Garden Update & Pulling Suckers

It’s mid-July 2014 and we are off to a great start with our garden!  Our indoor seed starting went very well and we were fortunate to not experience frost damage in May or June.  The weather can be unpredictable in West Michigan, so we have to keep a close eye on the weather reports and cover or shelter our plants whenever the forecast calls for 40-ish degrees or lower overnight during the spring, especially if there is no cloud cover overnight.

Here is a list of the plants we have in our main garden:

Roma tomatoes, Paste tomatoes, Green Beans (a bush variety), Bell Peppers, Cannellini and Pinto Beans, Spaghetti Squash, Zucchini, Butternut Squash, Watermelon, Cucumbers, Potatoes, Onions, Hot peppers (habanero, super chili, and jalapeno), and Sweet Corn.

We also have a small shade garden in the front yard for growing herbs and greens.  We currently have Italian parsley, cilantro, chives, sorrel, spinach, cabbage, and kale.  The sorrel is doing fantastic, and the rest are coming along well.  I read somewhere that if you are growing a plant for its leaves, plant it in the shade.  If you’re growing it for the fruit (or veg), plant it in the sun.  An exception to this may be dill, which likes full sun.

When you check on your garden, look for “suckers” on your tomato and corn plants.  On a tomato plant, look between the main stalk and a main branch and you’ll likely see an extra little branch starting to grow.  This little branch is a sucker and should be pulled off to allow the plant’s energy to go to the established parts of the plant.  On a corn plant, look at the base of the main stalk.  You may notice one or two extra little corn stalks growing from the base of the main stalk.  These are suckers, too, and you should remove them.

I am very excited to report that our garden has very little weeds this year thanks to our scuffle hoe.  This tool was given to us by my sister-in-law, and she purchased it from  This hoe is triangular in shape and is sharp on each edge.  It slides back and forth along the ground, using a similar motion as you would with a floor mop.  It cuts down the little weeds and keeps the soil worked up and more difficult for weeds to take hold.  I have only gone out about every ten days or so to use the scuffle hoe on the whole garden.  Our 40×80 foot garden takes a couple of hours to weed with this tool and I don’t have a sore back when I’m done.  If you stay on top of the weeds and get them while they’re small, your garden will be beautiful!

I would love to hear about your garden — what you have planted, what you are harvesting, and any tips or advice you may have.  Be sure to comment below or send an email!  Happy Gardening!

2 comments for “Garden Update & Pulling Suckers

  1. Bobbi Moore
    July 21, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    All the years I have been gardening I didn’t know about suckers. Will go check the tomato plants asap. Thanks

    • Cheri
      July 22, 2014 at 6:13 am

      You’re welcome! While you’re out there, keep an eye out for those nasty tomato worms, too. YUCK.

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