By Jannie Vaught
Yes, it is July and a stormy one at that with high wind and cloudy skies that are turning our spring summer gardens into a mess! But after the downed limbs are removed and the tomatoes righted were are in a good place to prepare for the fall garden. The rotation of crops and recycling of space is known as “succession planting.” The goal is to increase your yields and improve the quality of your produce. Each time a particular planting is finishing there is another already planted and the old one goes to the chickens and the compost pile while the new one is coming into production.
You can change the variety or stay with the one you have already planted depending on your “Liked it, or Not a Keeper” by planting a new batch every 2 to 4 weeks. I do collect seeds from a few plants that I find grew and produced well so they are left in to fully mature and have viable seeds for saving. Check the package for maturity dates. The Vegetable Garden Planting Guide shows Corn mid July through mid August, Cucumbers mid July, Warm season greens through end of August, Okra through July, Southern peas through July, Pepper transplants through mid July, and August, Pumpkin through July, Summer squash through early September, Winter squash through the end of July, If you have a vine bore problem the squash planted in July will do better as the insect is finished reproducing , but I will still have a little issue with them to wait till the third week in July and as the season changes the squash may be smaller.
I had some success with injecting Bt into the vine of squash this spring summer but need to also inject it farther up the vine as they got smart and moved up the vine and the Bennings Green Tint summer squash by High Mowing seed was somewhat resistant and is still flowering and producing with delicious heavy fruit. Pepper transplants, and Tomato transplants through the first of August, nurseries are advertising they have transplants ready to purchase and transplant. Some gardeners have seedlings started inside for transplanting but I’ve never been good at starting this time of year as I’m always so busy in the garden and all life has to offer I usually purchase transplants. With the Indeterminant Tomatoes already in the garden when they begin to slow due to high heat you can cut them back to 2 ft tall, clean out old tired branches and feed them and they will renew when it cools down. If you have a really good tomato plant you can even dig it up and put it in a large pot and bring under cover for the winter keeping it going, they are naturally a perennial. I have a great Ox Heart tomato plant and a Rutgers and a Pink I’m keeping this winter. What grew very well this season were cucumbers, and they are still coming on, my beans were not so good but I looking at a load of flowers so maybe they will second flush. The zinnias are still brilliant and the herbs are going to seed so cut the flowering tops out to keep them for fresh use.
This week is my week for preparing for a July Sweet Corn crop as the 2 spring corn crops got Blown Over, due to the wind shear that did so much damage to trees roofs and gardens. What made it, what didn’t is composted and what we know as gardeners it is all up to the weather!
Rain-shine, wind and hail, you just learn to dance with the season! Ready to prepare for Round Two!
Growing Green with Jannie