Continuing her series on tomatoes, Cathy Isom has a few tips for you about caring for your full grown tomato plants. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
What started as a project months ago with just a container, some seeds, and potting soil is now becoming a full blown harvest. Your plants are growing and thriving in your garden and you’re now seeing the fruits of your labor. Soon it will be time to pick them and enjoy them on your dinner table. But until then, there is still a little bit of work to be done.
After your tomato plants reach about 3 feet tall, remove the leaves from the bottom foot of the stem. These are the oldest leaves, and they are usually the first leaves to develop fungus problems. As the plants fill out, the bottom leaves get the least amount of sun and airflow. Because these leaves sit close to the ground, soilborne pathogens can easily splash up onto them. Removing them helps prevent fungal diseases from taking hold.
Spraying weekly with compost tea also seems to be effective at warding off fungal diseases.
Pinch and remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches. They won’t bear fruit and will take energy away from the rest of the plant. However, go easy on pruning the rest of the plant. You can thin out a few leaves to allow the sun to reach the ripening fruit, but it’s the leaves that are photosynthesizing and creating the sugars that give flavor to your tomatoes. Fewer leaves will mean fewer sweet tomatoes. Also, Water deeply and regularly while the fruits are developing.
I’m Cathy Isom…