From Across the Field – Knee High by the 4th of July?

While the heat and high humidity over the weekend and into Monday may have been uncomfortable for us, it sure made the corn across the region grow. Corn growth and development is based on growing degree days, which have accumulated rapidly the past couple of weeks. Most of the earlier planted corn in the county looks good and will be closer to shoulder high by Independence Day. There is still a fair amount of later planted corn to be side dressed, to provide nitrogen for the rest of the growing season. Conditions just haven’t been ideal to apply that fertilizer due to the wet conditions (again) this spring.

As the corn crop continues to grow we have begun insect trapping for the growing season. Each week’s trap counts can be found in my weekly electronic newsletter and Western Bean Cutworm counts will be a feature in the corn newsletter beginning next week. This is also the time of year that Japanese beetles start to emerge. Although Japanese beetles can do considerable damage in the landscape and on grapes, they can also do a lot of damage to lawns while in the larvae stage. Going forward keep a lookout for beetles feeding on ornamentals, fruits and vegetables and pick or spray as needed.

I hope things are going good in everyone’s gardens so far. There are still a few crops we can plant in the garden right now, such as pumpkins and squash. These plants have very similar cultural requirements and are pretty easy to grow successfully. Pumpkins and winter squash take longer to mature and should be planted now. Summer squash like zucchini, crookneck, scallop for example, have shorter growing requirements and can be planted now and a few weeks later for continual harvest. One can directly plant seeds into the garden or purchase transplants at garden centers. Most of these plants require a large amount of room to grow; however, there are varieties that have a ‘bush’ or compact growing habit for smaller gardens.  In addition to watching for diseases, keep an eye out for insects like cucumber beetles that transmit bacterial and viral infection.

I’ll end this week with a quote from Eric Hoffer: “The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” Have a great week.

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