Saturday, June 15, 2013

Garden Tip: Pinch Your Tomato Plants Lower Branches

So not only am I suggesting you bury your tomato plants as deep as possible, but I also think you should pinch off the lower branches.

Here me out.  Because I know that a lot of old school, tried and true, this isn't the way we did it gardeners think I'm crazy pants.

You want to keep as much space as possible between the ground and the leaves.  With low laying branches close to or touching the ground, the plants are more susceptible to all sorts of unpleasantness.  It's easier for bugs to nibble on (read: destroy your hard work) your plants and it's easier for soil born diseases to get to the leaves when water splashes up.  This also gives more air-flow around the plant.  And last but not least, I have no need for the plant to put effort into keeping those lower leaves alive.  No need to waste energy on something I don't want there in the first place!

If you just pinch off those lowest branches, it really makes a big difference in keeping your plants safer.

See that yellow branch- it is nearly touching the ground and needs to GO!

This one is in the dirt.

Pinch it.  Pinch it good.

Much better!

No, it is not fool proof.  And no, it is not a guarantee.

But it's helpful.  And I can certainly get all the help I can manage these days.

As my plants grow taller and stronger, I will pinch the next level up of leaves too.  For the same reasons.  But I will wait until the plants are a bit more sturdy before that happens.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

My dad (an old timey farmer type) actually taught me this too. And to pick off what he calls the "suckers" where the plant starts shoots from the joints. It's always hard to cut off good plant parts, but then you know that you did the right thing when you have big healthy plants at the end of the season. I can't wait to see how much produce you get out of your garden.


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