Friday, July 07, 2006

What's Growin' On: 7/7/06

Arkansas Traveler Tomato Plants

Minus A Few Leaves

Realization Of The Day:
I think I got a little carried away with the scissors.

When I finally stood back from these two previously bushy plants to admire my handiwork (practically tripping over the giant mound of trimmed tomato leaves in the process), I actually gasped in horror. Then I said out loud, "What did I just do?"

I have noticed over the years that it is extremely easy (at least for me) to start becoming somewhat obsessive when trimming the "useless" leaves from tomato plants (so that they will be forced to expend more energy on fruit production). Once you get started, it can be really hard to stop. (I mean, I busted myself snipping off even more leaves after the initial shock but before taking the photos.) Also, I may have lapsed into a bit of daydreaming while I was working. It's lulling sort of work.

Just the other day I left a comment for Steven over at Dirt Sun Rain saying how I'd heard that if you're facing the end of tomato season and still have plenty of green tomatoes on the vines, you can cut off absolutely all of the leaves so that the plant will concentrate fully on ripening the tomatoes. I have never done this, but perhaps while I had scissors in hand, my subconscious was trying to trick me into thinking it was already autumn (I am not a summer person by any stretch of the imagination).

At any rate, the plants are still alive (at least for now). And I have decided that this will be a very interesting experiment.

I just don't think I should be offering to give haircuts anytime soon.


  1. Mix up some epsom salt and water and spray on pepper and tomato plants to speed up ripening.

  2. Huh, I have never heard of removing the tomato leaves. Dont you have problems with sun scald after removing the leaves. I have removed suckers from my plants,but now I think its more work than its worth, with the exception of beefsteak type tomatoes. They do get much larger if I remove the suckers from the plants. My family loves green tomatoes just as much as the red ones. Fried green tomatoes, pickled,and green tomato chutney.....YUM!

  3. Hey Farmgirl,

    I'm still on blog-sabbatical, but I had to chime in on your "haircuts". My San Marzanos responded to their pruning by putting on another four inches of top growth, with tons of flowers and they began setting fruit in earnest this week.

    I'm getting a lot done while I avoid posting and the question arises that's been asked a million times: How on earth do you get anything done?

    P.S. Thanks for the links this week, your readers are the best ev-ar!

  4. Well, at least the tomato blight will have to jump really, really high to get to the leaves now. I will try this, as my tomatoes are wild and unruly.

  5. My hubby and I were just discussing whether we could trim our tomato plants.
    They are 4 ft high and dens as jungle. There are little tomatoes on them but I worry that they won't be able to ripen because of their jungle existence.:o)
    Well, I am off to get my have wonderful blogs!

  6. please keep us updated on how it goes...

    I've always been a firm believe that you prune back the growing shoots to encourage fruiting, but not actually taking as many leaves as you did.. but we shall see...

    I always look at each of those leaves a great big solar power plant and if you take them away then the plant has no energy to do anything with...

    but its an experiment... lets see an update later on that!

  7. Wow! I've done that extreme haircut, too. I'm glad to read in your July 31 post that it turned out all right and your tomatoes ripened.

    I'd like to contact you with a request to add my blog to your blogroll. I don't see a way to contact you by email, so I hope it's all right to leave the request via comment. I chose an old post, for subtlety I guess. I hope you end up seeing older comments when you moderate.

    Anyway, my blog is "A to Z Gardening" at and I would like to be included on your blogroll if mine passes muster. Of course, I've had yours on my blogroll for some while now. I really enjoy your clear writing and gorgeous photos.


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