‘Topping’ Tomato Plants toward the end of Growing Season…

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tomatoes_1  This is something that I recently tried this year, as I have always denied the whole pruning philosophy when concerning tomato plants, but this year I had another problem, which was a good one, and that being the need to “top” my tomato plants (I’ll get to the reason for this, in a moment).

  Well, even though this post is about ‘topping’ your lovely tomato plants, and since I’ve already managed to gripe about pruning fanatics, I shall provide a quick excerpt from ehow.com that speaks about pruning:  “What Is Pruning and Why?  Pruning tomato plants means removing unwanted side-shoots, or suckers, from the main stem. This will keep your plant from getting too bushy. It will also cut down on the amount of fruit your plant produces but allow it to produce larger-sized fruit. Pruned tomato plants will also produce fruit earlier than other plants.”

Even though that is the concept of pruning, I’m yet to see why anybody would want to do that!  If you have excellent soil and your plants are thriving, why would you not want your tomato plants to be bushy and have loads of tomatoes?  If you yearn for over-sized tomatoes, then perhaps you need to try other types of plants, like the beefsteak tomato, for example.

Anyway, we are not pruning anything in my garden patch, but I did have to resort to “topping” this year, which is where you cut the tops off, in hopes that the remaining small tomatoes will produce decent-sized red ones toward the end of their growing season.

To make a long story short, I had a great growing season this year, and most of the things I planted did really well.  However, I have never had a year when the tomato plants seemed like you couldn’t kill ’em even if you tried.  Normally, they die out toward the end of summer…  But this year, they kept thriving (maybe I’m getting better at this) and this is what has brought me to this topping situation.

You see, after your tomato plants have been around for quite a while and have grown to enormous size, it gets to the point that your tomatoes get smaller and smaller as your plants vine out.  Think about how much further the fruit is from the roots, as it grows…  Well, one can normally wait for them to slowly grow and ripen when you have an ongoing, excellent yield, but not when you are heading toward the end of your growing season!  So, instead of having to throw a bunch of tiny green tomatoes back onto the ground, if you top the plants (remove/cut the tops off just above the potential  fruit clusters), you will have a better chance of those last sets of tomatoes growing to full size, as no more energy and nutrients will be wasted on unnecessary growth and/or foliage.  Pretty simple stuff, eh?

Although I don’t grow this particular crop, since it is illegal, I have heard of people topping their marijuana plants to get it to bud faster and provide a quicker, higher quality yield.  I don’t even know if I should have mentioned that last tidbit, but either way, the concept remains.  If cool weather is just a month or two away and you still have tomato plants that are producing green tomatoes, then topping your plants may be the solution for you.

Side Note:  This only applies to the larger varieties of tomato plants, as it might not be a good idea to ‘top’ your small/medium-sized tomato plants; cheers!

Related Articles:

* Garden Experiment:  Growing Tomatoes Naturally

* Garden Pest: Tomato Hornworms

* Fried Green Tomatoes – Southern Tradition

* Fried Green Roma Tomatoes

* Black Walnut Trees Killing Tomatoes

—End of Post: ”Topping’ Tomato Plants toward the end of Growing Season…

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