New England

June, 2011
Regional Report

Remove Green Shoots on Variegated Plants

If you grow variegated plants, you may occasionally see some of the shoots revert to solid green. Clip these out when you notice them. The green shoots are more vigorous than the variegated ones, and if left, will often overtake the plant.

Keep Mosquitoes from Breeding

Our rainy spring and early summer have set the stage for a banner year for mosquitoes. To help keep these biters at bay, regularly empty or remove anything that allows standing water to accumulate, such as bird baths, watering cans, saucers under pots, even the folds of your grill cover. Mosquito breeding can be prevented in the water of ponds and bird baths by floating mosquito dunks containing the safe biological pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis or B.t.i. in them. The dunks, which are available at home and garden stores, are effective for 30 days. They will keep mosquito larvae from hatching, but will not harm humans, birds, or beneficial insects.

Keep an Eye Out for Late Blight Symptoms

All the rainy weather so far this year also increases the likelihood of fungal disease problems on many plants this year. Keep an especially watchful eye out for symptoms of late blight, a disease caused by a fungus-like pathogen that devastated plantings of tomatoes and potatoes in New England a couple of summers ago. Look for irregular, bruised or water-soaked appearing areas on the leaves, often with white, fuzzy mold at the margins, followed by rapid browning and dieback of the plants. It's best to pull out and throw away infected plants.

Pick Peas Promptly

Peas fresh from the garden are a delectable treat. For the sweetest harvest, pick regularly, which will also help increase the production from your vines. Pods at the bottom of the vines mature first. English or shelling peas should be picked when the pods are bright green, feel smooth, not waxy or rough, and the peas inside the pods are full sized, but not hard. Pick snow peas when the pods are still flexible and full sized but the peas inside them haven't begun to swell. Edible-podded snap peas are best when the pods are round and full. If you miss peak picking time for some pods, harvest them anyway and add them to the compost pile to keep vines producing new pods.

Sow More Bush Beans

Keep making small succession plantings of bush beans to have a continued harvest throughout the summer. Sow seeds every 10 days up until about two months before your expected fall frost date. Later plantings are less likely to be troubled by Mexican bean beetles.

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