Taming the TOMATO

Our tomatoes are getting us so excited at the moment!!! Look at all the gorgeous green fruit that will soon be ruby red juicy tomatoes! AHH!! SO EXCITING!!!
However, as the plants grow heavy with fruit, there are a few things that need to be done in order to ensure good growth and also a tidy and tall plant! (Sometimes I am a perfectionist, and if my garden doesn’t look tidy it can bother me! Hahaha). So some of the keys to taming tomatoes are first of all, to stake the tomatoes as they grow. This is extremely important!
Another key to growing tall, strong, overflowing tomato plants is to keep tying the plants to the stakes as they grow taller! This prevents the plants from snapping as they are growing, because sometimes there can be strong winds that catch both you and the tomato plant off guard! And nothing is sadder than a fruitful tomato plant snapping due to the weight of the tomatoes because it hasn’t be tied up! To tie up our tomatoes, I use an old pair of stockings!
The stockings are good because you are essentially repurposing something you would have otherwise chucked out, and the delicate stocking fabric doesn’t damage the plant! It allows water and air to get to the plant also! One pair of stockings makes a very decent amount of ties for the tomatoes. I think I got around 13 or 14 ties out of one pair of tights! So it is definitely worth not throwing out those laddered stockings!
Another way to tame tomatoes is to remove the suckers or sometimes called laterals! These are the little leaves (or stems if you leave them long enough) that grow between the main stem and the main branches coming of of the plant. They tend to grow on about 45 degree angles, and are easy to spot, once you know what you are looking for. Its important to remove these for visual purposes (makes the plant grow up rather than out) and also for practical purposes, as these little leaves will grow into branches if you leave them. These branches will take nutrition away from the branches growing fruit, as often these suckers don’t produce fruit! So when you see one, pinch it off! Easy as that! And if you don’t like the idea of wasting these little guys, they can be turned into other tomato plants simply by leaving them in water in a dark place for a couple of days or until roots develop!
As well as removing suckers, removing any of the unsightly, discolored leaves around the base of the plant is a good habit to get into. Essentially anything on the plant that looks bad, isn’t going to benefit the overall health of the plant. So when you see a little sucker, or a yellow/brown branch down the base of the plant, get rid of it!
These are all very simple and quick steps to take so that you will end up with beautiful, tall, strong plants that are literally heavy with fruit!
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