It seems as though sometimes when working in the garden that there are a lot of tasks that we do that one might sometimes consider as being unnecessary. After all if a plant was growing wild as nature intended they would not get lavish care and attention heaped upon them would they?
Clearly the answer to that question is ‘no of course not’, so why then do we do it. Its a pretty straight forward answer or set of answers really and probably best put in bullet statements for clarity:
* We want to increase and optimise the amount of yield we get from our tomato plants
* we want to increase and optimise the best tasting fruit in terms of flavour
* We want our fruit to have good colour and look great when served
* We want our plants to last as long as possible in the growing season and continue to produce fruit throughout the whole growing season.
So in order to meet these objectives we take actions that would not necessarily occur in nature, after all what is nature’s prime objective? Probably to ensure survival, so it is survival of the fittest and strongest. But that does not always meet our objectives and it is why we develop plant strains that do meet our objectives. So the price we pay occasionally is to increase the level of care required to ensure we meet the objectives of plenty of good healthy fruit that looks and tastes great.
This has never been truer than when growing tomatoes, so when asked the question is it really necessary to prune tomato plants the answer has to be a resounding yes. The reasons are also fairly clear when listed:
* Keeping the vine clear of the ground by clipping off the lower stems will help ensure that they remain disease free, remembering that most contaminants lay in the soil.
* Taking out the excess stems that are not doing so well will mean that the remaining healthy stems get their full quota of nutrients and produce lots of wonderful fruit
* Keeping the plant down in size with only healthy thriving stems will mean you can utilise available space for more plants but still allow the plants to receive the optimum amounts of sunshine and nutrients they need to flourish.
So yes there is a price to pay for producing great tomatoes, but that price is very small in comparison to the rewards. If you haven’t already experienced the satisfaction of picking your own fresh fruits from your garden then when you do you will fully understand what I mean. There really is nothing more satisfying than planting tomatoes and getting a lovely crop of fresh tomatoes as a reward.
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