Late Summer Vegetables

Posted: August 24, 2013

August is the time to enjoy the fruit of your labor. Vine ripened tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, and sweet, ripe melons are wonderful...

Here are a few tips to help you continue to enjoy your garden:

  • Keep your plants growing strong. A small amount of fertilizer can help tomatoes and peppers regenerate new foliage that will keep the plant productive into the fall. Most fall crops should already be planted. Keep them fertilized, weeded and watered.
  • Downy mildew is now common on grape, cucumber and cantaloupe leaves. It produces an angular lesion on the underside of the leaf. Downy mildew blew in from the south a few weeks ago. It grows on the underside of the leaf. It produces thousands of spores that then infect new plants. Down mildew can also infect pumpkins and winter squash but the strain that infects those plants has not yet arrived to our area.
  • Powdery mildew is also in our gardens now. Powdery mildew is the white powdery looking growth that also infects vine crops and squash. Washing the mildew off of the leaves with a garden hose helps to slow down the spread of downy mildew.
  • Squash bugs are now abundant on squash and pumpkins. Examine your plants each week and remove any bugs you find. Latex gloves will help keep their smell off your hands. Stink bugs can be controlled the same way.
  • Continue the summer long battle against weeds. Do not let them go to seed in your garden.
  • Plan now for a fall planted cover crop. Wheat and rye work well. You can work them into your soil in early spring.
  • Late blight has not been confirmed on tomatoes in our area yet. If you think you have late blight contact your county extension office ASAP. If you are protecting your plants with a fungicide, it should be applied on a weekly basis. Be sure to read and follow the label.

For more information contact your local cooperative extension office. In Lackawanna County call 963-6842 and ask for the Garden Helpline or email

John Esslinger, Extension Educator
Penn State Extension