Tomatoes and other vine plants benefit from careful training while they're young. You can use trellis or tomato cages to support them. Make sure to be very gentle and shape the plants as you want them to look once they're mature.
Most flowers benefit from regular deheading. To encourage your roses and other flowers to blossom throughout summer, pinch or clip off dead, dry heads. The plant will stop sending energy into spent areas and redirect it into new buds.
In early summer it's important to start checking your plants for pests. If you're not already on the lookout, make sure to check at least once a week. It's not too late to curb bugs before they get the upper hand!
To keep your basil plants producing longer, pinch off a generous amount of growth towards the stems while the plants are young. This will prevent them from flowering and encourage them to keep giving you big, healthy, delicious leaves!
Wilty cucumbers and peppers may be getting too much sun. These plants and others love heat but not an entire day of direct sunlight. Protect them with shade cloth that is supported on bamboo stakes or another support that is taller than your plants.
If your pepper plants have the right amount of sun but are still wilting, chances are they are getting too much water. Test to make sure the plants need water by sinking your finger several inches into the soil. If it's damp, don't water!
When corn is ready to pollinate gently shake the center stalks of your corn to boost the yield of these wind-pollinated plants.
Harvest berries in the early morning hours, while it's still cool outside. The berries are at their sweetest then, and you'll spare yourself from time in the direct sun.
To fight earwigs in your garden, place crumpled up, damp newspaper at the bases of your plants overnight. The earwigs will hide in the folds of paper. The next morning, shake the newspapers out into soapy water before the earwigs can escape.
Always be thorough when spraying your garden. Whether its a pesticide or a foliar feed, test first on a small section, then coat the top and underside of every leaf. Spray late in the evening, and the liquid will have all night to work without the sun evaporating it!
To extend the enjoyment of your herbs, pick and dry quantities of basil, dill and other herbs. Dehydrators are perfect for this task, but an old window screen on a hot day will work well too.
If you're drying herbs outdoors, cover them with a single layer of a brown paper bag to protect them from direct sunlight.
"Weed early and weed often". Excellent in theory, but not doable for everyone. If you haven't been perfectly diligent in keeping your garden free of weeds, now is a good time to catch up! Pull all undesired plants as soon as you can, before they go to seed, and you'll avoid a host of problems next year.
September is the perfect time of year to release Fallacis mites in your outdoor garden. These predators will keep cycling until the end of October, then dig into your soil and eat any pest mites that are trying to overwinter there. In Spring, these beneficial predators will emerge and begin their work again.
Plant garlic after the fall equinox and before the first freeze. Put in a variety of cloves, pointy ends up, cover with seedless straw for winter protection, and your garlic will develop roots over the next weeks and be one of the first plants to pop up next spring or even during winter.
Hang trellis netting vertically for an inexpensive drying rack. Even in a small room, this will help you to fit in lots of material. Hang multiple trellis sections a couple feet apart, and make them stretch from the ceiling to near the ground. Just make sure none of your stems touch the floor while drying!
Leave Echinacea cones up throughout the winter, and birds will eat the seeds when other food sources are scarce. You can also leave sunflowers up, and birds will forage on them, but spread landscape cloth or an old bedsheet under the flowers if you don't want them to reseed everywhere.
Once your lavender bush has stopped flowering, prune it back generously, leaving only the bottom two-thirds of each branch. Lavender will not reproduce green growth on older sections of its branches, so it's best to keep those sections to a minimum each year.
If you've never planted a cover crop before, try it this year! Nitrogen is the nutrient most commonly needed by all plants, but it is also the least present in natural soils. Certain varieties of cover crop, especially crimson clover, form a symbiotic relationship with beneficial bacteria that fix nitrogen in the soil.
Kitchen scraps, unused produce, and old plant matter are useful. Don't let them rot - put them into a compost pile. Turn the pile every 3 to 7 days, and you'll grow a microbiologically diverse soil component for your gardens next year. Cover with a tarp over winter to prevent rain from leeching away the goodness.