Monday, July 5, 2010

TOMATOES, THE FIRST PRUNING

I transplanted my tomatoes during the Memorial Day weekend.  Now, a month later I have just completed the
job of pruning and training the tomato plants to my trellis system.  This critical step is now part of my yearly
ritual.  Due to some recent experience with rainy growing seasons and early blight I have adopted a few new
procedures which helps to both reduce the likelihood of getting early blight and make it easier to cope with
the disease if it does occur

When I transplant my seedlings to the garden I give them a good head start by applying 3 tablespoons of
Espoma Tomato Tone.  This is the third year I have used this product and I believe that it makes a difference.
In addition, I use a red plastic mulch which encourages healthy growth and greater production by reflecting
a distinct red light wave up into the tomato plant's canopy.  It also helps reduce dirt splash up onto the plant.
Early blight spores live in the soil  so reducing splash up is a good thing.

I now grow my tomatoes in single rows with low growing neighbors like squash, zucchini, cucumbers
and peppers in the same bed.  I also train my tomatoes to a trellis that I erect after transplanting.  I weave
tomato twine onto the trellis and use special tomato clips to hold up the vines.  Check out the photos
below.  Take a close look at the before and after shots.  In the photo to the right you will notice that all of the bottom leaves have been removed.  Also, the plant has been pruned to three branches which will be the primary structure  of the plant over the growing season.  I will pinch out any suckers that emerge in the
coming weeks and cut off the growing tips once the plant reaches the top of the trellis.
All the best,
Greg

1 comment:

lilybeth12 said...

Our first Patio Princess tomatoes are ripening. we're so excited to taste them. We took your advice and have kept the lower portions of the plant pretty heavily pruned, and have had no issues with blight this year.
you'd be proud, we figured out why the mint plants were yellowing (root bound) and repotted Before they died =) slowly but surely you will turn me into a gardener.