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The Bounty

Jim Boxberger - Correspondent
Posted 7/3/20

So who is picking vegetables from their garden already? I have been picking swiss chard and kale for a couple weeks already, but now the tomatoes and cucumbers are ripening up quick. Granted the …

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The Bounty

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So who is picking vegetables from their garden already? I have been picking swiss chard and kale for a couple weeks already, but now the tomatoes and cucumbers are ripening up quick. Granted the tomatoes are of the cherry tomato type, not the beefsteaks, but we are only to the fourth of July weekend. I stopped by a farmers market this past weekend and found vast amounts of broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, radishes and lettuce of all types available for purchase. Not to mention micro-greens which can be grown year round very quickly indoors. And not to be overshadowed by the veggies, strawberries and blueberries are starting to be highly available. Of course the June bearing strawberries have been producing all month, but now that the blueberries and even some local raspberries are becoming available, and the summer fruit salad season can really begin. I have mentioned many times in the past that wild blueberries start to ripen around fourth of July weekend and can be found under most powerlines. The Marcy-South powerlines that run through the county have some great picking areas and there are trails from ATV's that can lead you to berry patches. Today at work, I even saw a mulberry on one of our trees that is just about ripe. Mulberries look a lot like a blackberries but taste a whole lot sweeter. We still have a good selection of vegetable plants at the store and many of them are starting to produce as well. I took a picture this morning of some zucchini that are just bursting with blooms already and we picked our first grape tomato today. It seems that with the moderate temperatures and scattered showers the plants are producing better this year. A few things to watch for though, later in the season, powdery mildew on squash and cucumbers. Start with a copper/sulfur dust now to prevent this problem later. Also slugs love wet weather, so water your plants in the morning and let them go to bed dry. This will help reduce the slug damage and we also have an all natural slug killer that consists of iron phosphate. When the slugs eat it they die and as it breaks down in the soil, it fertilizes your plants by giving them iron and phosphorus, both needed for fruit or flower production. Also the fourth of July is the beginning of Japanese beetle season. For the next four weeks those bronze beetles will be eating everything in site. Their favorite targets are roses, cherries and raspberries, but they will eat others if those aren't around. Beetle traps are still the fastest way to get rid of the pests but Spinosad, the active ingredient in Capt. Jack's Dead Bug Brew, is a great way to protect your plants before the beetles get there.

So if you haven't looked at your garden in a day or two, don't be surprised if you see some ripe veggies ready for the picking. It is time to start reaping the rewards from which you have sewn.

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