It’s August and hot, not the most fun time in the garden, but you’ve got to get your diseased and gnarly tomatoes out and EVICT all the diseased and dying stuff out of your garden. You’re not doing for this year’s produce…you’re doing to save your garden next year.
In Colorado with our warm winter and early hot Spring, we are inundated with pest problems. Most on our minds today is the spotted wilt virus on tomatoes which makes pretty concentric circles on the tomatoes, but leaves the fruit tasteless and mealy…and kills the plant long before frost. As depressing as it is to toss plants you’ve nurtured since they were just baby seeds, they’ve got to go. They aren’t going to get better and the virus will just get spread around your garden.
So get out there with your wheelbarrow and do some decluttering.
Tomato plants with spotted wilt virus or mosaic virus or even some nasty blight: OUT! And not into your compost pile…they go right in the garbage.
Other plants with serious disease problems: OUT! You’re never going to eat those gone to flower broccoli covered with powdery mildew.
Weeds that have grown four feet tall when you weren’t looking are now going to seed. Somehow huge prickly lettuce and thistles keep appearing out of nowhere with big seed heads. OUT!
It won’t take long to clean up the big stuff….this is one of those 15-minute projects. 15 minutes now will make a huge difference later. 15 minutes now gives the good healthy tomatoes more light and space and water to make lots of fruit before frost. 15 minutes now means you pull all the diseased fruit and leaves out easily now instead of trying to retrieve dead rotting fruit and diseased leaves after frost has caused leaf drop.
And while you’re at it: those big huge zucchini bats: OUT. Pull ’em off the plant so that nice tender young zucchinis can grow. You’re just not likely to eat as much giant zucchini as you’re growing. Let go of the guilt and send them to enrich the compost.