Archive for June, 2011

June 6, 2011

Gardening Edition: Pruning your tomato plants

At best, I’m a gardening rookie; a novice; a wanna-be.  I’m trying to always learn new stuff, but I’ve never been a great studier, so I get overwhelmed learning too much at once.  That’s why a recent “field trip” was perfect for me!  The kids and I went with my mom to her friend C.P.’s  house – she has many, many chickens and huge gardens.  That morning C.P. and her husband had planted 150 tomato plants in their garden…and still had a TON of plants {that they had grown under grow lights in their basement} that they were now selling off.  I was excited to try some of their many varieties like green sausage, black krim, black plum, 2 kinds of romas, big beef hybrid, yellow pear, large red cherry, delicious, gardener’s delight, triple crop climber {the plant can grow 10-25 FEET tall and grows tomatoes as big as your face!}, and one other that I can’t remember right now.  While picking out my tomatoes, C.P. gave me a quick lesson in pruning tomato plants.  Pruning?  Who knew??  Anyway, whenever you see a little leaf shooting out of the crook like this:

{Sucker!}

you need to pick off the “sucker branch” below it.  The sucker will not bear fruit and will essentiall suck all the nutrients from the fruit-bearing “branches”.  Don’t want that now, do we?

{pick that sucker}

I did this with all my tomato plants.  At first they looked tall, skinny, and funny. 

{A little topheavy...}

 But have no fear!  Those fruit-bearing “branches” will grow and fill out.  And the best part is, you’ll get lots of tomatoes!

{filling out nicely}

 Maybe this is all Gardening 101, but I grew several tomato plants {semi-successfully} last season without having a clue about pruning them.  Now I’m hoping for a large crop that’ll give me plenty to can and make salsa with.  I saw the first sign of produce progress with some bright yellow blossoms today – yay!

{I see lycopene in my future}

 And, just for fun, here are a few other photos from the garden…

{my newly constructed pea trellis}

{emerging fiesta - black beans!}{tiny little carrot sprouts}{doesn't look much like spinach yet, does it?}{itty bitty bells - peppers, that is}

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