Training and pruning
Simple acts such as cutting off damaged or diseased ends will help your garden look better and be more productive. To train and prune tomatoes, wrap the stem around the trellis once a week, and pinch suckers out of the joint of the plant. This removes unnecessary growth that takes up the plant’s energy, and opens it up to more sun.
Plants such as kale, broccoli, cabbage, and rapini can also benefit from pruning. Make sure you cut off any leaves that might encroach on other squares and shade neighbouring plants, which can then be used for cooking. For broccoli, you can prune the side shoots as they appear.
Harvesting varies depending on your vegetable, but a general rule is to pick your vegetables early and often – as soon as they are ripe. Many vegetables, such as zucchini and cucumber, start to lose flavour and texture when they grow too large, and picking early can allow more vegetables to grow. Peas, beans and other fruiting vegetables will produce more vegetables the more often you harvest. For leafy greens, you can just head into the garden with your salad bowl at mealtime!
Checking for problems
People say that talking to your plants helps them grow healthy and strong. While it may seem curious, a benefit of doing this is that you can observe your plants and spot things that might ail them. Taking the time to observe the plants in your garden is one of the best ways to prevent and treat potential problems. So, when talking to your plants make sure to check on and under the leaves for pests – holes from chewing can tip you off to some undesired action in your vegetable patch. Leaves can also indicate disease, fungus, or nutrient deficiency by showing spots or discoloration. By spending some quality time with your plants throughout the week you can catch these things in their early stages.