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From The Ground Up:

Updated: May 25, 2020

Sarah (Flowers) Dyer  Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences | Dade County Extension For the Month of: May 2020

Back in April, I waited to encourage planting until our last projected cold front (mid-April) had passed, and then BOOM! Possibly the coldest Mother’s Day weekend in 50 years decided to come a month later and surprise us all! I spoke with many of you during the days leading up to the cold front about protecting the crops you already had established in your garden. Kuddos to many of you who used a sheet, buckets, or whatever you could to keep the frost off of your plants. Don’t be too worried if you were unable to protect established plants; you can pull up any damaged crops and replant new ones. At this point, I hope we can confidently say any frost potential is behind us!

Now is the time to make additional plantings of vegetables mentioned in April (or new plantings of those crops that were damaged by the cold weather). Examples of these include beans (snap, pole, and lima), corn (sweet), cucumbers, eggplant, okra, field peas, peppers, squash, and tomatoes. As your vegetables grow, continue to control surrounding grass and weeds as they compete for moisture and fertilizer. Locate mulching materials for such crops as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, Irish potatoes, okra, and lima beans. Apply mulch before dry spells occur but after plants are well established (usually by blooming time). If you’ve planted pole beans, keep in mind that they’ll cling to the trellis or sticks more readily if attached by the time they start running. Keep an eye on them to get them attached early.

Watch out for the “10 most wanted culprits.” These include the Mexican bean beetle, Colorado potato beetle, bean leaf beetle, Harlequin cabbage bug, blister beetle, cabbage worm, tomato hornworm, tomato fruit worm (and corn earworm), cucumber beetle, and squash bug. Early discovery makes for the possibility of early control. If you suspect one of these culprits in your garden, snap a picture and email it to us at and we will be glad to confirm the insect and provide a recommended control method. Continue to water as needed and mulch as needed. Don’t wait until it is time to harvest to get your canning or freezing plan in place. Make plans now for putting up some of your garden produce for later in the year.

The art of vegetable gardening is fine-tuned through trial and error. It is okay to make mistakes, especially if you’re new to gardening. It is a great idea to keep a log book of problems and failures that occur so you can avoid or prevent them in the next planting season. Also note in your log the successful techniques and varieties used for consideration next season.


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