Trellising and Troubleshooting in June

In the gardens during June, we’ve focused a lot on tomato pruning and trellising and troubleshooting possible plant diseases and garden pests. On an exciting note, our gardeners have also begun to see some of their first harvests from squash. It has been so refreshing to see them be so thrilled to see their first harvests. They have found satisfaction in their success of leaving their gardens with grocery bags full of squash and zucchini.  We have also seen harvest from spring planted veggies, like the Atlas carrot in our featured photo!

On the tomato pruning and trellising side: It is important to remove the suckers and prune off the bottom 18 inches of leaves on tomato plants. Removing suckers will help the tomato to focus its energy on fruit production, rather than the production of leaves and branches. Pruning suckers also helps with management of the tomato plant and makes the plant itself easier to work with. 

Pruning off the bottom 18 inches of tomato leaves is a good cultural practice to reduce the spread of soil borne diseases, which spread from dirt splash back during a rain event. Trellising to get the tomato plants off the ground, removing the bottom 18 inches of leaves, along with a mulch, are good practices to reduce the potential for plant diseases on tomatoes. 

Despite these practices, a few of our gardeners have encountered early blight, which can appear as dark spots on leaves and cracking of fruit. When a plant has this fungal disease, there is no way to “cure” the plant, however, the disease can be managed by picking off infected leaves and branches and periodically spraying with an organic copper fungicide all over the plant and paying attention to succulent (new growth) plant tissue. 

Also in June, we had our food preservation workshop where our gardeners learned to water bath can pickles from an experienced canner. We also learned about food safety from our local Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent. 

Included in this blog is also a photo update from our April blog where one of our gardeners had repurposed a swing set as a cucumber & bean trellis. Her cucumbers have really taken off. 

We are excited for the month and harvest ahead!