So this past week, I learned a very valuable lesson. And it has to do with tomatoes. But first, a little background:
The tomatoes we are growing are of the indeterminate variety. This means their growth is “indeterminate” in the sense that they will grow for as long as you allow them to; they are true vines. The tomatoes donated to us by Mrs. Casey, a lovely lady, are of said variety and they have been our fastest growing plants thus far. As such, are tomatoes have grown increasingly bushy and Professor Simeone informed us that they would be in need of pruning. He showed us a demo of how to prune and away we went.
Now, I thought I understood the pruning so I decided to take the process a little further to allow more room for the plants and to open up some space for them. I did this without really checking to make sure that was the proper way to do things (see the problem here?). So I cut leaves down and went along my merry way.
After doing this, I went home to further research pruning to find more techniques and make sure I was utilizing the most effective method. Turns out, I was doing it exactly the wrong way. Instead of removing the “sucker” which forms in the joint between the stem and a non-flowering branch and eventually becomes an offshoot stem, I had removed the non flowering limb. This is a problem because the non-flowering limb is what holds the leaves that photosynthesize and provide energy for the plant….yikes. Fortunately, I had really only concentrated on one plant, which now looked like the Christmas Tree from Charlie Brown; the rest remained relatively unscathed. However, I fear I have doomed this plant.
The lesson here is this, well, there’s actually a couple: one, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If no one knows the answer, DONT do anything. Better to wait and check later. Two, be patient. Gardening is a long process and while timing is definitely important, don’t rush anything as you may cause more harm. Three, do your research. If I had researched tomato pruning before I had actually done that, we would not have had this problem.
The good news is that only one of our over a hundred tomato plants is in real danger and I have hopes for its survival. Still, the lessons have been learned and we move forward with them in mind to ensure that future mistakes like this are avoided.