University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
PRUNING TOMATOES AND OTHER JULY
Nardozzi, Horticulturist and
Perry, UVM Extension Horticulturist
Pruning tomato plants, removing
strawberry “runners”, and fertilizing container annuals are some of
gardening activities for this month.
To help your tomato plants direct
all their energy into growing the fruit that's already set, prune
off some of
the vines that contain flowers but no young fruit. Pinch off suckers
from where the branches connect to the main stem (the leaf axils).
moisture levels even to prevent blossom end rot. Renew mulch if
Strawberry plants are in very active
growth these days, and new “runners” or plants attached to the main
proliferate. Remove runners to keep plants spaced according to the
you're using so plants will put their energy into producing future
instead of new runners. Left alone, a bed will turn into a mass of
blackberries, cherries, and other fresh, very perishable fruit
should be kept
refrigerated and not washed until serving time. Green vegetables,
as broccoli, peas, and beans, as well as beets and carrots, should
before storing in the refrigerator.
If you have lots of produce, or have
a CSA share or visit local farm stands, you may need to store
produce for later
in the season or into next winter.
Freezing vegetables is an easy and quick means of storing for the
term, if you have spare freezer space. A
spare chest freezer can quickly be filled during the growing season,
worth the investment. You’ll save much
from not having to buy produce at stores, eat healthy, and know the
fresh and local.
Exceptions to freezing are green
onions, lettuce and other salad greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes
juices and cooking). Make sure to use
bags or containers listed for freezer use, as others don’t contain
vegetables will dehydrate.
Most vegetables (onions and sliced
peppers are exceptions) need “blanching” prior to freezing to kill
stop enzymes that deteriorate produce.
Simply set vegetables (I use cheesecloth or similar bags) in boiling
water (a pound for a gallon of water), or suspend in a basket above
steam for a
short time. Then cool quickly in cold
running water. The thicker or larger the
fruit, the more time is needed. Shelled
peas need about one and a half minutes, corn kernels 4 minutes,
minutes, sliced carrots about 2 minutes, and whole carrots about 5
minutes. You can find more details online
Any fertilizer you've applied to
annual flowers in containers has probably washed out of the soil in
give them another dose. Clip off spent blooms and cut some stems way
encourage lots of new growth. Do this every couple of weeks.
you come home to a dried-out container planting, don't despair. Some
will wilt dramatically, but come back once moistened. If the water
you add from
the top pours right through, place the entire container in a saucer
or tray of
water and let the water soak into the soil from below for and hour
or so. If
it's still hot and sunny out, place the plant in a shady, cool spot
for a few
days. Remove damaged foliage and see if it develops new growth.
garden activities for this month include visiting local perennial
see what is new and in bloom (such as some of the great new
keeping hummingbird feeders filled and cleaned often, and checking
for pests and disease.
(Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist,
author, gardening consultant, and garden coach; CharlieNardozzi.com).