Prune in June.

I really like gardening. By no means do I have a green thumb but I can say that over the past few years I have learned a lot. This means I kill less plants each year, which is a big step for me.

Last year I shared a community garden plot with a couple friends. We had some success with herbs and vegetables, however the groundhogs and squirrels ate pretty much everything. The only thing we were able to harvest was basil to make pesto {yum!}. But it was still fun and a great learning experience.

That's me back there tending to herbs,wearing the "hippie skirt" (so named by hubby).

We didn't get a plot this year because we put so much work into it last year and got nothing to show for it. However I have a few things growing at home and everything is going great!
I only have flowers in the ground. The daylillies are the only things blooming so far, and I have a couple different varieties.
These were actually planted before we moved in, but are pretty!

Clockwise from top left: Gladiolis, Black Eyed Susans, Purple Coneflower (Echinacea) and a butterfly bush (not sure of the variety, again planted before we moved in).
We also have some Mammoth Sunflowers and English Daisies that we planted this spring. Again, too early for blooms.

I have four green bell pepper plants, two husky tomato plants and a couple basil plants on the porch. All those are in pots, mainly because the housing company sprays with pesticides and fertilizers and I want to keep my edible plants organic.
Tomatoes, especially husky varieties do great in pots, as long as you keep them well watered. I have a cherry tomato plant and a medium tomato plant. Both are getting fruit and I can't wait for the first harvest. I have basil in the same pot since it is a good companion plant. Marigolds are also good companions to tomatos.

You Grow Girl: The Groundbreaking Guide to Gardening

Confession: I never liked tomatoes until I started growing them. I also contribute all my curent plant knowledge to a wonderful book:  You Grow Girl by Gayla Trail.

Gayla also has a great website of the same name. She has a very "down to earth" {heh} gardening approach and has tons of tips and tricks that are very easy to understand. Her book was what got me into vermicomposting {Worm Poo!}.

There are two tips that have given me a good deal of success. One is to essentially pet your tomato plants. No, really. According to the book, "brushing your hands lightly across tomato foliage produces a hormone that promotes stronger, stockier growth." Plus, your hands will have that cool tomato plant smell that remind me of my grandfather.

Sorry little guy, but you gotta go.

 The other tip is to prune. It can be a bit scary to essentially amputate parts of your beloved plants, but it will help them grow better and produce more fruit or flowers. For example:

Tomatoes need to have the new leaves that pop up between branches plucked. This promotes more fruit.

Basil needs to be "pinched off" often to promote more growth and a larger harvest. Add it to pasta, veggies, pizza, etc. It is also wise to prune basil flowers if they come (like mine, since I haven't been pinching off like I should).
That little thing up top is the flower starting to come in, just pop it off.

Flowering bushes will also benefit from early pruning. It may seem counterproductive, but they will bigger and better blooms in the long run. I've done this every year with my butterfly bush and I dare say I have the best looking one on the block (several houses have them). The butterflies seem partial any how.

Whew, long post. I'll be taking pictures throughout the summer!

Until next time,

1 comment:

  1. Grrr Mady has been picking my tomatoers...I doubt they will ever ripen haha.


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