This week in the Flog:

  • A good problem – too much growth – and how I’m fixing it

I’m operating on a tiny patio garden, a balcony garden really, and it is starting to get crazy. I have plants growing all over the place. You know it’s hard to cut these things down, it’s so much fun watching them grow and I just want them to keep going!

But I guess at a certain point you have to do it. My cucumbers are so overgrown now that they’re shading over half the carrot/onion bed! They’re starting to shade both planters below them! Meanwhile my peppers and tomatoes are all competing for light.

Trimming plants serves a few purposes. It lets light – the primary energy source for growth – get to parts of the plant or to other plants where you want more growth to happen. It also allows you to control where a plant’s energy gets used. Let’s explain using my cucumbers as an example. Check out these monsters:

Trimming Vegetables - Part 1

The cucumbers are growing like crazy

I need to trim them so I can get some carrots and onions someday! Not to mention spinach and lettuce. But where to trim? Well my priority is FRUIT. That’s my “high level goal”, and I’m sticking to it. So that makes it easy! Just trim with that in mind.

As I look at the plants, I see some stems laden with flowers and young fruits. Others have nothing. Lots of leaves but no flowers, no fruit. Well that simplifies things. I’ll go through trimming the stems that aren’t serving the end goal.

So at first I was thinking “wow they’re crazy monsters, where do I start trimming”. Many places say to trim off the “suckers”, the stems originating at the base of the leaves on the main trunk. This is fine, but some of these “suckers” have a bunch of flowers and fruit on them! I’m not sticking to a rule, I’m just going to trim what works for my high level goal – getting some nice healthy veggies. In that case I’m not going to trim this sucker:

Trimming Vegetables - Part 2

This sucker has some promising fruit on it

But I’ll trim plenty of stems that don’t have anything on them. After a lot of trimming, here we are:

Trimming Vegetables - Part 3

After trimming, the plants are a bit thinner. I could have trimmed more but I’m keeping it light for now.

This is a great task done. It can be tricky wondering where to start trimming, what to remove, all those type of questions. But it’s easy to make it simple by just thinking about the end goal. And you don’t need to worry too much – it’s a plant it will grow back!

And look what else I found in the garden – jalapeño peppers! Looks like not all the flowers dropped last week. Can’t wait to make some jalapeño poppers from these!!

Trimming Vegetables - Part 3

This little jalapeno pepper is looking great

Looks like my first harvest from the garden will be soon, but it won’t be jalapenos. It’s going to be cucumber!

Trimming Vegetables - Part 4

This little cucumber will probably be my first bounty from this great little balcony garden

Wow, I’m so happy with how the garden has come along. Just like every time, it’s an adventure. Now that it’s starting to look like I’ll get to harvest some things, it’s getting really exciting!

Trimming tales anyone? How do you trim your plants, and what results have you had?

  • Henry


    Looking great my brother!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rose

    Hi Patrick, I’m looking forward to your next blog.

    • Patrick

      Hi Rose,

      Apologies I was away! Catching up with comments now. I’m glad you are enjoying the Flog!


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