prune it up

I need to scramble around and find that ole bucket list of mine…It is time to mark off pruning and trellising tomatoes in a high tunnel.

All of our previous gardens have been planted and left to do their thing until harvest.  Other than watering and weeding, we didn’t get involved in any pruning. Until now, that is.

While Papa and Eddie worked on the trellis system, and Yaya played with Mae Mae, I started in on the pruning.  I had a few Utube videos under my belt but no experience.

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overgrown tomatoes

The plants had gotten a little ahead of us and started to bush out near the bottom.

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before pruning

The first to go was the suckers.  That is the small branch that grows in the the neck of the main stem and a branch.

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pinching off a sucker

Once I pulled those off, I followed the main stem (the one with the flower) and removed all other branches off of the main line below the flower.

Pruning will need to be done every week or so to  focus the plants nutrients and growth to the main productive fruit setting portion of the plant.

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after pruning

Pruning made such a big difference in cleaning up the high tunnel and allowing us to move onto the next step of trellising.

A high tunnel offers so many advantages but one of the biggies is the ability to trellis plants right up to the ceiling.  A vertically trellised tomato plant will have less disease and produce more fruit that is easily accessible. Have you ever tried to wrestle a overgrown tomato plant to get to the tomatoes on the interior?  It can be a bit of a jungle and trellising all but eliminates that.

To start, we installed a wire system that runs the length of the high tunnel over each row and attached to the end walls. We used hi-tensile electric fence wire and fence strainers to tighten the wire.

 

attaching the wire to the end walls

attaching the wire to the end walls

Once the wire was up, we could begin to place the drop string to each plant.  We just tied a knot at the wire and cut the string at ground level.

attaching the string to the wire

attaching the string to the wire

Each string was attached to the base of the tomato plant with a vine clip.

attaching a vine clip to the plant

attaching a vine clip to the plant

A vine clip holds securely to the string so that it can’t slip up the string and stays in place.

vine clip

vine clip

Depending on the height of the plant, we used two or three clips….As the plant grows, more will be needed.

trellised row

trellised rows

The high tunnel will be a walls of tomatoes by the end of the summer!

 

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