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Some Montana gardeners experiencing delayed harvest

Local gardeners experiencing delayed harvest
Posted at 9:52 AM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 11:58:35-04

BILLINGS - If you’ve noticed that your backyard garden isn’t doing as well as it has in years past, you’re not alone — but don’t give up hope on those plants and vegetables yet.

“I think that weather this spring kind of affected everybody,” said David Kimball, the chair of St. Andrew Community Garden in Billings.

Kimball says every year in gardening is different, but this year’s late frost may have set back many gardeners.

“We’re going to have late cucumbers, the lettuce and the beets, we are not sure what’s going on. Those have not thrived real well,” Kimball said of the community garden.

In 2021, the total precipitation in June was 0.29 inches. June 2022 had 2.88 inches. Mixing that about of moisture with sudden heat and your plants may not have fared well.

“We had all of this wet spring in May and June and that contributed to a lot of growing, a lot of health for plants," said Roots Garden Center owner Jon Switzer.

"They got to July and then everything kind of changed with a lot of heat. So then things started showing signs of stress,” Switzer added.

Switzer does have some advice for gardeners. He says now is the time of year to use a fast release fertilizer, one that you mix with water.

Switzer also said to not get discouraged if your plants were damaged in a recent hailstorm.

“Plants can heal and a lot of times just pinching them back to the last set of leaves, so that they can still transport energy, is really powerful for the plants to survive and still do well,” Switzer said.

As for Kimball, he’s also holding out hope to still get a good harvest for the year.

“[We're] probably a week behind, maybe two weeks behind where we’d normally be this time of year. So, we have our fingers crossed for an extended fall without a frost so we have an extended harvest at the end,” Kimball said.