3 Ways to Keep Your Garden Healthy in July
1. Watch Out for diseases!
My daughter had the unfortunate learning experience of finding fusarium wilt on her tomatoes. This is a disease that lives in the soil. The tomato effected by it will look fine and healthy one day and the very next day it will be terribly wilted, you may also notice yellowing of the branches on one side of the plant or a browning main stem. Once the plant has contracted it, there is no cure. The best thing to do is pull the plants effected by it (usually tomatoes) and throw them away in the garbage or burn them. Do not put them on the compost pile as that will infect your compost as well. This disease is caused by a fungus and can live in the soil for an unknown amount of time.
The good news is that to avoid this disease there are a couple things you can do.
1. Buy a tomato plant that on the label it says FW resistant. This means that this plant was grown to be resistant to this fungal disease!
2. Make sure your soil has ample drainage, and avoid watering at night
3. This could also be caused by an unbalance ph level in the soil (you can get a simple soil test kit in most big box stores)
4. Rotate crops! Don’t plant tomatoes in the same location.
2. SPY BUGS!
With squash you will want to watch out for squash borer. Inspect at the base of the stem of each plant for holes or fras (yellow mushy stuff). If you see them, slice the stem length wise and remove the borer then pile dirt over the stem and water thoroughly.
When looking for most bugs, look under the leaves. If you see some start with the safest defense by spraying with soapy water. You can buy Safer soap in the store. I just use dish detergent and water. For example with white fly their reproduction cycle can be as short as every 3 days so plants would need to be sprayed every 3 days for about 2 weeks. Then next step if that doesn’t work, is Sevin dust. If you use any commercial insecticide be sure to read the label to know if that particular spray will target your specific pest. Then check the label for days until harvest before picking your crop, there is usually a wait period after you have used the insecticide for
3. Harvest food and Flowers
Summer cutting flowers are some of our favorites! A few are snap dragons, zinnias (they also attract butterflies), veronica, cone flowers, and dahlias. The great thing about these flowers is that you can and should cut them and then they will bloom again. This is called dead heading. Most summer flowers will continue to bloom if you clip the dead flowers off. And of course pick those veggies and share with friends and neighbors if you have extra. You might be surprised how things that you grow yourself can bring a smile to someone else.