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Summer heat means it's time for a veggie garden checkup

Right now, heat seems to be one of the big challenges facing gardens. Here are tips to keep it in tip-top shape.

COLORADO, USA — Editor's note: The following is an article contributed by the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado.

This year, things seem to be happening a little later than usual when it comes to our plants. The late-spring snow and cold June temperatures may have your vegetable garden a little confused. Now is a good time to do mid-season check-up to keep your garden healthy and thriving.

Heat challenges

Right now, heat seems to be one of the big challenges facing gardens. Now is the time to re-evaluate how often you’re watering. Plants might need a little more moisture when there’s a heat wave, so adjust your watering schedule and make sure you’ve got mulch in place to hold in moisture.

Timing is everything

It’s best to water in the morning. Denver Water summer watering rulesask  that you water before 10AM and after 6PM if you have spray heads or a sprinkler. Drip irrigation is also great for your vegetables—you’ll lose less water to evaporation, reduce the risk of humidity blight, and water closer to the roots, where they need it most.

Hail recovery continues

Hail damage is always a concern in Colorado, and it’s important to evaluate your plants and decide the best method of care. In some cases, plants were so badly damaged that it might be best to simply start over and replant. But for other plants, a little damage can be easily remedied by pruning or trimming the damaged branches or leaves.

Feed your veggies

Plants can benefit from fertilizing about every two weeks. Corn might need it a little more often; it needs a lot of nitrogen, so it can benefit from a weekly fertilizer.

Control pests

Look for signs of aphids or whiteflies on leaves. You can blast them off with water, while some people use a hand vacuum to remove them. You might need to remove the most infested leaves entirely to help curb pest. Japanese beetles are also showing up the metro area—green beans, raspberries, and roses are some of their favorites. The best method—though it’s not for the faint of heart—is removing them by hand and putting them in in a jar of soapy water. You can try shaking them off first, though they can hang on pretty tightly. Beetle traps are NOT recommended—the lure on the trap can actually attract more beetles to your yard.

Prune your tomatoes

If you are growing tomatoes in your garden, pruning is really helpful. It allows for good air flow—sort of the way you might prune the inner branches of a rose bush to let air circulate. Make sure you are using a trellis or cage to keep them growing upright and allow that air through.

There are landscape professionals who specialize in helping people establish healthy edible gardens in their landscape. You can find one at: alcc.com.


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