A summer report on gardens

At our Master Gardener meeting following the Almelund Threshing Show, we discussed the main gardening problems as well as the newer problems facing gardeners.  Last year the main problem was Japanese Beetles and this year it was Hollyhock Rust.  I was telling visitors that our building is much like a doctor’s office because gardeners usually don’t come in unless there is a problem.
In reviewing the gardens this summer I am taking information we gathered at the Threshing Show this past August.
After dealing with a dry hot summer, it’s hard to remember that our spring was cool and wet.
In fact a couple of killing frosts caused some to lose their lilac blossoms as well as seriously affecting early apples, plums, chokecherries and grapes.
Those that planted salad varieties of lettuce and took care of them are still getting a crop.  It was a great spring for peas and if you waited until the ground warmed up a bit, the red or early potatoes were great.
For some the late potato crop was not as good.
Many gardeners claimed the stems on late potatoes were thin and when harvesting the crop was spotty.
More and more gardeners are complaining about grub worms eating the late potatoes, beets and carrots.
It was a great spring for planting cole crops such as broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage and they got off to a great start and they seem to be more tolerant of the dry weather.
Those that planted cucumbers, squash, and melons reported these crops got off to a good start and were pleased with the harvest. The squash bug was a real problem for some cucumber and squash crops and in some cases they destroyed the harvest.
The hot temperatures caused a lot of blossom drop on cucumbers, squash, peppers and tomatoes.
Some tomato plants that escaped blossom drop ended up with blossom end rot and other deformities due to uneven temperature and moisture conditions.
Some reported a very good sweet corn crop, especially for early planting.  Weather conditions did affect later planting by way of cob deformations.
Summer fruits had mixed reviews.  I understand that the strawberry harvest was good but short.
Summer raspberries were good probably because of the spring moisture.
I had my best blueberry harvest ever, but harvest reports vary around our area and I don’t know why.
Fall raspberries are really taking a hit due to the hot dry weather.  Since I have a large area of raspberries and am without an irrigation system, I am doing some selective watering.  Many of my unwatered plants are dying and even the watered ones produced  smaller berries.
As gardeners plan ahead for next year, we must think of the possibility that we may have to plant and harvest with less moisture available.

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