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Summer Garden & Pest Management Tips

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Joy Powers
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After a wet spring, Lake Effect's gardening contributor talks about planting and pest management.

Summer is finally here  — and it looks like it’s here to stay. But after the cool, damp spring, many gardeners are still working to get plants in the ground and trying to undo some of the damage caused by the weather.

Melinda Myers is here to help. Myers is the author of numerous gardening books, including Month-by-Month Gardening in Wisconsin and The Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She joined Lake Effect’s Joy Powers in studio to talk about summer planting and pest management:

"Because of the cool weather and a lot of rain, things just sat there. Tomatoes and peppers, and some of your annuals — you put them in the ground and a month later they’re not as big as you would expect. So, that’s been very stressful for gardeners and the plants," says Myers. 

Myers suggests addressing issues with yellowing, spotting, and holes (from pests) in a few different ways.

If you notice yellowing: 

  • Water the plants in the morning. This is the best time of day to see if they need to be watered.
  • Water containers daily. 
  • After rain, give plants a nutritional boost. Myers recommends low nitrogen slow-release fertilizer to help slowly feed the plants without harming them in hot temperatures. 

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Credit Plant pests and diseases / Flickr
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Flickr
These Thai basil leaves show evidence of disease (the brown spots), over watering (the yellow hue on the middle leaf), and some holes from pests.

If you notice spotting (from disease):

  • Remove the spotted leaves. 
  • Mulch the soil, to prevent molding or disease from damp leaves.
  • Adjust the watering amount, if diseases persist.
  • AdobeStock_252552166.jpeg
    Credit IRINA / Adobe Stock
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    Adobe Stock
    Cabbage damaged by insects.

If you notice small holes (from pests): 

  • Trap pests, like slugs, using a bottle of beer. Submerge the bottle halfway into the soil, allowing slugs to enter the small hole at the top of the neck. 
  • Use organic products that manage insects.
  • Do not use any pesticide that could re-enter the water or kill helpful insects, like lady bugs. 
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Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine.
Joy Powers joined WUWM January 2016 as producer for Lake Effect. Most recently, she was a director and producer for The Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ-fm, Chicago Public Radio.