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Water, pints, and pruning

Jul 10, 2011

Last week I mentioned I was pruning my tomatoes and peppers. A couple of people asked about how to prune tomatoes. Last year I found this video made Johnny’s Selected Seeds. I think this video communicates the proper way of pruning quickly and effectively. I hope you find it helpful.

My brother commented he heard it was not good to prune peppers. He is right, they should not be pruned. I learned to prune them a bit from an experience I had in high school. I had several peppers plants and no fruit, but with lots of leaves. I trimmed the bottom leaves and the flowers came out and then fruit. I think in cooler climates they sometimes need a bit of stress to flower.

The pepper plants
The above picture shows most of my pepper plants. The plants near the top of the picture were given to me by a neighbor. When she gave them to me they were about six inches tall, and far ahead of my plants. You can see some of the plants in the middle of the picture are smaller. The plants near the bottom are in between the top and middle pics. I decided to hold off on pruning these for a while. The smaller ones may need to get some pruning if they do not flower.

The weather has been hot and dry this past week. However, after looking at the weather almanac we had a week of 90 plus temperatures so we can not complain about last week. I did need to water regularly. When I was watering the corn I noticed something that I had not realized before. See if you can see it the picture below.

Can you see what I saw.
Capturing this in a picture was difficult, but basically the leaves of the corn catch the water and funnel it right to the roots of plant.

The ground right around corn stalks is wet
Watering the roots is the most efficient way to water. This watering system really helps the plant succeed. The use of soaker hoses copies natures efficient watering systems.

The tomatillos, peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers have started to flower or produce some fruit.

Baby peppers

The cucumber flower.

A few Roma tomatoes

The tomatillo flowers
It was also good to see the pumpkins coming up out of the ground.

A few of the pumpkins coming up
I harvested four of the garlic plants recently. Now they are sitting on a window screen in the sun, drying out. They are average sized so I hope the plants that have not turned brown will produce larger bulbs.

The harvested garlic
This past week I picked two pints of raspberries. I also tied the raspberry canes to the “V-trellis”. Using a trellis helps air move through the plants and allows easier access to the fruit.

Yellow raspberries on the left and black raspberries on the right
Looking ahead at the weather forecast I will be watering most of the week. Hopefully the rain will come next weekend. You can see the Cohocton River Rock Micro Farm is pretty brown.

The garden is green but the grass is brown
I encourage you to stop by your local farmers market. The food is great and it helps your community. I hope you stay cool this next week.

Pictures available at


... in your enjoyable garden tour with blog photos! Thank you! I like your observation about the corn leaves directing water where it will do the most good - another variation on the trees' "drip line." Just the other day in a garden I am helping to install, the owner/friend was noting that her many pepper plants are short on flowers. They were 4-pack starts from the nursery, so had small root systems & they are very leafy. Your observation about cooler climates fits us too. So maybe by now they are rooted enough to be perfect candidates for a light-stress pruning of the bottom leaves, which they won't even miss visually! Question: did you snip or break off the leaves? Is there a better way for light-stress pruning? Thanks again!
Hi Jessica. Thanks for reading. You question brought a smile to my face. There is what I do and what I should do. In my experience when I break off leaves or branches I usually create a small tear down the stem. So what I should do, and get better results with, snip with a scissor tool. I not only go after the bottom, unhelpful, leaves. I also go after sucker leaves that are similar to suckers on tomatoes. I hope this helps if you have any questions let me know. Thanks for reading my post and blog.
... to cut & place some pea sticks, then prune the peppers! hopefully with the owner/friend who is learning. With your added info my motivation rose ten points at the end of this lovely summer day! :-)
Hi I enjoyed looking over your blog. You have in abundance what i really want. Loads of space!!! With regard to your Rhubarb. I grow it in the UK where we probably have more rainfall than you. It always dies down in the summer, but it may not be dead. It always starts to grow early in the season and by mid summer it will have finished. You may get a strong growing plant having a second flush in a wet autumn. Rhubarb is a gross feeder and likes a deep moist soil. If you are getting some more plants in the autumn i would dig the ground to 2 feet deep and add as much manure and compost to the hole that you can spare. Good luck & happy gardening. Glenn
Hi Glenn. Thank you very much for the welcome and reading my blog post. Space? well when you look at my garden you see the far edge of our property. My pictures are often deceiving. I live on roughly .25 of an acre. So to some that is huge, some it is small. If you want more space sometimes its a blessing to be small. Bigger sometimes starts to own you. I also love the creativity that small spaces creates, but get jealous of larger space. So you can see my internal debate that I have. Most importantly I am thankful for what I have. My garden brings a lot of joy and keeps me off the streets...jk. Thanks for the info on the rhubarb. I have heard similar, but less specific, information. I will try moving it to a more hospitable location, and maybe it will come back. I never felt good about the roots when I put it in. If it does not come back I think I can find roots from someone. People who have it here often have too much after a few years. Thanks again. I look forward to reading more from you and looking at your pics. Spencer
Hi Spencer, I enjoyed looking at the photos on your blog and appreciate your comments. I live many miles away from your area on the East Coast but my garden is in a similar state of development. I also appreciate your notes on peppers that seem slow to bear. I might try pruning down low on some of my plants that get bushy without fruit. What sorts of peppers do you grow? I always like to hear what others are having good luck with. Thanks again for the nice post. -Johanna
Hi Johanna, Thanks for reading my post. I grow mostly green peppers or sweet peppers, nothing hot. Some members of my family can't eat anything to warm and since peppers tend to cross easily. I avoid them. My plants tend to be very close and cross pollination is easy. Thanks again, Spencer

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