Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Eagle Butte

Garden tips of the week

Hello everyone and thank you again for reading.

Today, I will go over some vegetable garden and lawn maintenance tips and ideas that you can try at home.

Planting was taking place all over Cheyenne River this week. It is good to see more and more goods being grown.

The only crops that will require some extra care at this point are yellow and white sweet corn, and various varieties of melons. There are things you can do to help them catch up with the growing season.

Tips for late-starting corn and melons

1. Keep the grass out of corn rows. Grass is a nitrogen hog and will take up water and nutrients faster than the garden plants.

2. Incorporate compost. This can be from your compost bin or store-bought. Incorporating means to mix the soil and compost together. Melons will need extra nitrogen to get enough leaves to build melon plants. Figure for every 12 leaves, you will grow 1 melon.

3. On your melon plants, pick the sick leaves.

4. For corn, begin to fertilize corn as soon as plants are 3 inches high as directed on the product container.

5. Water with drip lines if you can. Overhead watering is fine, but if you can concentrate the water to the plant and not the weeds, all the water needed will go to the plant.

6. Companion planting. Plants like beets put nutrients back into the soil, so they will help feed the corn. So, consider planting beets next to your corn.

Once your melon plants are growing well, add low nitrogen fertilizer and higher amounts of potassium and phosphorous. They will also need more micronutrients such as sulphur to prevent diseases.


The bigger the plant you buy right now, the better for earlier fruit.

Use a wide cage. Tomatoes can grow to 3 feet wide, and I have seen plants grow to 12 feet tall. As long as the plant has something to grow into, it will grow and grow. Optimum production height is 3 to 5 feet high.

Fertilize on schedule with a general use vegetable food.

Water every second day until blooms form. Once you have your first fruit forming, water every third day. Water deep to force the roots to search out the water. This is done by watering till you can tell the water has saturated at least 2 inches deep. If using a sprinkler, you can use an old tuna can as a gauge. Once there is 1/2 an inch of water in the can in the area you are watering, you are done watering that area for 2 to 3 days. Also take the wind into account — if it’s windy, this will dry out the soil sooner than 2 or 3 days, so monitor your soil for moisture.

Pick the first three tomatoes on each plant while green. This will force the plant to increase its fruit output. The green tomatoes you can get up, make fried-green tomatoes, or ripen in a paper bag.


It is not too late for your seed crops like lettuce. You actually should still get three full harvests this year.


We all love squash and it is far, far from too late to plant. Plant squash starters in the next 10 to 15 days and you will still be just fine.


It’s not too late for carrots either, but they will need regular feeding and should be ready to harvest in October.


Use starter plants for cabbages now, and once in the ground, cover with a mesh to keep the moths out. The moth itself does not eat the plant — it lays its eggs and their larvae eat the leaves, and leave their poo behind, yuck.

If you notice chewing marks or holes in other plants, the best way to see what they are and remove them by hand with no chemicals is to go out one hour after dark. Get your flashlight and go bug hunting. After you do this several times, you should see a reduction in plant damage.


Every creature has its purpose. One way to keep the rabbits out of your garden is to plant them their own lettuce patch in a pot about 25 feet from your garden on their path. They will nibble away at their garden and with some luck, never reach your garden.


If you plan on keeping your lawn green, it will need two inches of water per week per area that you water.

Now is a great time to feed your grass with a fertilizer that will feed all summer. I prefer 15-10-10 fertilizer or something close to that, and I only recommend organic products.

If you use a drop spreader, don’t forget to overlap or you will get stripes where the fertilizer landed and a stripe of unfertilized area. I prefer a broadcast spreader for the best results. Also, remember to clean off excess fertilizer from your walkways since it will stain concrete.

Keep mowing and don’t let the grass go to seed.

To kill weeds, a solution of vinegar orange oil and water will do the job. Just remember, if you spray grass it will die too. You can overseed the bare area in a week. I use one half ounce of orange oil and one cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water. On a hot day over 75 degrees, you can see results in hours. On really hot days over 85 degrees, hot water alone will kill weeds in the lawn.

I will soon be offering garden consultations by appointment. To set up an appointment, email me at