The end of July is bananas in the garden. All the sun sluts (tomatoes, melons, beans, cukes, etc.) are going crazy, and the spring plants (peas, lettuce, and most greens) are going tits up.
This is the time of transition. You keep on keeping on with the summer stuff, and start planning for the fall crops. Things are in abundance. Dinners and lunches are planned around what is ripe outside the kitchen window, and caprese salad is eaten by the punchbowl-ful.
Late July is also the time of year when the most painful garden task has to be preformed. Now is the time to trim your bush.
Nobody wants to see you rockin’ a 70’s vibe in your garden.
Right now the tomato plants have grown out of their cages, and are sending out tons of extra branches. Left to their own devices, those tomato plants will just keep growing and growing. Your job is to stop that action dead in its tracks. By trimming back the branches, you send a message to the plant to “get your butt in gear and ripen the green fruit”. Preventing it from growing uncontrollably takes the focus from growing “out” and concentrating the energy in to ripening what it has already produced.
Trimming can take many forms, and everyone has their personal preference – shaving, waxing, sugaring, or my preference, using clippers to tame that beast. I cut back anything that has grown out of the tomato cage, or doesn’t have fruit on it. Here is the painful part, I also cut some of the branches that already have fruit on it. I’d rather have many ripe tomatoes, than some ripe tomatoes, and a whole bunch of green ones at the end of the season. If fried green tomatoes are your bag, go ahead and use those up as a special treat.
Another thing I trim up this time of year is our raspberry bushes. Ours produce twice a year; once from end of June to the end of July, and again in September-October (ish). I do a mid-summer trim back to give the new fall growth time to focus its energy in creating the fabulous last season crop. Trim back the lower rogue branches that are sneaking out of the support wires. Send them a message; you’re the boss and they need to get busy gettin’ busy and making you some damn fruit.
So, remember, this time of year, don’t flaunt it, trim it back! And men, this isn’t just for lady gardens; manscaping is much appreciated as well. 🙂