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“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” — Miles Kingston

When I go out and look at my tomato plants, I feel bad for them. After nurturing them all summer, they are sad and dying. All the determinate plants are just about spent. The indeterminate plant still have some life left in them. Determinate means that are early and only grow so tall before dying. Indeterminate means they keep growing taller until frost.

Some of the problems I would like to share with you about my own garden should make you feel better if you have the same problems. Mostly you take what nature hands you.

As I was weeding around my tomato plants yesterday I found more than 50 jumping worms in a two-foot square. I didn’t realize how fast they are spreading. The ducks had a feast. The coffee ground soil was at least an inch deep as they are ravenous feeders. To help I plan on covering my vegetable beds with heavy, black plastic and leaving it on until around next May. The worms hatch in April and die if the ground is more than 100 degrees. I hope it will help.

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Another problem is that my basil is getting downy mildew. I have been finding black, watery spots on a few leaves so it will all be harvested and turned into pesto.

Asparagus beetles are still around so every other day I am out killing the gray, worm-like larvae. It has paid off so I expect a great harvest next spring. Most of the peppers are doing great except one section of the garden. They all seem stunted. Now I am thinking it is possibly because of the worms.

Onions, garlic, shallots, squash, and cucumbers are all wonderful but potatoes are three weeks behind due to late planting. The fall beets, lettuce, radishes, and chard are doing pretty good. I think it is worth putting in a fall crop. The end of the month is probably the latest to plant your cool season crops.

Tomato tasting for the Terrific Tomato project will be from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday at the Reedsburg Public Library, 370 Vine St. Last week’s article had the incorrect time. Enjoy the fruits of our labor and the special tomato dishes that the Master Gardeners create. There will be door prizes.

Contact Phyllis Both by email at Phyllis.both@saukcountywi.gov or by telephone on Monday mornings at the Sauk County University of Wisconsin-Extension office, 608-355-3253.

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