How I prune my tomatoes is a popular question and while I was out doing that work yesterday evening, I figured it was high time that I address it here on the site.
There are countless ways to approach tomato culture, all or at least most of which are probably right and good. I am not one to force my methods down anyone’s throat — you are doing it right if it works for you. I’ve experimented with a lot of different methods over the years, sometimes intentionally and sometimes due to neglect (do not underestimate the learning that comes from doing nothing), and have made adjustments to my approach along the way. I have also adjusted based on different varieties and tomato types. The following is a general picture of how I do things to date.
To begin, I do not prune dwarf or determinate (bushing) varieties unless they are showing signs of disease. The following only applies to indeterminate (vining) varieties. That said, wild currant varieties are an exception to the rule. I try to keep them trained as best I can early in the season, but there is always a point where their growth is so fast and furious that I just let them be and try to keep them staked to the best of my ability. I find that they tend to be more disease resistant than many other types.
July was painfully hot and dry. The garden suffered and there were days when I was sure that I would lose a few plants as a result.
August, on the other hand, has been wet and somewhat cool. I really can’t complain. I don’t remember the last time I watered anything other than the pots and many plants have bounced back from the extreme conditions. The only drawback is that the earwigs and slugs have regained traction and some of my tomatoes split on the vine due to the rapid shift overnight from extremely dry to wet. I don’t like knowing that summer’s days are limited, but I do like that I can get out into the garden without burning to a crisp!
Clockwise from Top Left: 1. My garden on August 9, 2012. 2. We made Stuffed Squash Blossoms last night. First batch of the summer and SO SO good. 3. Yesterday also marked the first big batch of homegrown Roasted Tomato Soup of the season. It was a day of delicious seasonal firsts. 4. I am in love with ‘Rattlesnake’ pole bean, a beautiful and delicious heirloom that I inherited from my friend Margaret at AwaytoGarden.com. The beans come on fast and grow large quickly, yet I’ve been able to snack on them raw despite their size. Oh dear. ‘Trionfo Violetto’ has got some work ahead if it is going to hold onto its title as my go-to pole bean favourite.
Assorted and Sundry
Again I am posting last week’s herbaria late. Tomatoes made their mark for a second week, especially since I am now bringing in harvests that are large enough to be preserved. For the first year ever we have had overlap and are still eating jars from last year’s mega crop!
Zucchinis are the other standout in the garden. I was late getting started so my crop is well behind for this time of year, but we have enjoyed a handful of fruit from a compact, early variety called ‘Astia’ that is not shown here.
…is ‘Hahms Gelbe Topftomate.’
In a surprise upset, this pretty little dwarf plant beat out the usual top competitors, ‘Whippersnapper’ and ‘Ditmarsher.’ It’s a true winner as I started the seeds at the same time and planted them out together, too. I am amazed.
Both of the other varieties have fruit that are VERY close to ripe so we should be enjoying them any day now.
Did you buy ‘Hahms Gelbe’ seed from me this year? How are your plants doing? Are they fruiting yet?
This week’s herbaria is a little late as we had a few rain showers that prevented me from putting it together earlier. I try to avoid creating colour themes when I choose these, but it was inevitable as many of these plants were chosen because their current state is fleeting and probably won’t be around next week.