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Thursday, September 8, 2011

To-may-to, To-mah-to

A terrible thing happened the other day.  I heard you should trim the top of your tomato plants 30 days before a hard frost.  This allows the plant to put all of its energy into producing fruit for the remainder of the growing season.  I consulted Wisconsin Online Gardening ( for when to expect a hard frost.  Yikes!  October 4-10?  There are only a few weeks left?  The Ghost of Tomatoes Past conjured visions of frost bitten tomato plants!  Oh, the horror!
OK, OK - I'm being dramatic.  My tomatoes are just fine for the moment. 
I ALSO read that if you remove the non-fruit bearing branches (during the normal growing season) the plant will produce more fruit. I had two plants that drooped every day, no matter how often I watered. So I pruned those two - thinking if they have less leaves, they'll transpire less water throughout the day, so perhaps they won't wilt. They seemed to benefit from it, so I pruned the remaining six plants.  They look kinda spindly, but I AM getting plenty of tomatoes.
One added benefit (I'm allergic to bee and wasp stings) is that I can see and retrieve my tomatoes without putting my hand into dense foliage where a bee or wasp might be hiding.  Now that the nights are getting cold, I'm wearing rose gardener's gloves.  No stinging insect can penetrate elbow length suede.
Knowing I ought to trim my tomato tops, I snipped a few.  But my heart just isn't in it.   Trimming them implies the season is almost over.  I have a tendency to resist the march of time.  I have to be dragged kicking and screaming from one season to the next.  However, if we keep having these 40 degree mornings I may reconsider.....  :)

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