What’s happening in the garden this week? Pruning and deadheading! As the days get warmer your basil, tomatoes, cilantro and lettuce are all going to want to set flowers and create new shoots. Basil produces little green buds that turn in lovely purple or white flowers – pinch them off! When basil flowers the energy goes into the flowers rather than the leaves which tends to make the basil bitter.
Cilantro and lettuce have the same issue. With lettuce you’re better off composting the bolted (i.e. flowering) lettuce as it will be very bitter. Lettuce is a great candidate for succession planting. This means that one your lettuce is half grown sow a second seeding next to you lettuce. When the first crop is done, pull and compost and you’ll have another sweet crop coming up and ready to go! Cilantro can be left to flower and you can use the resulting seeds are a coriander – just grind them in a coffee mill or motar and pestle and add to your next curry. Cilantro is also great for succession since it grows so quickly.
Tomatoes need a pruning this time of year. They produce little offshoots called suckers. Pinch those suckers off! They’ll take energy away from fruit production, weight the plant down and reduce air flow.
Deadheading your flowers is a must to keep disease at bay and to help your flowers continue to look beautiful. Flower heads that are starting to breakdown can attract bacteria that then causes disease in the whole plant. This is something to do through out the year. Just look for flowers that are loosing petals, turning brown or wilting and snip them off with a clean pair of scissors and compost.
Keeping an eye on your garden is the best way to keep your plants healthy and disease at bay!