Category Archives: Vegetables

Suckers

Got outside by 7am today. Cloudy and overcast with a chance of pop-up showers. I watered beds 43-48 (squash, sunflower, pole beans), beds 13-23 (okra, beans, peas), and the blueberry orchard. Then the rains came. More than a shower. It poured. The paths between beds 1-12 are slow to drain. All beds did well. Wind pushed corn over but not bad, expect it will stand itself up. One tiny Redbud tree staked outside the fence broke in half. The main objective today was to sucker the tomato plants. Finished all except bed 11 (Tommy toes) before the rain set in. Will finish it next time out.

In the past we’ve just let our plants grow and grow and were proud when they made tomatoes. But now that we are working to produce a better tomato for our community we are attempting a more “commercial” approach which teaches us that indeterminate variety tomatoes (which is all we grow) should be suckered to direct energy and growth toward the fruit rather that toward the greenery (leaves and stems and such). We learned that indeterminate type tomatoes will grow one main stem as long as fourteen feet or so with lots of branches and fruiting buds and can produce tomatoes until frost. These tomatoes also have suckers which grow upward from the point where the branch and stem meet. The suckers are trying to become their own plant and will literally ‘suck’ the energy away from the growing fruit just above it. The fruit will still grow with the suckers on but won’t be as big and their won’t be as many. So suckers were cut out. I also cut away all branches and leaves that touched the ground and did a little weeding. Having the leaves off the ground made weeding a lot easier both under and up close to the plants.

There are aphids on some tomato plants but there are also a lot of ladybugs and bees. Will hit each plant with a strong blast of water to wash away aphids. Removing lower branches helped. Do not feel a need for more control. Plants are healthy and vigorous. Pollinators (bees, butterflies, etc) seen not only on tomatoes but also on cucumber, zucchini, beans, squash, peppers, eggplant, and throughout wild flower beds. Did not get an opportunity to take pictures due to rain. Will try to add some tomorrow.

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