Mid summer. Late June and early July was quite wet, mother nature is just the opposite of 2012. At one point we received over 7" of rain within a 5 day period. Some of our pole beans sat in water 3" deep for several days, most have recovered but some didn't. The Cherokee White Flour Corn is now in full tassel. On June 22, this corn was ranging from 14" to 18" tall. Today it is 14' to 15' tall! Corn always amazes me on how fast it grows and how much grain it produces in such a small area. Aunt Mary's sweet corn was planted on June 29 and at this writing is 14" to 18" tall. Winter squash are all running and flowering heavy. Pole beans look very nice with many running to over 8' at this point. Sunflowers are 4 feet tall and should be flowering in the next couple weeks. We have just planted our bush beans which seems late for many of you reading this but...bush beans planted this time of year will mature in September which usually is after the high heat of summer resulting in better quality green beans and a better harvest (high summer heat will cause blossom drop too). Late July is also the time to start cabbage plants for fall harvest. We grow Golden Acre and Red Acre every year, this is a small headed 3-4 pound cabbage with a slightly sweet flavor which works well in both slaw and cooked cabbage. We have plenty of time to start plants yet this year for a late crop. Now is the time to start Summer Squash, Broccoli, Beets, Turnips and Kale too for a fall crop. Remember we have 11 weeks of good growing season before frost for tender crops and from then to real cold stuff is another several weeks. Hold off on lettuce starts for a few more weeks though.
I am getting calls from people having problems with their tomato plants showing some blight and other fungus, specially for those who grow them in the same garden year after year (same with potatoes). The best way to fight this is to rotate tomato plants to a new garden area each year but this is not a possibility for most growers. Probably the best way to fight this is pick off effected leaves and dispose of them and then mulch below the plants (with anything really...straw, grass clippings, etc.). Fungus usually effect the lower leaves first as the spores are splashed from the ground onto these lower leaves during rain. Mulch helps put a barrier between the plants and the infected soil (and conserves moisture and adds organic material to the garden). Now... to stop the spread of the fungus, you need to coat the unaffected leaves with something to prevent the fungus spores from infecting leaves that are not yet diseased. Copper based fungicide sprays work pretty good for this, is all natural and safe. Another way to fight this is with Serenade, an all natural microbial bio-fungicide, Bacillus subtilis. All natural, safe and can be sprayed up to day of harvest. Both copper fungicides and Serenade need to be sprayed on a regular basis and can be alternated for best results. Make sure new growth is coated to protect it. Even fairly damaged plants will "grow out" of fungal attacks if taken care of.