Today I’d like to share a few simple tomato pruning techniques for earlier harvests, higher yields, and healthier plants. It’s important to note up front that these techniques apply only to indeterminate tomatoes, which are vining tomatoes that keep growing and putting out new suckers, buds, and fruit until killed by frost. Determinate tomatoes, on the other hand, are bush tomatoes that usually don’t grow taller than 4 feet. Their fruit ripen at roughly the same time and then the plant dies. Pruning determinate plants will significantly reduce their yield and is not a good idea. Even indeterminate plants don’t have to be pruned, but we choose to for the reasons I’ll share in this tutorial. We grow our indeterminate tomatoes on trellises and space them only a foot apart.
Each sucker of an indeterminate tomato essentially produces a whole new plant, so pruning them makes this close spacing possible, and allows for adequate light penetration and air flow around plants. If we didn’t prune, the tomatoes would have to be 2 to 3 feet apart. Though pruning can reduce the yield per plant, it allows us to grow more plants in a given area, thereby increasing our overall yield. Removing the extra growth also focuses more of the plant’s energy on producing blossoms and ripening existing fruit, which can lead to an earlier harvest and larger fruit. We look to prune suckers that are developing below new blossoms.
Here you can see a blossom growing off the main stem at the top of the frame, and just below there’s a branch going off to the left and a sucker growing diagonally between the stem and the branch. This is what we want to prune. It’s best to prune suckers when they’re relatively small. Removing a more mature sucker would leave a larger wound, which could be more susceptible to infection. When identifying suckers, you can think of the sucker as an extra arm growing out of an armpit. The intersection between the main stem and the branch form the armpit,
and the sucker is the extra arm growing out of it. To combat early blight and keep our plants healthy, we also prune all the leaves that hang within a foot from the ground. Early bight is a fungus that colonizes on leaves and produces brown spots. It can eventually kill leaves and significantly reduce fruit production. Lower leaves are typically infected first due to their proximity to the ground. During rain storms, early blight spores in the soil can splash up and come into contact with leaves. Pruning the bottom leaves not only eliminates infected leaves and those likely to be infected,
it also increases light penetration and air flow, creating a less hospitable environment for the fungus. We typically do this pruning after the plants are at least 4 or 5 feet tall or we see infected leaves. Finally, some of the tomatoes are already taller than the 8 foot tall trellises. If I don’t top off the plants, they could very well be twelve feet tall by the first frost. Of course, they wouldn’t just keep growing straight up. Instead, they’d slouch over the top of the trellis and hang down over the rest of the plant,
which would create a tangled mess and increase the plants vulnerability to diseases. So, I’ll prune the plants just above the top of the trellis. This is a height I can comfortably reach and manage. Topping them off will also help the plants focus their energy on producing fruit, which is our ultimate goal after all. So, there you have it our simple pruning strategy for earlier harvests, higher yields, and healthier tomatoes. Well, that’s all for now.
How to grow Chayote Squash Vines
Alright this is John Kohler with growingyourgreens with the garden update. So you can see here this is, I’m actually standing on my neighbor’sproperty here, on the property line. Actually on his property in the property line is thewood there and we have some things planted, some tomatoes on an earlier segment on hisproperty that he’s allowing us to a plant and share the harvest.Then over here we did we made a raised bed and my soil level’s a bit higher than hisso we put a small retaining wall and what we did was we, I got some what trellis materialwhich was actually in the dumpster outside the local drugstore they were remodeling andthey were throwing this store display rack
out. But guess what, it’s like two inch bytwo inch spacing and it’ll work perfect for trellis. So we did was, we basically screwedit in to the existing fence at two points and then we set the rebar into the groundto secure it and we use some tie wraps, plastic zip ties to secure it upright.Â You can see over here if we go over here, we’ve already planted it out. I had theseare going in the greenhouse. This is actually called chayote squash. If you look in thestore you’ll never see Chayote squash seeds for sale that’s because the fruit in itselfis the seed. So what you’re doing is you will go to an Asian market or Mexican market wherethey often sell Chayote. You will find one
that’s starting to split much like an avocadopit will split. The seed inside the chayote will split and send out a little chute androots out of the chayote and you could easily see this. There’ll be a crack near the topof the fruit were normally the stem would go in and you will see the roots coming outas well as the leaves coming out. Let’s see. They like a tropical climate. Andyou could see we have this vining up here and we have some clips on. They will definitelyextend out their own little, little coils and start wrapping around things very easily.We took this out the greenhouse so we just used some clips to clip them up for now. Butwe’ll come back later and will see this whole
trellis filled with chayote vines.Â Now the reason I’m growing the vines actually is my friend in Hawaii, Ryan introduced meto the chayote plant and he grows it actually for the fruit. So in Hawaii the chayote growsyear around and will fruit, flour and grow in he’ll sell the fruit to his local healthfood store. But the interesting thing is that he told me is that what’s edible on this plantand quite good raw is the tips so let me find a good tip here. So this is the tip here theend of the where the growth is ending. The tip there is you just snap it off so thenI just snapped off the tip there, I see a bad leaf that I’m probably going to peel beforeI actually eat it. So I just peeled that off.
And this will tip here is quite edible andquite good. The benefit is once you snap off the tip basicallythe plant will y off and make actually two more. Â It’ll make a lot more tips. So tipsare actually quite good. Also this year I started them earlier in the season, so hopefullyI’ll get a full growing season and maybe they will also go to fruit too. The fruit by theway can be eaten raw. Not quite my favorite but, definitely something unique and coolto be growing chayote squash.Â We’ll go around to the other side of the houseand I’ll show you some more established chayote that I have growing in a more shady location.This is a more sunny location so maybe it’ll
induce the fruiting and growing more quickly.Â Here you are seeing big chayote squash leaves climbing up a bamboo the trellis on the sideof the house here actually. You could see the chayote squash it starts all the way downhere and it’s next to my extra gas meter. We have some this cool variegated sorrel growinghere, quite good as well. Looks really cool. But the chayote squash if we move some plantsback here, well you can’t really quite see the fruit. The fruit actually rots, the fruitwas down there but the fruit actually rots and then the plant will actually take itsplace. But this vine actually goes up and goes upand goes up and goes up. We had actually one
How To Grow Lots of Grape Vines for FREE
Every year I try to add as many edible plantsto my garden as I can, while spending as little money as possible. Most of my gardening budgetgoes to buying plants. Today, I want to show you a technique that you can use to get alot of grape vines for very little cost, if any cost at all, as long as you or one ofyour neighbors or friends has a existing grape vine. Really, the only three materials you’re goingto need for this project are a knife, a pot with some potting soil or just compost fromyour yard. That what I used. And of course, you’re going to need the grape vine (for thecuttings). It’s best if you try this before
the grape vine starts to leaf out, when it’sin the dormant state during the winter. Alright, so basically every year, you’re probablygoing to prune a little bit of your grape vine, just to keep it in check and make surethe shape is how you want it to be as well as keeping it growing in the direction thatyou want. Well, you can take these cuttingsthese trimmingsfrom your grape vine and if they’reabout three nodes longsee, here’s one node right here, and here’s another node, and anothernodeyou’re going to at least three nodes, if not four to five nodes. What you want to do on the end of your cutting,once you have it off the vine, is take one
end and shave off some of the hard outer barkof the vine, like so. It’s going to expose the kind of fleshy, softer green wood that’son the inside of this cutting. That’s going to make your vine more likely to root by exposingthis tender green area. I forget the exact name of it, but your vine will want to rootafter taking some damage to the outer layer of bark. So once you have your bark exposedthe greenfleshy inner part exposedyou’re going to take your potting soil or compost, whateveryou’re using, and stick it down into the soil. the damaged part of the cutting. And justmake sure it’s nice and firm in the pot. Then
you’re going to water it. Give it a reallygood watering and maybe put some mulch on it to keep it moist through the season. Andyour grape vinethe actual vine in the groundis going to leaf out first, so if it doesn’tstart to leaf out immediately, don’t panic. It’s gonna take a little bit longer for thecutting to actually leaf out because it’s a cutting. it’s not the actual plant. Ithas to develop a root system to feed the leaves before it can actually focus on growing intoa new plant. Just be patient. So then, after a few weeks, you’ll probablynotice your main grape vine leafing out already. You’re gonna see something like this. See,it’s a new little leaf growing out of the
node on one of the cuttings I’ve already made.And it’s gonna keep growing and develop a root system and the leaves will get bigger.And eventually, you’ll have a cutting that’s like THIS. See? It’s forming new leaves oneach of the nodes. And so you just leave it in those pots, and the roots will start toform in the pot. I would recommend leaving it in for at least a whole season, about ayear, before actually transplanting it to the garden, just to make sure it’s well established. If you notice that your grape vine cuttingis starting to leaf out, and it’s well before your last frost date, and you anticipate frost,I would take your cutting inside, because
while the main grape vine may be able to handlethe damage from a late frost, your cutting won’t survive, because it’s so delicate andstill establishing. So if you notice that, I would take the cutting inside. that’swhat I’ve been doing. But other than that, once your vine establishes you’ll have anotherwhole free grape vine to grow anywhere you please in your yard. And you can even givethem away! I’ve had about a 75% success rate with this method and I didn’t spend anything.I put some compost in a pot, cut some of my vine off just from normal yeartoyear pruning,and not I have more grape vines! Well, I hope you found this short guide usefuland if you did, please consider subscribing