3 common gardening dilemmas

There are still weeks of good gardening left, and Camille Schuelke, BT, greenhouse farmer, Parkview Community Greenhouse and Learning Kitchen, has the advice you need to keep your plants healthy and delicious. 

Dilemma: My plants are burning under the summer sun.

The first thing you can do to protect plants from the sun is plant them in areas where there will be shade during certain times of the day. For example, lettuce likes some shade and does not need as many daylight hours as, let’s say, tomatoes. If you plant your lettuce on the east side of your house, not in full sun, then that will help it grow and will prevent burning. 

Another strategy for preventing your plants from burning under the sun is to put a shade cloth over them. If you do an internet search about covering your plants with shade cloth you will get a wealth of information.

Dilemma: I’m not sure how to properly weed my garden.

The best way to weed your garden is to weed it every day. If you only weed it every now and again, the weeds will definitely get out of control and take over. This is typically when I see people give up on their gardens. If you take a hoe and use it to push out the very small weed seedlings every day, they will never form into big ones. Adding 30 minutes or less of this practice to your daily routine is well worth it, as it spares you from the headache of pulling large, stubborn weeds in the hot summer sun.

Dilemma: I don’t know how to tell when to pick my fruits and veggies.

Knowing when a fruit or vegetable is ready definitely depends on the plant and sometimes your preference. For example, I prefer smaller, younger green beans, so I don’t let mine get too big.  Some people like them bigger. Preference also comes into play when deciding when to eat your produce. Sometimes I pick perfectly red, ripe tomatoes to eat immediately, along with a few a little under ripe that I will eat in the next day or two when they’re ready. 

Some vegetables have to be picked at a certain point, such as bell peppers. Green bell peppers will be firm to the touch, if you press on the outside of the pepper and it caves in, it is not ready yet, it is not “firm” yet. A little research on your plants will offer insights like this regarding the right time to pick your fruits and vegetables.

 

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