Ask Burton: This week, a pair of quick questions about the vegetable garden that we hear often each September. Q: My tomatoes looked nice all the way through the summer, and I had hoped to keep them for the second crop. Spider mites have struck, and they’re terribly stressed. Is there still time to replant a second crop? Also, I plant broccoli and cabbage in my fall garden, but they always end up covered in holes.

A: Your first tomato crop is over, but it’s too late to plant a second crop of tomatoes. Older plants which go through the stress of the summer often have something, whether it’s merely heat stress accumulated all summer or mites like you had, take the plants down before they can produce in the fall. Generally, that’s why we recommend you replant in July. Mark it on the calendars to replant next July for second season, and plant a different crop this September.

Now, your cole crops. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and turnips are all cole crops, and cabbage worms and loopers are common pests in our area. These pests have a simple answer, and it’s even an organic solution.

Simply spray the cole crops periodically with either Natural Guard Caterpillar Killer, or our Captain Jack Deadbug Brew. Both are organic pesticides that can be used to within the last few days before harvest, and will fend the pests off before they’re a problem.