Joel In The Garden

Fourth of July and the garden: 'Knock on wood'

Fourth of July and the garden: 'Knock on wood'
Tomatoes by July 4? Wishful thinking.

Watch Joel in the Garden on KMTR NewsSource16 at 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Thursdays

EUGENE, Ore. - You'll find shades of red, white and blue in bloom at Alton Baker Park. But Bob Sanders is cautious about celebrating too early.

“We don't have a bad year on the cucumber beetle so far. We'll knock on wood or twist the wire or something like that,” Sanders said.

Cucumber plants are now flowering. Tomatoes by Fourth of July may be wishful thinking, but potatoes are ready.

And from corn to watermelon, just about everything in the garden is loving the sunny, warm days at the start of July.

“The lettuce is finally looking good. The eggplants are looking good. A little slow on the peppers,” Sanders said.

For a good corn crop, knee high by the Fourth of July is the advice that's shared from one ear to another. And depending on the type of sweet corn you're planting, some varieties can take anywhere from 70 to 90 days to mature.

“July, August, you'll get some September corn. You might,” Sanders said.

Sanders planted his seed a few weeks apart in hopes of getting two big harvests. He says gardeners can keep planting that corn, but says the calendar and the birds are your biggest obstacles.

“They'll take the corn and you'll think that the corn never came up, but that isn't true. It's just that the birds eat it,” Sanders said.

The sun is one obstacle for small carrot seedlings. So I'm keeping them watered and shaded with newspaper until they're strong enough to stand up to the July heat.

On most corn seed packets, you can find an abbreviation which will tell you the type of sweet corn it is.
If you find one that reads “sh-2", that stands for super sweet. Not only does it mean it’s a sweeter corn, but it also means that corn will keep longer after you pick it because it converts to starch more slowly.