Gardening Year Round Class at Grandview Heights Public Library on Thursday October 10th, 2019

The backyard grower, community gardener and urban farmer can keep the harvest going year round through a combination of indoor and outdoor plantings.  Bring your friends and your questions to this free class in partnership with Grandview Heights Public Library.

Click here to view, download, or print the flyer –>  Year Round Gardening GView Lib 2019

Keep the Garden and the Harvest Alive Over Winter – Free Class on the South Side on Thursday October 3rd, 2019

Ohio is a four season growing environment.  Come to this free class to learn how the backyard grower, community gardener and urban farmer can keep the harvest going as well as build on soil health over winter.

To view, download or print the flyer click here –>  Over Wintered Planting at 1200

Tips for a Successful Zucchini, Squash and Cucumber Harvest

For many backyard growers, community gardeners and urban farmers, growing the cucurbits can be a challenge.  This vegetable (fruit?)  family is affected by a large number of garden insects as well as both bacterial and fungal disease.  There are a few tips and tricks that can be used to make sure some harvest makes it to the table or sales booth in 2019.

First thing to do is mind your pollinators.  Cucurbits are commonly dependent on pollinators as they have separate male and female flowers.  Once the flowers emerge, use of pesticides can damage pollinators and lead to decreased harvest.

 

The male flower is at the bottom right. It is simply a flower at the end of the stem. The female flower of this yellow summer squash is behind the male flower and has an immature fruit at the base.

 

Scouting is a very important part of the Integrated Pest Management strategy.  I had not seen cucumber beetles in large numbers until the July 4th holiday weekend.  Then I started to see them in moderate to large numbers on my summer squash.

 

Adult Striped Cucumber Beetle. This bug will damage leaves, stems, flowers, and fruit while feeding. It also transmits a bacterial wilt that can rapidly cause death in cucurbit plants.

 

 

This is an adult squash vine borer. They lay eggs at the base of the stems and their larvae then tunnel through the stem of the plant disrupting vascular flow and often killing the plant.

My own plantings of winter squash, both Waltham Butternut and Buttercup, died over the last weekend in July while the summer squash persisted. Suspects include squash vine borer damage or bacterial wilt from cucumber beetles.

Squash bugs are another common pest of cucurbits that can be present in large numbers in plantings.

Squash bug eggs are laid white, then rapidly change color to bronze. They are commonly found on the underside of cucurbit leaves and should be removed immediately when discovered and discarded away from the plants.

 

This is the juvenile form of squash bugs. They can achieve large numbers fairly rapidly.

 

One great strategy to get a harvest of summer squash is to plant a summer planting now for a fall harvest.  Many of the pests of cucurbits will be transitioning to their over-wintered habitat and become less of a problem in fall.  If you want to learn how to do this there is a free class on Thursday August 8th at the Bronzeville Growers Market to assist the backyard grower, community gardener and urban farmer on What to Plant NOW for the Fall Garden.

 

 

What to Plant NOW For Your Fall Garden: Class at The Bronzeville Growers Market on Thursday August 8th @ 4pm.

The backyard grower, community gardener and urban farmer in Ohio can harvest all year long in our four season growing environment.  Learn what to plant now for a fall harvest at this class at the Bronzeville Growers Market.  The market is open for fresh produce sales from 3-6 with a class at 4 pm.  The class will be outdoors at the market and participants are encouraged to bring chairs if needed.  Bring your friends and your questions to this free class.

Click HERE to view, download or print the flyer –> Bronzeville Fall Garden Class

Keeping Tomatoes Healthy in Hot Weather

What a summer it has been so far.  Early on the heavy rains provided many challenges for the tomato grower.  Now we are in a heat wave with more heat to come.  Contrary to what many think, tomatoes are not heat lovers. They much prefer 75 to 95.  When temperatures get too hot during the day (over 85 degrees) or are too hot overnight (over 70 degrees) many vegetables including tomatoes and peppers will drop their blossoms. This will cause a noticeable drop off in harvest in a few weeks.  I have noticed this effect in my garden:

  • Tomatoes – heirloom and large slicing varieties affected more often than cherry tomato types.  New cultivars of heat resistant tomatoes have been developed for southern climates.
  • Peppers – bell type peppers more affected than hot chili type peppers. Peppers seem more sensitive than tomatoes to this.
  • Eggplant, squash and legumes can also be affected.

 

There are a few things that the backyard grower, community gardener and urban farmer can do to mitigate this harvest loss:

  • Mulch around plantings to cool the soil and conserve soil moisture.  Organic or non-organic mulch can be used.
  • Water deeply and completely at the root zone.  DO NOT overhead irrigate.
  • Plant multiple tomato varieties to ensure a harvest.  Research the use of heat-tolerant cultivars.

 

CLICK HERE for a Tomato Blossom Drop Fact Sheet

 

 

 

Planning and Planting Start Now For Your 2019 Fall Garden Harvest

It is hard to imagine with tomatoes barely starting to ripen that now is the time to start planning and planting for the 2019 fall garden harvest.  The backyard grower, community gardener and urban farmer should plan one season ahead to make sure they maximize harvest in the future.  Right now is the time to think about filling the spots in the garden that will open up after the spring and early summer plants are removed.

The goal is to make sure the garden is planted with no bare soil the entire year,  including winter.  That requires planning. First consider crop rotation.  To do this you need to know your vegetable families.

Take this opportunity to make sure that you keep your ground planted at all times.  There are a number of short term crops that could go into the garden right now that will allow harvest prior to the frost date:

  • Green Beans – can be planted every two weeks for the next month.  Choose rapid bush type varieties.

Beans were planted August 1st. Row cover may be needed overnight for frost protection. Uncover when temperatures warm to facilitate pollination.

  • Peas – Sugar Snaps are 70 days until maturity.  Germination can be tricky with hot, baked clay soils.
  • Summer Squash/Zucchini – plant now or wait until closer to the end of the month in order to miss cucumber beetles for a fall harvest.

Picture taken Mid-October. Notice due to delayed planting their are no cucumber beetles or stink bugs infesting the plants. Planting date was August 1st

  • Swiss Chard – plant now for a fall harvest
  • Green Onions – plant now for a fall harvest
  • Tomato/Pepper – transplants of short season varieties(if you can still find them locally) are possible right now in case the grower has lost plants due to pest damage.  Rotate to another spot in the garden.
  • Lettuce – can be planted from seed or transplant.  May need shade cloth to protect from heat.  Start transplants indoor every two weeks for the next three months for a fall and early winter harvest.
  • Brassicas – start indoor transplants of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Asian greens now to transplant outdoors in late August.

    Start many types of greens indoors now and repeat every two weeks. . Can be transplanted outside later in the season when the weather cools down.

  • Radish – wait until later in the season to direct seed.
  • Beets – can direct seed in the garden now for fall harvest.
  • Carrots – can direct seed in the garden now for fall harvest.
  • Herbs – start more basil now from seed outdoors for a late summer harvest to pair with fresh tomatoes.
  • Cover Crops – keep your garden planted.  Summer cover crops like buckwheat can be planted now, plan on your over wintered space.

Buckwheat is an excellent summer cover crop for developing soil health, suppressing weeds and providing for pollinators.

Think about the spot that you will use for over-wintered spinach production using low tunnels and row cover.

Winter is Coming.

 

Make sure to address fertility.  Did your most recent harvest take out your nutrition?  Address that prior to planting the fall garden.

Feel free to join us at a Garden Walk at Worthington Community Garden on Thursday July 25th to talk about the fall garden plus many more garden topics.  Free and open to the public.