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Trimming Your Bush – the most painful gardening task

The end of July is bananas in the garden.  All the sun sluts (tomatoes, melons, beans, cukes, etc.) are going crazy, and the spring plants (peas, lettuce, and most greens) are going tits up.

This is the time of transition.  You keep on keeping on with the summer stuff, and start planning for the fall crops.  Things are in abundance.  Dinners and lunches are planned around what is ripe outside the kitchen window, and caprese salad is eaten by the punchbowl-ful.

Late July is also the time of year when the most painful garden task has to be preformed.  Now is the time to trim your bush.

Nobody wants to see you rockin’ a 70’s vibe in your garden.

Right now the tomato plants have grown out of their cages, and are sending out tons of extra branches.  Left to their own devices, those tomato plants will just keep growing and growing.  Your job is to stop that action dead in its tracks.  By trimming  back the branches, you send a message to the plant to “get your butt in gear and ripen the green fruit”.  Preventing it from growing uncontrollably takes the focus from growing “out” and concentrating the energy in to ripening what it has already produced.

Trimming can take many forms, and everyone has their personal preference – shaving, waxing, sugaring, or my preference, using clippers to tame that beast.  I cut back anything that has grown out of the tomato cage, or doesn’t have fruit on it.  Here is the painful part, I also cut some of the branches that already have fruit on it.  I’d rather have many ripe tomatoes, than some ripe tomatoes, and a whole bunch of green ones at the end of the season.  If fried green tomatoes are your bag, go ahead and use those up as a special treat.

Another thing I trim up this time of year is our raspberry bushes.  Ours produce twice a year; once from end of June to the end of July, and again in September-October (ish).  I do a mid-summer trim back to give the new fall growth time to focus its energy in creating the fabulous last season crop.  Trim back the lower rogue branches that are sneaking out of the support wires.  Send them a message; you’re the boss and they need to get busy gettin’ busy and making you some damn fruit.

So, remember, this time of year, don’t flaunt it, trim it back!  And men, this isn’t just for lady gardens; manscaping is much appreciated as well.  🙂

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11 comments on “Trimming Your Bush – the most painful gardening task”

  1. I love your blog first thing in the morning!!

  2. I’m sitting in the waiting room while my baby has ear tube surgery and I’m so anxious about it that I’m trembling and this post still had me cracking up. It’s perfect.

  3. Yeah, I made the mistake of not pruning my tomato plants, and they are all over the place. I have a cherry tomato plant I call Audrey II. I’m gonna have to go out and make the painful cuts ’cause you can’t even cut the grass around it.

  4. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!! We make that joke around my house all the time. We are hilarious. 🙂

  5. Hahahaha! LOVE this post. Especially the part about manscaping.

  6. It’s always a difficult call when to cut off developing tomatoes. I always seem to leave it too late and then regret it. If you don’t do it early enough you are left with loads of green tomatoes when autumn sets in and rather than tidying things up you just leave it another week and hope some of them may ripen – they never seem to. I don’t have the same enthusiasm for doing something with the green tomatoes as the ripe red ones. This year I will be ruthless and cut back earlier.

    • You can always pick them and put them in a brown paper bag on the counter to ripen. Works for me!! Then, I stew them for the freezer.

  7. I’ve never heard them called “sun slut” veggies before, I’m stealing that saying without any shame. My Toms need trimming back as well lol x

  8. I have an awesome, or so I think, green tomato relish that I make every couple of years. Great use for green tomatoes…..and you can always sub in tomatillos to “plus-up” your crop if needed.

  9. In the fall, we cut off the branches that still carry green tomatoes and wrap them in newspaper. Put in the pantry at regular room temperature, they will ripen within a few days. You can also hang the branches in a dark room or a warm basement. No need to cut and throw them away. 🙂