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Garden Guru: Freaky weather and your vegetable garden

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Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Garden Guru Emilio "Elmo" Telles

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Garden Guru Emilio "Elmo" Telles

Lately, I’ve noticed as I walk my dogs and listen to customer’s comments and questions that this vegetable season has been a roller-coaster ride for people’s gardens.

From the start of “warm” season vegetables(February), we had warm days, cool nights with just a bit of rain. Warm season veggies are(but not limited too) mostly peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, melons etc. Cool season veggies like leaf lettuce, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc are on there way out so I would recommend trying them only from seeds this late.

Problem is from the erratic temperature fluctuations the warm season veggies are kind of “freaking out”! I’m looking out the window right now and and it’s cloudy and cool. Those plants are probably wondering where the heck is summer!?!

Weather we can’t control, but what we can do is help them out by tapering off the watering but check so the soil doesn’t go totally dry. Just enough for the soil to feel cool to the touch. Tomatoes are an exception, let the top inch or so go dry. Tomatoes roots grow deeper and can tolerate a bit less water.

If you have squash and melons make sure to water in the morning because mildew and fungus loves those leaves!

The best way to supplement your garden soil is to top-dress the existing soil,in between plants, with a good compost to freshen the soil, just a light coat — enough to lightly rake into the soil and let the watering wash it down. You don’t want to tear any roots.

The next thing to do is, if you haven’t fertilized your plants with a good organic vegetable food/fertilizer in the past month, sock it to them now.

Finally, if there are any plants that look like they aren’t gonna make it, rip them out and throw them in your compost pile and buy new ones.

Any questions? Post them here on Media City Groove.


Emilio “Elmo” Telles is a garden expert at Armstrong Garden Center 5816 San Fernando Road, Glendale  91202.

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