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My tremendously supportive husband & I have 3 wonderful children, 1 dog, 12 laying hens, 2 dairy goats, 3 bee hives, and a 2000 sq foot vegetable garden on a small 1/4 acre lot in the city. In the center of it all is our small 1,000 sq foot house purchased in 2008 as a foreclosure that we fully renovated to host our growing family, home school adventures, and small home business (CozyLeaf.com). We have a desire to learn a path to self sufficiency finding ways to be good stewards of the resources God has given us. We want to learn to live with less as we laydown roots to our little homestead.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tomato trimming... clipping the suckers!

Our tomatoes are getting mighty big!! Its time to start some trimming!! Tomatoes have non-flowering stems that will only suck up nutrients that the rest of the plant needs, so those "suckers" need to be clipped off.
You can see in this photo that the main stem is going up, but off the side there is a large sucker stem as well as a small new growth that is trying to get going (more than likely it will produce a stem that will flower and give you tomatoes, so you want it to have all the help it can get).

Clip off the leafy sucker stem as close to the new growth as possible, without disturbing the new growth.
Doing this to your tomato plants will help them be more productive! But make sure not to get to crazy, you don't want a naked plant!! The leaves are important and do serve a purpose, but you just don't want it to be a big bush! Also the weight from the unnecessary leaves will cause big stems to snap :(
Also be aware that pruning your tomatoes will expose the fruit to the elements...The fruit will be more noticeable to squirrels, rabbits and birds (our 3 main problems). Don't do all your pruning at one time...take a couple days to prune your plant. Otherwise you will shock your plant!


  1. I never have trimmed my tomato bushes... but I've also never had great crops. I just might need to be doing this.

  2. Give it a try! Let me know how it turns out :)

  3. How do we know that a branch is a leafy sucker or bearing one? How to identify and remove it?

  4. In the first picture you can see the main stem with 1 stem growing off of it and a tiny new growth coming up in the V of those two branches...The 1st stem never produced buds but just large leaves so I knew when the new growth appeared that it would be the fruit producer and the leafy stem wasn't needed anymore.
    Watch your tomato plants this year and look for the new growth stems coming up in the V of 2 other stems...it will make a lot more sense when you can observe the whole plant instead of just a few pictures. You will see how the one stem can get very very large and never produce a single bud.
    Hope that helps :)

  5. In the video here: http://www.finegardening.com/how-to/videos/pruning-tomatoes.aspx
    He directly contradicts you and says the suckers are the ones in the joint and they should be pulled. Who is right??

    1. He calls them suckers, but he also calls them shoots. This is just a different technique of growing tomatoes. With his method of growing tomatoes (tall and with one center stalk), the center shoot would be a sucker. The center shoot is what will grow out and form a whole knew stalk to the tomatoe. If you are wanting to focus on a tall plant with one stalk, then you would want to prune out all the new shoots that would make the plant bushy. I am actually growing to try this form this year! I'm very excited. In the past we always let all our shoots grow out to form a more full plant...it's just 2 different ways of tomatoe plant growing. :) hope that helps!