June 23, 2011 at 8:53 a.m.

Spring harvest is done, summer harvest begins

Spring harvest is done, summer harvest begins
Spring harvest is done, summer harvest begins

This spring many vegetables got off to a slow start, but the hot weather will end their season regardless. The asparagus harvest started slow with the cold weather, but it came on strong. Spears that are pencil thin should not be cut and a patch that is less than three years old should not be harvested at all. Asparagus should not be cut after the first week in July, because the ferns need time to recover from harvest and store nutrients for the winter.

Just because you have finished harvesting, don't forget to keep an eye out for the asparagus beetle. In the spring, the beetles feed on the spears and lay black eggs on the tips of the spears. This distorts the spears into the shape of a shepard's crook, making the spears unacceptable for harvest.

One should never spray for insects unless there is a need. If you do need to spray, after harvest is a good time to do so. The important ingredient in spray for asparagus insects is permethrin. As always with such substances, read and follow the directions carefully.

Rhubarb is very similar to asparagus in that the patch shouldn't be harvested until at least its third year. Also, rhubarb shouldn't be harvested past the first week in July. When I finish harvesting I pull up the old up the old stalks that I didn't use. This will direct the plants' energy into new growth rather than decay of the old stalks. This gives the plants as much time as possible to prepare for the upcoming winter.

The spinach crop was slow to start and with a few hot days, they bolted, ending the harvest. Early broccoli is being harvested, and table onions are being pulled and enjoyed.

I spoke with the owners of pick your own strawberries and although the berries are later than last year, they should be ready.

The cold wet spring definitely affected my early potato crop. The germination was spotty or not at all. Those who were patient and waited until the soil was warmer, probably will have a better crop.

Summer raspberries look good and there are many green clusters on the blueberries. Some say they noticed fewer apple blossoms this spring, others say their trees were loaded.

Regardless how we plan, plant varieties that have worked in the past and work and worry about our gardens, in the end it's the weather that will control our success.


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