Tips & Tidbits: Garden Maintenance!

Gardening Tips & Tidbits: Maintaining your Garden for Health & Growth!

I don’t know about you, but my garden has gone through an explosion of growth and blooms in the past three weeks. I’m so excited about this because the fruit and vegetable that have followed has been plentiful! Maintaining your garden is very important for the health and growth of the plants, fruits, and veggies. Earlier in July I left for vacation and did not do anything with the garden for just under two weeks. When I got back out there weeds has overgrown the pathways between garden boxes, squash vines had spread over their boxes and into neighboring plants, the tomatoes had gone wild, and the potato stacks needed several tires added!! At first, I thought, what a mess…where do I start?! However, after just taking a moment to walk through the garden and really observe what needed to be done I noticed just how much growing and producing was taking place…not just a big mess. So, here are some of my tips and tidbits for how I have tackled my explosive growth.

Maintenance Plan: 

  • Water, Water, Water: Make sure that your boxes or garden area is getting enough water. The hot summer heat can be really hard on the plants if they are not getting enough water. *Water conservation tip: Water in the evening to avoid extra evaporation.*
  • Weeding: Make sure to weed in and around the garden boxes. Weeds can be beneficial in some circumstances, but most often they compete for light, water, and nutrients. So, by getting the weeds away from the crop you will help in the growth of what you actually want to be growing!
  • Removing garden pests: No matter where I plant my squash, I always get squash bugs…in the past they have bothered me so much that I sent my husband out to take care of them, but this year I decided that since I would be telling you how to get rid of them I better be able to do it myself! 🙂 To avoid chemicals for pest control, I pulled on a pair of gloves and then moved through each plant looking for the bugs. Removing them was as easy as picking them off of the plant and them tossing them into my bucket caddy. After it was all done, it wasn’t so bad after all, and my squash is looking fantastic! Check out this article for friendly garden bugs, and the ones that you will want to get rid of!

  • Removing plants that are finished producing: Cold weather veggies such as spinach and lettuce will bolt (grow very quickly) and get bitter when it becomes too hot for the plant. Remove the plants, and get the soil ready for a second planting in mid to late August for a Fall crop.
  • Adding to existing structures for plant support: I am SO excited to see how my tater tires are going to do when harvest comes this fall. Over the spring and early summer I have bee adding to my stack of tires, so recently I put two more tires on the stack, but as you can see in the picture above, I need to add a few more tires to the stack again. So, adding another few tires to the front row will be my next project (as well as painting)! You may also need to add more support to any tomato cages, or add more string for peas & beans.
  • Pruning or thinning: When I first began gardening I did not heed the advice to thin out plants once healthy growth had begun. I just couldn’t imagine pulling out a perfectly healthy plant. In the years since, I have come to realize that multiple plants in a small place have a hard time producing healthy and full crops because they do not get enough nutrients. So, if you haven’t thinned out your plants yet, check on your seed packet and follow the thinning directions!

This week I worked on the tomatoes because they had gone crazy since the last time I really noticed them. So, to thin them out a bit I first checked for sucker stems to avoid unnecessary plant growth; and I also removed any leaves that were laying on the ground to help avoid disease or pest problems. (In case you didn’t see the first article about pruning tomatoes you can check it out here.) I also thinned out the leaves and branches so that the light would reach down to the lower tomatoes. You will want to make sure that sunlight is reaching each of the tomatoes to help in the ripening process. I also removed any stems and leaves that had been sun-scorched or looked unhealthy. After I got through, there was quite the pile of leaves and stems, but it didn’t really look like I had done all that much, but you could sure see  all of the tomatoes! 🙂

Well, there it is…make sure to stay on top of your garden maintenance and you should have a wonderful and bountiful crops to enjoy all through the year!! What are some of the things that you do for Garden Maintenance? I would love to hear from you!

 Stay tuned next week to see how I am maintaining the cantaloupe in my smaller box this year!!

I love having a caddy handy for all of the weeds that I pull, but also to have all of my tools right next to me. I also appreciate a kneeling pad!!

Fiskars Garden Bucket Caddy – $12.74

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