Hello again everyone, and thank you again for reading.
Today I will cover some-mid season garden questions that come up each year.
I will first start off with the vegetables that are ready or almost ready for the first harvest.
How and when to harvest
There are hundreds of varieties of lettuce so I will limit this article to four of the most popular.
Head lettuce, if planted in May, should be at its optimum size right now so it has time to harvest.
Using a very sharp garden knife or serrated steak knife, cut off the whole plant at the base. Leave the roots in the ground; they will compost to become food. If you want more lettuce, plant more seeds now, 6 to 8 inches from the harvested plant.
The outer leaves you can pick off until you have a firm ball. Wash well to eliminate any bugs and make a salad or sandwich.
Green Leaf lettuce
These should be ready as well; you can use your knife and cut the head off at the ground. Remove any unwanted leaves, wash and enjoy. If you want more, plant more seeds now, about 8 inches from the plant you harvested.
Butter and Red leaf lettuce
These will grow all season; start to pick using your fingers until you have what you need. Leave about one third of each plant, and it will grow until the first frost.
You should have at least four zucchini per plant right now. Some people like to grow them to be giants, but I prefer to harvest at 8 to 14 inches long. This way you have more meat and fewer seeds on the inside, and you force the plant to keep producing. To harvest use a serrated knife and cut the stem flush with the top.
These should be 8 to 12 inches long now. Let them grow a bit more so they ripen more on the vine. You should be able to harvest any over 10 inches long in about a week. Again the bigger they get, the more seeds you will have.
Yellow sweet onions
These should be ready to harvest in the next 7 to 21 days. Wait until the majority of the onion is popped out of the ground. The perfect size for long term storage is about the size of a baseball. The larger they are, the less time they will store in fall since the bigger they are, the more water that is in them from core to outer layer.
These should be ready to harvest, cut what you need at the base, it will keep growing.
Bush beans and sweet peas should be ready for a first harvest if planted in mid-May. Pinch off the pods with your fingers; they will continue to grow.
If this is the second or third year for your plants, you should have berries now. Also check these plants for hard-to-see weeds toward the bottom of the plants. You can lightly prune if you have some vines going beyond your desired area.
You should have cucumbers ready, or at least formed by now if you have fed the plants every 21 days. If this did not happen due to vacations, don’t panic, you have time, just start your feeding now. Also, cucumbers do not like competition so keep up on the weeds. Pickling cucumbers should be 7 to 10 inches long, and eating cucumbers should be at least 12 inches long.
Your corn should be approaching waist high now. At this point, it will slow a little and begin to form tassels and ears but continue to grow up until it reaches 5 to 7 feet. After the tassels emerge, the plant will focus on reproduction, or your ear of corn. The best crop will have one ear each plant.
Red Detroit Beets
These will begin to literally shoot out of the ground. Once they are about half way showing and the size of a baseball or bigger, they are ready to harvest. Just pull the whole plant. Tear off the leaves, wash well and enjoy.
Your broccoli should have a head of florets or possibly two or three florets by now. I like the smaller, more tender plants so in general you can harvest any florets now. If you want bigger florets, let them keep growing for a week or two, but do not allow flowers to form. Once they flower, they may continue to grow, but their taste will change.
If you were adventurous and tried your hand at grapes, that’s awesome.
You should have some grapes ready now. Start watching for mice as they will steal your grapes. You can use a mint spray on the leaves to deter them, but stay on top of your plants and don’t let them go, or you will have nothing but a mouse feeder.
Don’t do any pruning until production of grapes has stopped. Grapes can bleed out, which means when the fluids inside the vines drain out and could kill the plant. Cut back by 1/4 inch in the fall, and then after that, only cut what is a problem. Allow the vines to grow on the trellis or grape rack as desired. In the early spring you will cut the vines back to the main stems.
Clover is reaching its peak, so if you keep pulling, it will be less of an issue next year.
This grass should be finished with its biggest growth spurt as it hates heat. Pull what’s there before it’s final seeding. You should be better off next year.
This is a dangerous weed for farm animals and can totally take over in two seasons. Pull what you see with a long nose shovel. The roots go down about 8 inches the first year and up to 18 inches the second year, so first year control is a must.
Dig these as soon as you see them. They are like Tansey but much worse.
These are fine like weeds that blend into your garden unless you look for them. Be patient. Don’t tip off the tops — this will make it grow faster. Follow the vines to the ground and pull the whole plant.
You can also continue to add mulch to help with weed control.
You can use straw as well, but beware of where it came from. You don’t want to import weeds.
For surface control, you can use orange oil sprays as well pour hot water on weeds. This will not kill the root, but it can be a good way to slow the weeds down while you work on getting ahead of them.
Keep mowing weekly and continue to sharpen your blades once a month. It’s now a good time to replace your filters again and change fluids.
If you have a hydrostatic mower, change the hydraulic fluid when you are done in the fall.
Whenever possible, mow in late afternoon or late evening or morning. Mowing in high heat, midday can slow grass crown production.