Garden Tips: Dealing with Pests, Overcrowding and Early Harvests

A garden is a great way to LiVe Well and provides wonderful health benefits

Dealing with Pests

The picture below is of one of the squash plants I transplanted earlier this summer. As you can see there is a problem with the leaf, looking perforated with leaf spots. After looking at the leaf under a microscope, enlarging the view 30 times, it turns out the culprits causing the damage are thrips. These little pests carve up plants to get to the juices and leave unsightly marks.

Thrips are a common garden pest that can cause unsightly damage to plants 

There are several insecticides you can use to beat back the thrips, including: horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, neem oil, pyrethrum spray, spinosad, and a product called Triple-Action Plus.

Plant/Bed Overcrowding

While you want to maximize your garden space, it’s easy to plant too much in too little space and be faced with overcrowding. Looking at your garden, you may wonder, “Did I plant too much? Should I get rid of plants?” The answer depends on if too many plants in that space will affect your harvest and which plants are most important to you.

If a plant crowds out another plant that is more important, you can prune back the other one to keep it in check. If that doesn’t work then you may have to pull something. Remember, a weed is any plant out of place, and that can include an aggressive vegetable plant that is disturbing a plant that is more important to you.

Pick Beans and Squash While Young and Tender

Beans and Squash are coming on and it is a good idea to pick them when they are young and tender. This will encourage the plants to continue to produce them for you. A plant’s desire — if it has one — is to reproduce offspring by setting ripe fruit and or seeds; if you stop this genetic tendency by picking often, before they are fully ripe, then they will usually keep producing for quite some time, giving you a greater harvest.

Getting the Most Out of Broccoli

If you are growing broccoli, and still would like tender heads, you can probably get them by pruning off all of the seed stalks that are no longer tasty or tender. If you are vigilant with this it will probably work, allowing you to get some new tender heads. They will not be as big, but still should taste delightful.

The Many Uses of Bulb Onions

Onions can be eaten at almost any stage of development. The stems of bulb and bunching onions can be cut and used like chives.  If you cut a stem, leaving most of the stems intact, the bulbs will still develop just fine and you get several harvests from the same onion plant. I like to cut the tender new growth into small pieces and add them to my omelets. I do this from several plants throughout the season so as not to sap too much energy from one plant. The bulbs will continue to grow larger throughout the summer and the stems will eventually fall over, which is normal. This indicates the onions are mature.