Pruning (& some beautiful post-rain images)

Although it’s hard to do when you plant densely, it’s important to try and keep your tomato foliage off the soil.  Keeping the leaves up off the dirt helps prevent mildew on your plant.  Sometimes (often) that means pinching off branches close to the ground.  I have to go in every couple days and pinch more because as they grow, the weight of the leaves makes the branches heavy.  Adequate trellising is critical for supporting your plants as you prune.

(That’s a sad borage laying on the ground.  There’s also a piece of Bermudagrass that snuck in somehow that I pulled as soon as I snapped this picture.)

It’s rained a lot here in north Georgia this spring.  After a mild winter, we were afraid we’d have a short (non-existent) spring followed by a hot and dry summer.  I can’t speak for summer yet, but our spring has been beautiful.  We needed the rain since our region has been in a drought since sometime last year.

These nasturtiums love the rain!  Their wide leaves are like little bowls that catch the water and hold onto it.

K’s pea plants are getting big!  The rain has certainly contributed to their growth, and the cooler spring has been good.  We didn’t plant them until late so I was concerned it would be too hot too quickly, since peas prefer slightly cooler temperatures.  They don’t do well in the summer here in north Georgia.  We hope to see some flowers soon!

More rainy nasturtiums just because.  Aren’t they pretty?  I can’t wait for them to bloom.

I’m still not sure what this plant may be.  I don’t think I planted any seeds in here besides nasturtiums and borage (which you can see bottom center.)

The purple basil is a beautiful plant.  The leaves are really shiny and are a deep maroon color.  They’re edged ever so slightly with bright green .

Basil has a tendency to grow up and become leggy.  You can discourage that by pinching off your basil plants regularly.  The best place to pinch is right at the join, shown beneath my fingers here.  You can see some small leaves at that join, which are growing because I’ve pinched off there in the past.

Every time you pinch a piece off, several more pieces grow back from that same joint, which over time creates a bushy basil plant.  Pinching it back helps delay bolting, which is when your plant sets flowers.  For most herbs, flavor becomes somewhat bitter once they bolt so it’s preferably to keep them well-pruned.

Reference a previous post for how to dry and preserve herbs.  It’s not likely you’ll need as many herb clips as you’ll end up with on a daily basis, exactly on the day you clip them off, so be prepared to either preserve or compost them.  I usually collect my clipped pieces in a small jar of water (like cut flowers) and dry a batch every few days.

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