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Vegetable Gardeners monthly

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By Rick Daniel

Ellis County Master Gardener/Vegetable Gardening Specialist

Hello, and welcome to the July edition of the Vegetable Gardeners Monthly. If you have questions that this article doesn’t address, just give us a call at 972-825-5175 or contact us via the web at www.ecmga .com and ask for one of your Master Gardener Vegetable Gardening Specialists.

Plant fall transplants of tomatoes and peppers. Also time to sow seeds for pumpkins you want for Halloween. Finish planting cantaloupe and watermelon seeds and sow winter squash seeds in early July. You can also sow black-eyed pea seeds throughout July. Late in the month you can sow bush and pole beans and Irish potatoes.

Take a look at the vegetable garden each morning. If plants are wilted in early morning, they need some water. Keep an eye out for signs of wilting and pests, as this hot and dry month is a difficult month for most vegetable gardens.

Vegetable of the Month

CORN:

Planting dates:

For spring, after all danger of frost has passed (3-15 to 4-30). Extra sweet varieties should be planted when soil temperature reaches 60 to 65F. For fall crop, plant 80-90 days before first average frost date (6-1 to 8-15). Fall maturing sweet corn will almost always be the highest quality, since cool nights increase sugar content.

Planting Method:

Seed 3-4 seed per foot of row, 1-1 ½ inches deep. Plant rows in blocks rather than long rows to increase pollination, as corn is wind pollinated. One grain of pollen from the top of the plant must pollinate each of the silks that come out of the ears. Each silk is attached to a kernel, and that kernel will not grow unless pollinated. I plant my rows in blocks of about 1/3 of the row about 10 days apart to have longer harvest times. Thin seedlings to 10-12 inches apart when they are about 3-4 inches tall.

Varieties:

White: Silver queen, frontier. Yellow: golden queen, Guadalupe gold, Bicolor: sweet G-90, Honey and pearls.

Culture:

Needs loose, healthy, well drained soils. Make sure young seedlings don’t suffer from lack of water and especially during the period from tasseling to harvest. Dirt plants when they are about 12 inches high, by piling extra dirt around base of plant onto roots.

Fertilizer:

Heavy feeder. Use lots of compost and organic fertilizer Side dress when plants are 12-18 inches high with high nitrogen. Side dress again when the tassels and silks form. Use about half a handful of organic fertilizer per plant or about 3 cups per 25 foot row.

Harvest:

60 to 90 days. Pick when husk is still green, silks dry brown, kernels full size and milky liquid. Harvest by grabbing the base of the ear and twisting and pulling downward. Sweet corn is best when harvested during the cool of the morning and eaten as soon as possible. Don’t overcook corn.


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