Western Mountains and High Plains

June, 2006
Regional Report

Spread Mulch

If you haven't mulched around vegetables and fruit plantings, now is the time to do so. Once the soil has warmed, continued heat can harm roots that are close to the surface. This problem can be tempered with an organic mulch. Dried grass clippings (from lawns that are not treated with weed killers), clean wheat straw, and coarse compost will work well as mulch. Mulch also helps conserve water and suppress weed growth.

Check Bramble Fruits for Pests

Inspect your raspberry garden on a regular basis for damage from the stem borer. Symptoms of wilted tips indicates possible borer invasion. Just grasp the cane and bend it over. It will snap right off at the point where this insect pest is working. This can save pruning it off inch by inch until you come to a point where the cane has a white pith instead of brown residue left by the borer.

Cultivate and Hill Sweet Corn

Although sweet corn plants make their own brace roots, corn will topple in high winds that accompany summer thunderstorms. Pull soil up around the stems with your hoe to give the plants extra support.

Try Growing Celery

Protect celery plants by placing bottomless, 2-quart cardboard milk cartons over them. The protective waxed boxes will support the plants in bundles that will turn more tender and crisp when you dig the plants. As soon as the tops stop growing, harvest and wash the plants and store them in plastic bags in the refrigerator vegetable crisper. Celery will keep well into autumn.

Fertilize Vegetables

Fertilize peppers and eggplant since these vegetable crops are slow to grow in our region. (They prefer lots of heat.) Mix an all-purpose 5-10-5 fertilizer into the soil around the base of the plants, and water in well.

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