Tending the Garden – July 22, 2015

First harvest of butterbeans from the garden

First harvest of butterbeans from the garden

Now I know why I have not grown bush butterbeans in a number of years. They are hard to pick. As I was making my first pick today, I remember my father telling me to walk the row and pull the plants back and pick all you see that are filled out. That is exactly what I did, and now I remembered how hard on the back they were to pick. My solution is simple: plant the pole type next year. There is not enough time to plant some this year and expect to get a good harvest. But if you have a water source, you can plant bush snap beans and get a nice fall harvest. You need to plant them in the next week or so.
I am continuing to harvest okra, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and pole beans. Harvesting in the heat really changes my approach. I harvest tomatoes, eggplant and bell peppers before they are too ripe to avoid sun scald. And with the pole beans and okra, they can grow so fast that the pole beans can get too big and the okra too hard, so I pick them before they mature.
Also, today I realized that the back of my vegetable garden was not getting enough water, because the taller plants were blocking the spray. I simply turned a hose on the area to let it slow drip and saturate the plants that were not getting enough water. I will need to do this at least weekly.
It is also important to remove dead veggie plants from your garden and keep the weeds pulled if possible. I am also tying my tomatoes, and one is now about 7 feet tall and still blooming.
I found two seedling tomatoes that had germinated in an area that I had used for compost. I am going to grow them along in 4-inch pots until they are large enough to transplant into the garden. Hopefully, they will produce fall tomatoes. Both are probably heirlooms whose seed were in the compost from my plants last year. If they don’t make it, I only have lost a bit of time and fertilizer.
While I am spacing out mowing my turf to about every ten days unless it looks bad, a good edging of your drives,walks, and stepping stones with an edger or nylon string trimmer sure makes the turf areas looked groomed and neat. It is good to do this regularly.
Also, I like to walk the yard and garden to keep my eye out for Japanese Beetle. Because if they appear, I need to spray with Sevin to reduce their damage asap.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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