Gonna Get That Sucker!
We’ve finally had some summer-like weather here in central MA. The many, many tomato plants in the Food It Yourself garden have responded with a quick growth spurt. There are flowers on just about all the plants, and the grape tomatoes already have some small, green fruits. I am already dreaming of home-made ketchup! However, the quick growth spurt left my plants a little bit, as old gardenfolk say, “rangy”. It was time for a pruning.
If you are unfamiliar with tomato anatomy, here is a good guide from Gardener’s Supply Company. In the past, I have weighed the pros and cons of pruning. We do not get extremely strong sun at our latitude. With the damp weather we’ve been having it seems like a good idea to keep air circulating around the fruits. I am most certainly in favor of removing suckers.
The other thing I like about pruning my tomatoes is that it gives me a chance to get up close and personal with my plants. With a careful look at a few stems I found aphids stealing a snack. Aphids are hard to avoid completely if you garden, but you really do want to keep them under control. I do not endorse too many specific products on this blog but I really like this stuff for insect control.
I also took a few minutes to tie up my tomatoes. I did not have enough cages for all the plants when I was planting. Some of the “uncaged” plants were close enough to tie to a cage. I did have to improvise a few supports. I happen to have a plethora of bamboo stakes in my garage, so I used those, but you could easily use regular sticks, which are free. Also note- there are plenty of products for tying your tomatoes up. I like cheap, old fashioned jute twine.
I know I say this every year, but it is absolutely true: home grown tomatoes are amazing. The pictures above might make them look like a lot of work, but I promise they are not extremely needy. They are also worth the effort. What are your tomato growing tips? Every gardener has a few! Pretty please share in the comments section.