieties the flavor was bland compared to other years. Probably due to the weather. Even one of the farmers at the local market admitted his tomatoes seemed “off” this year. One of the best though were the Big Rainbows. I have two beauties just about ready for tomato pie! Thanks for your awesome blog!

  18. badger gardener says:

    I am still in the midst of tomato season. Had your tomato pie recipe last week and will have another this season, although my plan this weekend is to serve them up w/ homemade mozzarella : ) My patty pan squash made it through the numerous pests although producing 1-2 veggies at a time which is not great for planning a meal around them.(remind me next Spring that I said this:- No squash next year! I’ll leave it to our local farmers.) Swiss chard has been a friend indeed all season and much has made it to plate and freezer. I pulled up most of my carrots the other day. I am picking and storing dry beans and look forward to soups and chilis w/ them. This is my first year awaiting German Beer radishes, hoping to pair them w/ a local Oktoberfest brew within the month. Unfortunately the chipmunks got many of the seeds so we will not have as many as I’d like. My fall-bearing raspberries are abundant and so are the Japanese beetles I knock into soapy water daily. Overall a fun garden season. The late ripening of so much this year will be an advantage in our kids’ school garden as there will be so much left to harvest as school kicks off on Tues. Both my boys got teachers this year who choose to use the garden. Hooray!

  19. Carol says:

    Kevin – I made your divine tomato pie tonight! I had 2 beautiful heirloom tomatoes from the garden. I made mine w/ 1/2 cup mayo & 1/2 cup yogurt and it came out deliciously. Next time I’ll try to have sharp cheddar on hand which I KNOW will make it even more delicious! I’m looking forward to eating (what’s left) tomorrow :)

    Thank you again for the milk fungicide recipe for the powdery mildew. I will use it next year as the mildew has pretty much finished off my squash and cucumber plants for this year (sniff!).

    Denise – thank you for the advice on using black plastic to heat sanitize my garden beds. I definitely do not want the powdery mildew to take permanent hold so I figure it’s worth a shot!

  20. Not doing so well here. Do you have any advice about blight? This year it is on my squash plants (butternut and acorn). The plants were doing well, and just starting to produce when I noticed white spots 0n the leaves. Now the leaves are turning brown and dying off. I’m bummed, but hoping to correct the problem for next year’s garden.

  21. Kathy Fober says:

    I planted 100 Big Daddy onion plants that I got from a local nursery. They were touted as large and good for storage. They grew beautifully and when the foliage started to turn brown I pulled them and laid them on the ground to cure. Then we had over 100 degree weather and after a week they had turned to mush. I was sick!!! This is a cautionary tale. I should have brought them inside where it is cooler and put a fan on them to speed the curing. Coiuld I have just left them in the ground too?

  22. Eileen says:

    My garden is abound!! I harvest daily and still can’t keep up. My zucchini started getting powdery mildew, so I had to pull about four of the worst ones and spray the others with fungicide. That has worked and I don’t mind working with fewer plants because I have SO MUCH zucchini with still a lot more coming. I have some very delicious corn I have harvested and frozen. I have harvested several pumpkins and cooked them up and getting ready to freeze. My tomatoes got a very late start so I haven’t had any yet, but there are many, many green ones not yet big enough to harvest. Plan to use your idea for ripening.

    Love your newsletters and great advice and ideas. Thank you,

  23. Hi Kathy – What a bummer! I’m afraid your onions turned to mush because you left them on the ground. I cure mine in full, blazing sun. But the onions are set on old window screens, where air can freely circulate both above and below the bulbs. When you get the chance, be sure to read my tutorial — How to Harvest & Cure Onions.

  24. Lynne says:

    I am so envious of your onions! Mine never, I repeat, never seem to grow! I water, weed, use rich composted soil, and healthy onion sets. What am I doing wrong??

  25. Lynne – One year, I grew onions from “sets.” The harvest was just what you described — pitiful, small onions! These days I plant onions exclusively from seed (not sets). These, as you can see in the photos up top, grow up to be big, beautiful bulbs.

  26. blake says:

    Hello All,

    I so enjoy reading about all your bountiful harvests. I had a great green bean harvest and canned over 70 pints! I just picked my first butternut squash of the season along with two very heavy, round punpkins which I plan on making pumpkin pie with,
    Eggplant has been doing well. I got my fair harvest of summer squash and processd as Kevin suggested. I hardly have a great garden, but it gets better each year. Right now I am picking some large green tomatoes and seeing if they do as well for me as they did for Kevin.I hope it works for me as I do lose a lot of tomatoes to insects.

    Keven, I made the tomatoe pie. Thank you ….so good!

    I use to have problems with powederly mildew on my plants, and rust of my hostas. This year I sprayed ,after each rain or when needed ,a quart of water with a teaspoon or so of baking soda , a teaspoon or so of dish detergent ,and a teaspoon or so of cooking oil. What a difference in my yard. My Hostas didn’t get rust, and the powederly midldrew was minimized. It got a hold of my rose bushearly in June, and I sprayed it several times with the baking soda solution and it took care of the issue. I suspect if I was more consistant with spraying every week I wouldn’t have any mildew.

    I live in the woods, and as I try to tame the woods further and further away from the house to make new garden beds, I often throw the left over dishwater over the new beds as I build them. It has been amazing how those beds just don’t get the destructive insects that the beds that I didn’t do that with do. Also this year I made a point to keep flowers and herbs intermixed with my vegatbles and that to seem to keep the bad insects away by attracting the good insects. And to keep the good insects, I now keep small water dishes with rocks in it so thosegood insects have a place to land and drink without drowning. Some gardeners have bird baths, I aslo keep tiny insect baths. It sounds odd, but I have noticed a huge difference.

    Happy Harvesting Everyone,

    Blake

  27. mel says:

    living in the mountains makes for difficult growing seasons…we had a couple of hard frosts the last week on june and had 2 more last week…thus, most of our crops didn’t get going, or died before producing. once again no beans. even the brassicas got scorched by the frost. we are swimming in zucchini, kale, chard and potatoes.

    lynne i too have had issues with the allum family in my garden. we have tried seeds, but our season is too short. this year we did sets which worked out for us pretty well. what i did find for my leeks and our shallots is that i have to plant them in the spring and then mulch around them and overwinter them so that they get big enough to enjoy. this year i also started some leeks in the house in spring and it seems i might have a leek or two to enjoy this year.

  28. Seri says:

    Hi Kevin,
    I planted my cucumbers when you did and what a terrific crop I got! They grew up two trellis about 8 feet and I had so many wonderful cucumbers I couldn’t eat them fast enough…. so I shared with friends. Just recently, after hot and wet rains, the leaves got spots and started to die from the bottom up. I looked for beetles and only found one that was dead. Called Burpee, took the leaf to the local garden store and got different answers as to what was happening. I kept asking if I could eat the cucumbers but alas… no answer from either place. I did pull the plants, just to be safe, but my heart was sad as I ditched some terrific looking cucumbers still growing on the vines. Do you know if the cucumbers are safe to eat or are they not safe because of fungus or wilt on the leaves. Is it systemic and can harm people?? I guess from reading the past posts, I can’t grow the cucumbers in that area again. :-( If you have any suggestions I would appreciate your comments. Thanks, Seri

  29. Seri – Sorry to hear about your cuke crop! Sounds like your vines became infected with verticillum wilt. From all accounts I’ve read, the fruit is perfectly safe to eat.

  30. melody says:

    Kevin:
    as always, you are an inspiration. Can you direct me to your tips on ripening tomatoes inside? I am in Washington State and we are back to very cool nights. I have some Old German tomatoes growing and still green. I would love to be able to actually enjoy at least one of these fruits. Do you have any tips for those of us in cool areas to lengthen our season short of a hoop house?
    Thanks
    Melody

  31. melody says:

    OOH..Never mind…I found the tomato ripening page!
    http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/08/how-i-ripen-tomatoes-indoors/#
    But I’d still love any tips on keeping things warmish? Any luck with the plastic bottles of water?

  32. KimH says:

    Tomatoes, peppers, okra, beets, chard, & some squash are still going like gangbusters.. Cukes, other squashes, yellow wax & green beans have all disappeared.
    Im in the thick of canning tomatoes since I’m getting 40-50# a week.. maybe more..
    Looking forward to the next month or two.. Im tired. :D

  33. Stef says:

    My Zukes! Or I should say lack of! This year planted in the spring as usual. Plants developed nicely with many many blossoms….but no zukes. Asked a farmer at the local farmers market and he thought maybe they weren’t pollinated. I have many bees and all other plants are doing very well! Any thoughts?

  34. Beverly, zone 6 eastern PA says:

    Gourd vines have reached the tops of the Arborvitae hedge (not planned) and are cascading across and down in various spots. Looking up to the 12 foot level, I can see Dipper Gourds and Birdhouse Gourds enlarging and dangling ever lower from their weight. I will be drilling birdhouses next summer from these fruits.

    Tomatoes are coming in a perpetual wave:
    Heirlooms Jaune Flamme (orange globe),
    St. PIerre (French Market staple, large round red),
    Yugoslavian (unknown heirloom, but passed to me by an 70-something Slovak neighbor about 20 years ago- pointy bottomed, large and meaty) and
    Red Calabash (small, squat and wrinkly)
    plus the Hybrid yellow cherry Sun Gold.
    They are all delicious. Many of the plants are showing loss of foliage due to spotting although it’s not blight (yet). Today we had a medley of them at lunch with Balsamic vinegar drizzles plus feta cheese and a hard boiled egg crumbled on top.

    No tomato hornworms this year… a few bird pecks…

    Red Onions (set out as young plants) and 3 types of garlic are stored in the cool garage. Peppers have a pest chewing holes in them but not visible inside when I cut the pepper open. Cucumbers are all done, it seems, but I got 16 from 2 vines before the heat did them in. Since cukes are $1 apiece at the grocery store, I feel satisfied that I got a bargain based on the economical seed pack price. Garden of Eden Pole Beans are still going strong and I am picking every other day, freezing some with your process and the straw trick which I love. A new tray of lettuces has been seeded for fall, just in time to carry me over when the current crop winds down.

    Your potatoes look wonderful! That’s a good idea to leave them in the ground until your storage area cools down. I have never grown potatoes, due to space constrictions, but I am eager to try them in the future. My husband just retired Friday. Next year’s garden may be more of a reflection of his tastes since he’ll have the time to get down and dirty alongside me.

  35. Barbara says:

    I’m getting tomatoes regularly on all six of my plants. The Sweet 100s are going crazy, so your recipe this week came just in time. I’ll be roasting mine tomorrow. The Early Girl is no earlier than any of the others; in fact the Brandywine, Celebrity, and a yellow one (whose tag I’ve lost) are ripening faster. Next year I plan to do more heirlooms and fewer “commercial” varieties.

    My bell peppers didn’t do anything this year; I suspect that they were crowded out in the raised beds by the tomatoes on one side and green beans on the other. I got a few nice zucchini and yellow squash before the heat got to them. My eggplants are growing nicely; I just picked a couple today and can feel a batch of ratatouille coming on.

    Since I don’t have a lot of freezer space, I have to be selective. Roasted tomatoes are definitely worth the space; but some of my “abundance” goes to our local food pantry. It’s a nice treat for patrons there to be able to get fresh fruits and vegetables.

  36. Katey says:

    Hi, Kev, I planted a second crop of peas and am thinking of planting some more lettuce. At this point, I’m getting a cuke every couple of days which I’m quite happy with since I haven’t been so lucky in the past. I’m going to mix up some milk and water, though, I think I see the signs. Here’s something interesting…. I compost my salad stuff and my compost bin sometimes grows a tomato plant. In the past, I decided no more tomato plants for me as three years in a row, they died. This year, didn’t even bother and guess what….I have a plant of the vine-ripened ones, and two grape tomato plants growing where they decided to stubbornly grow. There’s probably 10-20 pounds of tomatoes on the vine ripened thanks to your tips! And one of the grape tomatoes is keeping my pepper plants company. I’m happy to get something out of a garden that was devastated by a squirrel early in the spring, it got all my bean plants, half my lettuce, the carrots and some spinach. The best thing about a garden is the continual learning process! Thanks again, Kevin, for providing a wonderful forum where people help each other and share tips instead of barbs. How refreshing this blog is!

  37. Dale from Shenandoah Valley in Virginia says:

    Thanks to everyone who identifies where they are gardening. Location of hints are helpful to me as I learn to grow things in the south after gardening 30 years in Vermont. And a million thanks to you, Kevin, for taking the time to share your wonderful ideas. I’ve started a list of Kevin’s Hints on my iPhone so I’ll always have them with me as I’m out and about.

    I need help with my squash. After years of growing more squash, pumpkins & gourds up north than I could possibly use, I’ve had two years of failures in my new gardens in VA. Squash bugs and squash bores seem to be the culprits. This year I checked my leaves daily for squash bugs and eggs and was successful in keeping them in check. But after harvesting a few zucchini, the bores killed the vines almost overnight. The same thing happened with my butternut squash, but I thought butternut was supposed to be resistant to bores. The butternut vine leaves turned yellow and died over a period of a week or so, which was slower than the zucchini slaughter. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated because I’m about to give up on summer and winter squash.

  38. Donna F says:

    This has been a terrific pepper year for me. I go crazy every spring and order one each of about a dozen different varieties. Only one plant seems taller than the others and late in producing. One plant has so many bell peppers that they look like a bouquet.

    In my own garden, I’ve noticed certain varieties of squash are a bit more resistant to bugs. Costata Romanesco zucchini is one. Late in the season I saw a friend using yellow buckets of water to trap squash and cucumber beetles. They think it’s a giant blossom and drown. I’ll try that next year. I was more vigilant picking off eggs and squashing bugs but that’s a job.

    We like beets but love golden varieties the best. I seem to get poor germination for golden beets. Red beets grow just fine. Any tips or advice?

    I grew ground cherries for the first time but our resident vegetable thieving chipmunk is eating all the berries before they even get trip. I also suspect him of eating baby pickling cukes.

  39. Anna Lapping says:

    That’s a good tip about planting the cukes after the beetles are gone. I’ll have to check into that in this area. Eggplants and peppers are producing like crazy, second crop of green beans has started to produce in volume, okra – out of control as usual, tomatoes have set fruit once again since the extreme heat ended, but I only have two months before frost. Maybe I’ll get lucky, or maybe we’ll have some fried green tomatoes. I have harvested 9 acorn squash already. Getting the beds ready to put in my collards, kale, cabbage and broccoli.

    Kevin, when do you plant the onion seed in your area. I have never tried growing from seed, but would like to.

  40. Anna Lapping says:

    Lynne, I just read your post about the Cherokee purple tomatoes. Usually when that happens it’s because there is too much water when the tomatoes have stopped growing and are ripening. The Cherokees are heirlooms and will always have green shoulders, even when completely ripe. Try Kevin’s trick of picking them a little early and complete ripening indoors.

  41. Joy says:

    I have had the worst year for tomatoes. The plants started out healthy and growing right along. Then they just did not produce any fruit! I have one plant with only three tomatoes, others with only a few more than that. Everything else in the garden grew accoding to schedule. I planted several varieties of tomatoes and thought I did everything the same as in the past years. Any ideas?

  42. David says:

    I wish I had one hundredth of your harvest for my garden. Cucumber beetles are still swarming over all my plants. I have tried everything, handpicking, using neem oil solution, spraying chilli solution and they just keep coming back. Kevin, do you have any tips for controlling these pests?

  43. Joy – Any chance you have too much fertilizer or not enough sun where you tomato plants are? Both situations will produce big plants but little or not blossoms/fruit.

    David – I feel bad for you. There is nothing worse than having your hard-sought crops destroyed by pests. Next year, cover your squash and cucumber plants with row covers immediately after planting. This will create a barricade against cucumbers beetles and other destructive insects. Remove the row covers when the vines start to flower.

  44. Kay says:

    David & Kevin, my St. Louis garden is also infested with cucumber beetles. Everything is eventually dying of bacterial wilt. My tomatillo plants just died over the weekend. They were eating my tomatoes, but now I’m picking them the minute they think about turning pink (thanks Kevin!), and the beetles don’t go after the green ones. The more I’m reading, I just think I’m going to have to greatly limit my planting next year to let them work themselves out of my yard. I’m very discouraged. I just don’t understand how the row covers work, as they actively eat the flowers. Kevin you mentioned you planted your cucumbers after the beetles had ‘retreated’. What does that mean?

    Kevin, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful pictures and tips! I’m cooking with the garlic I planted last fall!

  45. Kay – The Utah Cooperative Extension suggests that “for cucumber and summer squash, delayed planting would eliminate early harvests, but could be a practical beetle management option for mid and late season harvests.” As I understand it, the beetles lay their eggs at the base of curcurbits in early spring. Consequently if there are no curcurbits available in your garden at egg-laying time, the beetles must seek these plants elsewhere. I honestly do not have any cucumber beetles here — but I delayed planting until mid-July. And my cucumber vines are the picture of health…for a change!

    The same Cooperative Ext recommends row covers at planting time. The row covers keep the beetles from laying their eggs at the base of the plants. It is this egg-laying process that results in all hell breaking loose. But who knows…maybe what works for me won’t work for you. These are determined pests!

  46. KimH says:

    In the matter of a week.. my tomatoes were beat up by Blight & they’re done.. I think someone helped themselves to some of them as well.. Owell.. I cant say Im that upset.

    Okra, peppers, & beets are still going on like gangbusters. I hope & pray they continue to do so for at least another month..

  47. Mary says:

    I planted 2 rows of bush blue lake beans to no avail in March. In April I replanted 2 rows, also did not come up. That’s the first time it has happened. What could possible be the problem?

    Tomatoes, squash, jalapeno peppers were doing well until a deer or two had a late night snack. Ate EVERYTHING except the jalapeno peppers. I am so discouraged.

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