At some point during the growing season, many of your plants are going to become so large, they’ll overtake other plants in your garden. So congratulations on that. But you really don’t want to let your garden get to that point where they’re overcrowding others. But if they are, now’s the time to do something about it for several reasons. In this podcast, Joe Lamp’l explains why, and what to do about it.
BHG021- Thinning the crop for better quality – Late Season Care for a Healthier Garden Now, and Next Season
If you’ve been listening to the entire series so far, and applied what you’ve learned, there’s no doubt that at some point during the growing season, many of your plants are going to become so large, they’ll overtake other plants in your garden. So congratulations on that. But you really don’t want to let your garden get to that point where they’re overcrowding others. But if they are, now’s the time to do something about it for several reasons.
First of all, a crowded garden is actually less productive. Now to be clear, I’m all for getting the most out of the growing space you do have, but there’s something to be said for giving plants some breathing room too. Just like you and I feel more comfortable when we have a little space around us and the next person, plants are the same way. Since all food crops do best with plenty of sunlight and air circulation, a crowed garden, denies all plants, especially the smaller underplanted crops from getting the resources they need to stay productive.
By mid to late summer, it’s important to stay proactive with thinning your garden of dead or dying leaves, or even plants that have managed to grow into each other. In fact, it’s one of the most important things you can do to keep your garden healthy and productive as the season wanes.
And although all plants have a lifecycle, it can be shortened or extended based on how healthy they are, and late in the season, much of a plant’s energy is spent, along with nutrients in the soil. So any additional stress on the plant at this point, like stretching for sunlight, can hasten its decline. Now, does that mean that you rip out some of the less productive plants to make room for others? Well, it could. But hopefully you’ve done that a long time ago, at the seedling stage, or actually paid attention to the plant tag that provided spacing suggestions. It seems strange early on to leave so much space between plants, but by now, we see why we needed to do that!
So if our garden is overly crowded, now is the time to get ruthless. At a minimum, cut away the spent foliage on all plants, or pull out and eliminate the plants that are in decline, especially if their productive days are over. And the sooner you do this the better. Weaker plants are more susceptible to diseases, which can spread to other plants or overwinter in your garden, only to show up next season. By removing them at the first signs, you reduce the chances of that happening.
And finally, here’s something else you can do to increase your chances of being a more successful gardener; check out all 26 of these Burpee Home Gardens Tip of the Week Podcasts! From planting to harvest, each episode is created to guide you every step of the way in your gardening journey. You can subscribe for free in iTunes, or listen online at Burpee Home Gardens dot com where you’ll also find lots of other ideas and inspiration too! You can subscribe to the series for free in iTunes, or listen online at Burpeehomegardens.com, where you can also find great ideas and inspiration any time.
Now go get dirty!