How to care for your vegetable garden during summer heat

It’s important to care for your vegetables properly in Colorado’s summer heat.

DENVER — In this high heat, it’s important to care for your vegetables properly.

Keep them hydrated. Water thoroughly. Beds that are below grade are best. This is the ancient method of the Native Peoples of the Southwest. It’s easy to flood a bed or trench and saturate the roots.

Feed them. Tomatoes benefit from a fertilizer formulated for them. The ratio of nitrogen will be lower since too much nitrogen promotes lots of leaves and fewer fruit.

Most other vegetables will perform with a higher ratio of nitrogen. Use a granular or liquid fertilizer and follow instructions to the letter.

Specific crops need specialized attention. When harvesting cabbage, remove the head, but leave the basal leaves. Sometimes the plants will produce smaller additional heads that are perfect for a small batch of coleslaw.

As onions start to bloom, break down the tops — just flatten them gently to one side. Blooming depletes the size of the bulb so it’s best to prevent it.

You can dig “new” potatoes now or let them mature to full size. The plants begin to die down in August, but the potatoes continue to grow beneath the soil surface.

Pollinators are an important part of vegetable production, especially for cucumbers, squash and melons. Flowers will lure them to your vegetable garden.

Don’t deadhead sunflowers. The seeds are an important food source for finches.

More Proctor’s Garden:

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