Mid-season Vegy Garden Tips
by Neil Moran - posted 06/24/13

A mostly gentle, warm rain saturated the ground here in the last few days. The northern forest is looking pretty lush, to say the least. The garden didn’t mind it either. Warmer overnight temperatures coincided with the warm rain. I may have ankle high corn by the 4th after all!

Your vegetable plants should be well established by now. It’s a good time in the next week or two to side dress your plants with an organic or inorganic fertilizer. Do a shallow cultivation around your plants before hand and then spread the fertilizer near the base of the plants. Be sure to follow the directions for fertilizing so you don’t burn your plants, a problem you shouldn’t have to worry about this organic fertilizers.

Slugs can be a problem in the lush, northern climate. They like it wet and a little on the cool side—and lots of cover. If you’re bothered by slugs, make sure you don’t mulch close to the afflicted plants. They love cabbage and other cucerbits. Last night I observed the slugs slithering in from the adjacent tall grass next to my garden so I immediately deployed beer in shallow bowls. The grandkids enjoyed helping me bury the bowls so the rim is even with the surface of the soil. Since they’re underage, I had to pour the beer.

It’s a good time to be on the lookout for bugs on the plants and also the ticks on our bodies! The latter cling to your skin, so make sure you check for ticks before you enter the house. I like to keep a little pyrethrum based insecticide on hand as a contact spray for aphids and flea beetles, and Dipel dust for the cabbage worms and loopers. Hand picking is also effective, especially in the morning.

As for watering, I won’t have to resume watering for at least a week. At that time I’ll water deeply then let it dry out between watering. This is especially good for tomatoes. A little stress is good for them and will help them set blossoms.

If you haven’t added compost or well rotted manure to your garden, it’s not too late. Simply spread the amendment between the rows of plants. You’ll be surprised how much this will benefit your plants.

I hope you had time to plant all you wanted to get in. Don’t discourage about the weather we’ve had in to start out the growing season. Like my mother used to say, things have a way of evening out during the season.

P.S., it’s not too late to plant short season crops, like lettuce, kale, radishes—or even plants that will grow into the fall, like broccoli, rutabaga, and cabbage. However, I wouldn’t wait much longer.

Happy gardening!


Neil Moran gardens in northern Michigan and is anxious to see gardeners succeed in the cold climate. To this end he has published two books on gardening in the north country and an ebook on how to save money when buying garden tools and other products. He also taught horticulture for over 12 years and conducts garden workshops.