Quick and easy projects to keep your garden healthy

We talked to an expert with the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado.

With a long weekend ahead, gardeners who take a "staycation" will probably spend time looking after veggies and other plants.

While we’re waiting for tomatoes, peppers, and other veggies to mature, our job is to keep plants healthy by giving them the TLC they need in order to yield a mature crop.

Here are 3 quick and easy things you can do that won’t make you late for the fireworks. Each one is an important step to keep gardens healthy and productive.

1. Remove the leafy plants such as lettuce and spinach that “bolt” or go to seed in the heat. Once these greens turn bitter-tasting, it’s better to pull them out and replace them with more heat tolerant greens such as Swiss chard and Malabar Spinach. Enjoy these plants until it gets cool enough to replant cool-season greens. Rotating crops means you always have greens in your kitchen.

2. Check for insects. They are ramping up, and you don’t want them gobbling up your leaves. Flea beetles are especially annoying and need to be addressed. With edibles, be sure to use only products that are labeled safe for vegetables. Neem oil and insecticidal soaps available at garden centers can safely help keep insects at bay.

3. Get tomato cages in place. Cages need to be set around plants while they are still small.  Once limbs are heavy and covered in fruit, they break easily when pulling branches inside the cage. As the plant grows, regularly pull the branches inside the cage, so it supports the weight of the plant. Cages not only offer stability but hold the plant up so all the leaves get the light they need to grow. 

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