BONNIE’S GARDEN – How to Get the Veggie Harvest You Want

Okay, so you’ve got all your veggies planted. Now what? There are still some things to be done to ensure you get the harvest you want:

Don’t Let Weeds Get Ahead of You

With all the rain we’ve had recently, weeds have already begun to pop up even in my raised beds and pots. Get rid of them now, while their roots are tiny and easy to pull up. Check out my blog from the week before last on 6 Tips for a Weed-Free Garden.


I amend my soil every fall with extra compost. That does not, however, take care of quickly used up nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. That’s what a good fertilizer is for.

My favorite fertilizer? Glad you asked!

As an organic gardener, I use Espoma’s Tomato-tone. Tomato family members, like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, tomatillos, need extra calcium, which Tomato-tone has, so it’s particularly good for them.

Cucumbers, squash, etc. don’t need the extra calcium, but they don’t care if they get it so I use it on them, too. And because Tomato-tone is a good all-purpose fertilizer, if there’s anything left in the bag, I toss it in my flower bed.

More is NEVER Better!

Do remember more is NEVER better. Read the directions on the back of the package as to how much and how often to apply fertilizer. Too much fertilizer can be worse than not feeding at all.

Water Right

So many of our summer veggies don’t like to get their leaves wet and, with our more-than-generous summer humidity, we don’t need to compound problems with irrigation systems or sprinklers that get everything wet.

If you water by hand, water at the base of the plant, trying to avoid splashing it all over the plant. I like a soaker hose because I can turn it on, then go sit in my rocking chair on the deck and sip my iced tea. You can also check out last month’s blog on How to Water the Right Way.

Keep Your Birdbath Filled

Remember to keep your birdbath filled. Yeah, it sounds strange, but it can be very helpful.

Why? First, it encourages birds to hang around—and eat any nasty little insects that might attack your plants–but it can do more than that!

Ever have squirrels go after your green tomatoes? They’re after the moisture inside—that’s why they take one bite and toss the rest.

If you spray green tomatoes with Hot Pepper Wax, a repellent that contains an extract of cayenne pepper, that makes the tomato unpleasant to eat. Then provide the squirrels with an easily accessible water source a few feet away.

I do this every year and I’ve learned the repellent works okay, but I get way better results by providing the squirrels something to drink elsewhere.

Check Your Garden Every Day

Turn over the occasional leaf to check for any potential problems, like insect eggs. If you see an insect or what looks to be eggs, pounce right away. Believe me, it’s way easier to avoid a problem than it is to GET on top of one.


The chair on your deck or patio is there for a reason. Remember to find time to sit on your deck and appreciate your garden.  Don’t get so bogged down in problems (or looking for problems) you forget why you do this.  And if you want to grab a handful of cherry tomatoes or a cucumber or two to nibble on while you’re sitting, that’s even better.

Stop by the Great Big Greenhouse and get your Espoma Tomato-tone fertilizer. Your veggies and other plants will thank you! And if you have any questions, we’re here to help.

To read more posts from Bonnie, visit our blog

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