Jocelyne Sewell provides updates on her summer gardening. (Photo: Pixabay)

COLUMN: A Gardener’s Diary

Cabbage, kohlrabi and again broccoli are on the list for this season

With my success of growing broccoli last summer, I decided to take it a bit further and included cabbage, kohlrabi and again broccoli on the list for this season. The seedlings were doing very well and I found some spots for all of them. The broccoli was planted next to the the garlic hoping for protection. Cabbage seedlings were transplanted between the tulips that were done by then. Kohlrabi was next to some walking onions and all was good until the heat in May. Then came the infestation of aphids and tons of those nasty little white butterflies and now the cabbages are resting in the compost bin and I managed one head of broccoli and removed the top of the other plants taking the aphids with them. I hope that the side shoots will be OK. The kohlrabies were a little bit hard but once peeled the inside was tender and tasty. This was a flop and next year I will not bother with brassicas. Easier to get them from the farmer’s market.

On the other hand, all is not a flop. All the fig plants survived the winter cold and except for the youngest plant, they all have figs. I will protect them the same way again for next winter: lots of shredded leaves to cover them completely.

With all the rain we had, the weeds didn’t waste anytime to show everywhere. Here is the recipe again to kill weeds. Mixture makes weeds disappear: mix together four cups white vinegar, 1/2 cup table salt and two tsp liquid dish detergent. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray on the weeds when it is hot outside. Only recommended for driveways, sidewalks, patio stones. It will kill the grass so be careful not to spray on lawns.

READ MORE: Take a natural approach to weed control

If you have noticed some of your tomatoes with black spots on the bottom, you probably have blossom end rot. It usually happens just before the tomatoes start ripening. Blossom end rot is caused by a lack of calcium in the garden soil. The calcium deficient soil is just not able to bring the tomatoes to the ripe stage before the fruit rots. Blossom end rot starts out as a small dark circle on the tomato’s blossom end and will spread through the green or partially ripe tomato. If blossom end rot strikes tomato plants, it can be stopped and the plant can go on to produce healthy tomatoes. At the first sign of blossom end rot, remove all affected tomatoes from the plant and discard. Begin watering the tomato plant with an epsom salt mixture once per week. Dissolve ½ cup of epsom salt into a gallon of water and slowly pour the entire gallon around the base of the tomato plant. The epsom salt mixture will go directly to the plant roots, and will be absorbed by the plant and stop future developing tomatoes from being afflicted by blossom.

It is often caused by uneven watering besides calcium deficiency. I just got a ripe tomato today that had a patch about the size of a quarter on the bottom. I cut off the infected part and the rest was good to eat. This is a new variety I am growing this year and didn’t want to lose it. Lescana beef – excellent taste and sweet.

I got a Bird of Paradise [Strelitzia Reginae] in the fall of 2016. It had many leaves but never bloomed. My patience will be rewarded: one bloom ready to open.

Jocelyne Sewell is a long-time gardening columnist. For more information: 250-558-4556 jocelynesewell@gmail.com.

READ MORE: A Gardener’s Diary: Planting dos and don’ts


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