Friday, August 14, 2009

Vegetable Garden Maintenance

For all us Useful Gardeners - Just a reminder of how important it is to keep your vegetable and fruit plantings clean at this time of year. Pests and diseases spread and harbor in any damaged, diseased and decaying vegetation and fruits. As you are collecting that hard-earned harvest each day or two, it's important to remove any veggies and fruits that show signs of damage or disease. That slug-bitten pepper will only get more decay, it won't heal and get better. Ditto those tomatoes. If you remove the damaged fruits as soon as you spot them, you'll avoid having to pull off disgusting, rotten remains later and you will have removed and/or discouraged whatever caused the damage in the first place. Removing bad produce will encourage the plants to create new, clean fruits that you can use. There's still lots of time for lovely produce from your garden - don't hang onto the bad stuff.

If you think that the problem stems from disease, as with tomato plants succumbing to Southern Wilt, do NOT compost that material. Most home compost heaps are not "hot" enough to deter viruses and diseases that will later be spread anywhere you use that compost.

If it seems pretty obvious that the culprit is pecking birds, creeping slugs, worms, beetles or any of your other garden co-inhabitants, then toss the veggies and fruits onto the compost heap, making sure that you cover them well with dirt or grass clippings. (In our setup, they are left on top of the heap so that the chickens can enjoy and "turn" them for us.)

1 comment:

  1. It took me soooo long to adjust to the August meltdown that takes place in gardens (and elsewhere) here...up north the gardens are at their peak in late summer with perenial beds and veg harvests to swoon over.
    Your composting tips are heard by me! I just wish I could borrow those chickens of yours every few weeks!!


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