Most people already have their vegetable gardens planted for the summer. But, don’t worry, there is still time to get one planted, but do so quickly to provide plants enough time to grow and produce prior to frost in fall.


Gardens need 1 inch of water per week. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation are the best options to reduce diseases from splashing water and wet leaves, but overhead irrigation can be used if done early in the day to allow time for the leaves to dry out before dark. If using soaker hoses, put a catch can underneath the hose when you run it to measure how much water is being applied.

 Weed Management

There are many weeds that can be found in your garden that compete for water, nutrients, and space. Weeds are easy to pull if you do so when they are young and when the ground is wet after rain or irrigation.

Herbicides are typically not used in a vegetable garden because they are not labeled for use around edible plants and are non-selective meaning they can kill or harm vegetable plants along with the weeds. Weeds can be managed with a two-to-three-inch layer of mulch throughout the garden. Grass clippings make a great mulch if the lawn hasn’t been treated with any herbicides this season. If grass isn’t an option for you, use straw, newspaper, or wood chip mulch in the garden. Preen can be used on annual weeds, be sure to use the Preen product that is labeled for use around vegetable plants. Follow the label on how and when to apply Preen in your garden.

Garden Pests

In addition to weeds, we all have problems with insects and diseases in the garden. Squash bugs and squash vine borer are seen every year. Squash bugs cause yellow speckling on the leaves and fruits. Squash Vine Borer causes plants to rapidly die and wilt. Both of these insects feed on cucurbits, including zucchini, squash, cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumbers, pumpkins, and gourds.

Squash vine borer can be controlled by wrapping the stem of your plants with aluminum foil to stop the females from laying eggs on plants. Other controls for either pest include Zeta-cypermethrin (Sevin), Permethrin (Eight), diatomaceous earth or pyrethrins . Insecticides need to be reapplied throughout the growing season according to the label. Always follow the label recommended rates and follow the pre-harvest interval (PHI) listed on the label when harvesting fruits and vegetables after using chemicals.

One of the most common problems we see early in the growing season is blossom end rot. This is an environmental condition where the end of the fruit that is not attached to the plant turns black and rots. Blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency due to uneven irrigation. Correct irrigation and mulch are the best methods of control for this condition. Adding calcium to the soil will not help. Blossom end rot can occur in tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, or watermelons.


Plants like beans and peas will need a trellis to grow properly. Tomato plants and other tall, bushy plants should be grown in a cage to keep them from falling over. Vining crops, such as cucumbers, can be grown on a trellis if desired. This will keep the plants up with good airflow to help reduce disease and it will make harvest much easier. Put the trellis in at the beginning of the season to avoid damage to plants.

*Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by Nebraska Extension or bias against those not mentioned.


If you have any further questions please contact Nicole Stoner at (402) 223-1384,, visit the Gage County Extension website at, or like my facebook page at and follow me on twitter @Nikki_Stoner 

Nicole Stoner
Extension Educator
Gage County
May 2024