Is it sad that I’m already planning my garden for next year? I have honestly been thumbing through seed catalogs from last year trying to decide what I missed out on this year. There are just so many amazing varieties out there to plant — it leaves me wanting to fill up the entire yard and plant it full.
Now, with tomato season almost in full swing, I realize just how much I love enjoying all of this fresh produce. I find myself picking ripe cherry tomatoes and savoring that great sunshine warmed flavor that makes all of my hard work completely worth it.
However, with it also being just about August, I can already see that my garden is getting tired out. The cucumber plants are wanting to start to wither, the potatoes have already let their leaves yellow and even die back on most. My tomatoes of course are putting all of their energy into flowering and letting all of their bottom leaves. Which is more of an eyesore than an actual issue. I just take them all off and my plants instantly look a gazillion times better.
As far as my squash plants I constantly am checking on the underside of the leaves to see if any insects have been laying their eggs there. The eggs are usually little bumps on the underside that are super shiny. If you do happen upon some eggs you can make a mix of water and diluted dish soap (I use the blue dawn brand) and spray directly on the eggs. That will suffocate the eggs and keep them from hatching and wreaking havoc on your plants.
Speaking of squash plants, this is also the time of year squash borers start acting up. These guys can cause you heartbreak over night. It starts with your plants looking nice and doing fine. Then all of a sudden your entire plant is collapsed. If you look near the base you will see a hole that looks drilled in. That’s where the borer is taking up residency.
You could take a knife and slice the hole open and pluck the borer out and kill it. Then you will need to close the hole back up with duct tape or something similar. Otherwise your entire plant is going to continue to flip over and die. If that happens you’ll want to black bag your plant and throw it in the garbage. If you place it in your compost you will prolong your issue and risk spreading through your garden.
Once you finish checking all of your plants, then you can finally go in for the evening and relax. Go find yourself a seed catalog and start making your own list for next year.
Sacha Burns is an organic gardener and owner of Sunkissed Organics in Pinola. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.