Originally published in Between the Rows
It’s been a hot August and September at the MGNV’s Organic Vegetable Garden (OVG). We continue to harvest our summer crops including tomatoes, peppers, okra, eggplant, cowpeas, Asian noodle beans, and the last of our cucumbers. Many of these plants are nearing the end of their lifespan and are leggy and fatigued. We are waiting for the winter squash to fully mature and their stems to turn brown before picking.
All of our sweet basil became diseased by early this September with downy mildew, a fungal disease. The leaves of basil plants turned yellow and then brown, starting with the oldest leaves first. Upon inspection, one could see dark fuzzy spores growing on the back of infected leaves. Virginia Extension believes spores are most prolific during warm, humid and wet weather. The only good news about basil downy mildew is that it only infects basil plants and will not spread to other types of plants. Once basil plants are infected, the best course of action is to remove them from the garden. Needless to say, we pulled all the basil at the OVG.
The hot humid weather that did in our basil also caused a plethora of weeds. We’ve spent many hours digging out these weeds as well as removing spent summer plants such as summer squash, beans, and chard.
Now that the weather has finally cooled slightly, we have started adding compost and alfalfa meal to the soil of our cleaned out beds and begun fall planting. We’ve chosen leafy greens to plant first including arugula, kale, and lettuce. Beets and herbs like parsley and cilantro have been started as well..
Visit the Organic Vegetable Garden!
One of the best ways to learn about vegetable gardening is to see long established gardens in action. Make time this year to visit the Organic Vegetable Garden in north Arlington at Potomac Overlook Regional Park, one of the seven demonstration gardens operated by Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia.