Today’s Gardening Tip: Mulching, deflowering and pruning tomatoes

Welcome to Sweet Home Organics’ gardening tips! We hope to provide all you aspiring and veteran vegetable gardeners with little tidbits throughout the season to help your garden flourish. Today’s tips focus on ever-popular tomatoes.

Tomatoes like warm, dry weather. Wet conditions, particularly heavy rains that splash soil up onto its leaves, can lead to blight and other diseases that can take down even the healthiest tomato plant. We suggest mulching the soil around your tomatoes using grass clippings, straw or even newspaper. This will help maintain soil moisture, control weeds and prevent soil from splashing on the undersides of leaves. Pull the mulch away from the stems a few inches and spread out under the entire plant.042027016_xlg

Now for the “graduate school” of tomato maintenance: Deflowering and pruning! Removing the flowers and suckers from tomato plants are actually quite easy once you know what you’re doing. Pinch the flowers off your tomato (and pepper and eggplant) plants till mid- to late June. Be careful not to pull off the entire growing tip (topmost stems and leaves) – only the flowers. This helps direct all the plant’s energy into root and leaf development. Pruning the suckers, described in the article and video linked below, helps develop larger fruits and improves air circulation around the plant.

Check out this brief how-to article and this video on how to prune and deal with common tomato issues.

Till next time, happy growing!

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