Overgrown/crowded

rook09June 12, 2009

Hello to the best site with the most experienced gardeners I have found. I hope to leave out the horror stories of how I got to this point and hope to give you guys just the facts .

This is my first time...I made a raised bed...org supposed to be 2 x 8...once built 6 x 12...ok no big deal. Expect once I had more room, I went BIG. I planted way to close together and itÂs been in since 4/28. I have tomatoe plants as tall as me...and healthy as can be. I have 2 foot tall eggplant, huge huge squash and zucchini, peppers that are so far well behaved..The middle row lacking a little from the tomato forest growing next to it. Herbs at the other end which are growing so fast that IÂm giving herbs as lunch time gifts at work. I have golf ball size tomatoes on some plants. I put in several different types of tomatoes (ughm..cause I love them) and then some romas and apparently they are a low grower? These plants are growing over and sideways...which is where part of the problem is.

Fact: I used almost 3/4 part mushroom soil and 1/4 top...

Yep, I had no idea this was going to produce this...org thought it would burn...I guess I must have mixed well...not to sure.

Problems...My north corner tomatoe plant are the smallest cause of the density of the rest. I am sort of ok with this. I feel as though I need to trim...especially the romas and at very least some of the tall ones...can I trim? Where can I trim? Squash? zucchini?

I thought I made the best plan...I had no idea that in less than 30 days i would have this. I have a few other issues on other beds..( which I already was suggested not to go to big my first year..but I couldnÂt stop..I got so excited.

A grateful heart looking for a mentorÂthank you

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jimster(z7a MA)

You are having wonderful growth of your vegetables and that is great; much better than the alternative. However, the growth is exceeding your expectations. You didn't plan for that much vegetation in the space you have.

In that situation you should have no qualms about removing excess plant material so that what remains will have sufficient light and air. I suggest pruning the tomatoes to make them more sparse. Cut off a lot of the branches, especially the lower ones, leaving the central stalk and just a few fruit bearing side branches.

Then remove a few entire squash or tomato plants here and there to open up the jungle. This may be a tough decision but you can leave enough plants to still have a lush garden, which is what you want.

Jim

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 5:01PM
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tedln(7 Texas)

Rook,

Since I can't see what you are dealing with, I will make the suggestion that you lay a couple of boards across your bed in two directions dividing the bed into four zones. Determine what you want to do in each zone, then cut, support, trim, and love each zone. You will eventually get it the way you want. A big mess looks overwhelming. A smaller mess looks manageable.

I purposely plant very crowded, but I always start with a plan concerning which plants are compatible, which plants grow tall, which plants grow wide, which plants need support or don't, and which plants grow low. You just need to remember that at harvest time, you need to be able to see the fruit and before harvest, the plants need to be able to see the sun.

Ted

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 5:07PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

Remember that it's the roots, not just the foliage, that are crowded, and so thin (remove plants) rather than prune where you can. If they are still small, you may be able to move some plants (or give them to a neighbor) rather than tossing them on the compost heap.

Insect problems can be a lot worse on plants that are weak because they are not getting enough sun or root room. Diseases and fungus can also come in if air circulation between or within plants is poor.

An easy fix by the way is to stake those tomatoes! All tomato plants (well, maybe there are some exceptions) fall over and are low growers unless you hold them up or cage them.

You can likewise trellis your cukes and squashes (and beans and peas). This will substitute "vertical space" for bed space. But you still need to give them plenty of root room! And it works best at the south end of the bed, where they won't shade other plants. Some people plant lettuces and other greens in the shade of a trellis during the hot weather  I haven't tried it.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 9:49AM
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gardenman101(Z6 Spingfield, Ma)

Rook,
Anyway of posting picture so we can better help you?

Mark

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 6:55PM
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rook09

Hello...

So I made this post on friday and since then...just yesterday I thinned out 2 of the biggest tomatoe plants which are about 5 foot tall.I took most from the bottom and made it so where the fruit and flowers are coming in with the most support. I do have them caged, but with those common cone ones. I fretted about what to use and since I am bargin gardening i went with what was free! Most of what i got this year was at minimun cost

So I only did 2 plants to ride it out till the end of the week to see how they do before I get all in there.

I will put pictures up so I can show everyone, which I think well benefit me the most. They are way to big to dig up and transplant.

Can I trim the squash? And the romas are what is growing sideways and low i didnt cage them cause they went low and sideways fast..I dont know if i should prune these?

So far I only have a small bug issue..oh whatever i post pictures.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 8:03PM
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