Hort Q&A: Salvaging a vegetable garden

Carla Smith, horticulture educator
Pottawatomie County Extension Service

So, the squash bugs took over the garden, and my tomatoes had a late start?  Is there anything I can do to salvage my vegetable garden? 

We are seeing a variety of issues in the veggie gardens.  Herbicide drift, insects, and the late start for tomatoes have some folks frustrated.  You can still have a season yet this fall.  For tomatoes, you still have time for those to make yet this summer, if your plants are healthy.  Squash bugs have been an issue for many gardens.  Sometimes it is best to remove the plants, solarize if possible, and go back with a different plant in rotation. Here is a little video that shows the entire season for squash production with some fall options.  https://spark.adobe.com/video/NvcY2a7TlL5AV  (just click if viewing online, or copy and paste in your web browser)  

Summer may not seem like the best time to be thinking about a fall garden, but July through September is the time to start planting several vegetable varieties in order to have a fall harvest. Some tender vegetables that can be started in July and August and harvested before fall frosts include beans, cilantro, sweet corn, cucumber, pumpkin, and summer and winter squash. Be sure to choose varieties that mature early and are disease resistant. Some semi-hardy plants, those that may continue to grow and be harvested after several frosts, include beet, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, garlic, leaf lettuce, parsnip, and radish. 

Weather conditions of July and August involve high soil temperature, high light intensity, and rapid drying of the soil, resulting in an increase in the problems of obtaining a uniform stand of plants. Achieving a full stand of plants in the heat of summer may require special treatments. This might include shade over rows when seeded and supplemental watering to reduce soil temperature and aid in seed germination.  Planting in stages may help, giving more option for success. 

Insects and weeds can be more prevalent this time of year so check frequently for insect activity and weed growth and use appropriate control measures. For more information on planting a fall garden see OSU Extension Fact Sheet HLA-6009 Fall Gardening.  Crop rotation details can be found at:  https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/lawn-garden/crop-rotation-an-essential-part-of-planning-a-home-garden/

Feel free to call with any questions about a second season, crop rotation, or timing your plantings.  Call Carla 405-273-7683 or email carlasm@okstate.edu. 

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