How to Fix Plants That Are Not Producing | Lynette Zang’s Urban Farm


🗣 We are going to share with you how to fix a plant when you are struggling with underproduction. We are going to go over some helpful tips on how to fix your plants and what we can look for when we are trying to make sure our plants are the most productive as possible.


Hi, my name’s Lindsey and I’m here at the Urban Farm and today I’m gonna share with you how to fix a plant when you are struggling with under production. So a lot of times we’ll have big, beautiful plants like these pepper plants in front of me, but they might not be producing a lot. So today I’m gonna go over some helpful tips on how to fix that and what we can look for when we are trying to make sure our plants are the most productive as possible.

So here we have a pepper patch and hasn’t really produced a lot of peppers. Part of this is because the area where it is gets a lot of shade, so these haven’t gotten as much sun as they would normally like, which has made them a little bit leggy. So what we’re going to do is…you can see that these had some very short posts at one point, but we are gonna redo their stakes. Staking pepper plants is really important. We wanna give them support. You can see these guys are kind of just all over the place and that makes it a lot harder for them to produce. It also makes it harder for us to do disease and pest prevention and just see where the peppers are on the plant. This whole area is kind of a mess, so we’re gonna fix it and then talk about how we can make these pepper plants produce more.

These are just basic bamboo steaks that you can get at any big box store and then just have this tape. When we’re tying up plants. We just wanna be gentle. We don’t wanna be too rough with the plant, but we wanna make sure that it’s going where we want it. Then I’m just gonna take that…I’m gonna do one more tie up here. When we’re tying these plants, we wanna make sure that we give enough space so I can still fit my finger in the space with the steak and the pepper stem. And this is important because if we tie too tightly, we’re constricting the stem from growing any bigger. This pepper plant is very leggy. There’s a couple little flowers here, but it’s not really doing anything quickly. What we can do is since this plant is mostly leaves right now, just gonna take off some of these shoots. So if we follow the main stem, which is what tied up, we can see that there’s offshoots. So like right here, the main stem goes into one, two. So I’m just gonna take off this middle part, I’m gonna cut here. Okay, and here, same with up here, we’re just thinning it out a little bit, purposely thinning it out, just trying to get those main stems and get rid of some of the extra leakage because plants are all about energy. So you have to think about it in terms of how the plant is using its energy. Right now this plant is using its energy to produce mostly leaves and we want it to be using its energy to produce peppers, <laugh>. So I’m just taking off some of these that don’t have any flowers on them and this is something that’s a lot easier to do as the plant is growing. So to keep on top of it, we just kind of let these peppers go and you always wanna make sure you trim your plants in the cooler part of the morning or evening. You don’t wanna shock them in the middle of the day by cutting off a lot of their stems. So that’ll help with that one. 

Then this one you can see is a different variety. So this one hasn’t been growing as crazy, it’s not as elongated, but it still has a lot of green. And part of the reason we wanna do this too is for disease prevention. So when you have all these leaves, especially leaves towards the bottom and they get soil and dirt on them, they can be a lot more prone to disease. You can see something was munching on this a caterpillar. So if we just eliminate some of these leaves, it’ll give us a lot easier time taking care of our pepper, plant. And with this one, I’m being a little less intentional because you can see where the three main stems are or 4. 1, 2, 3, 4, and then all these other leaves aren’t really doing anything. So you can take ’em off with your hand if that’s easier too. So I’m just cleaning up the bottom of this plant. I’m gonna take off the ones that have caterpillar damage And now this pepper plants a lot cleaner and I’m just gonna retie it to its steak and that’ll just give it a little extra support and you can already tell it’s a lot easier to visually look at this pepper plant and see if there were peppers on it or not.

Another crop that we could do this with is tomatoes. So these are sun gold cherry tomatoes. So we’ve had some issues in the past getting tomatoes to last, but they really thrived in this spot. There’s a giant carob tree right over here and that produces a lot of shade so they don’t get the heaviest afternoon sun. So these ones have been able to keep going and they have produced intermittently throughout the summer, but we wanna make sure that for the fall they can produce the most possible. So right now they are pretty overgrown and they’re kind of taking over the metal tomato cages. So we just wanna clean these up again for disease prevention, but also to make them more productive. So you can kind of see that in the middle here we have these main thick stems and then they’re kind of just branching all over the place, just very overgrown. There could be a cherry tomato in here and you would never know it, so what we’re gonna do is just trim some of these outside extra tomato branches. Ones like this where it just has like a stem and then we’re just gonna get rid of that pretty far back. So we just wanna clean this up. Then you can see where new leaves are being produced. So you can cut either all the way down to the stem or you can cut, we could have cut here too and let that keep growing, but this has some gross scales on it, so I’m gonna get rid of that. This will also help too, cause you can tell that all this bandage and breakage, that’s because the plant just has too much going on. There’s too much force being applied on the tomato cage and the larger stems are crushing the smaller ones. This one see new growth here? So I’m gonna cut that down there. Again, we wanna remove the leaves from the bottom portion of the plant cause that’s where we’re most prone to get disease starting. So you can already tell how much more minimal this is than how it was when we started, we got rid of all this green foliage and this will help the tomato plant put all of its energy into these ones that we decided to keep. So it can produce tomatoes and you’ll keep getting offshoots. You can see even on some of these bigger stems, like right here, that’s a baby leaf. So your tomato will start to fill itself in again. So you just wanna make sure that you maintain it and do the best job you can trellising it. Sometimes when they get this big and you’ve had them go throughout multiple seasons, they can be a little bit more difficult to maintain, but doing this will get more production from them. And also when the season changes, it’s just important to make sure that you know where your plans are. Like this one in the carob tree with the shade, we know that the sun hits from a different angle, so these will get more sun in the fall, which will help them produce more flowers. So keeping that in mind, just making sure that we look out for diseases and make sure that we give all of our plants the support they need, whether it’s tomato cages or steaks or trellis’ that can really help or hinder production. As you can see, this is a tomato in the same bed that we recently trimmed up. It’s a lot more minimal than that one that we just did was, and you can already see that it’s putting its energy towards producing flowers. So whereas that first tomato plant didn’t have any flowers, this one has already started.

So by getting rid of everything extra that was happening here, we were able to transfer all of its energy from producing leaves to producing edible crops. So making sure that all of our plants are producing to their full capacity is really important, especially when we are thinking about food security. We wanna make sure that our plants are doing the most work possible so we can do the least. These are the pepper plants that we cleaned up by trellising them and then also removing extra leaves. Hopefully this will increase production as we go into the fall. And we did the same with our tomato plants here in the cages we’re getting a lot of overgrowth of leaf production, so we wanted to make sure that we would get a better tomato production in the fall, and we just cleaned up some of the excess stems and got rid of a lot of the leaf edge that was keeping the plant from producing flowers and tomatoes.

Hopefully this video helps you when you look at your own plants and decide whether they’re being fully productive or not. If you don’t see flowers on your plants, that can be an indication. If you see your plants producing a lot more foliage, then perhaps flowers or fruit. Also, if your plant is getting really elongated, that can be a sign that you’re not getting as much production out of your plant that you should be. So look for these signs and then implement some of these strategies in your own garden, and you will have a bountiful harvest this season to come.


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