Gardentalk — Trim a little now for a bigger harvest later

Cucumber flowers fade and shrink for the night in a North Douglas greenhouse.

Cucumber flowers fade and shrink for the night in a North Douglas greenhouse. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

In this week’s edition of Gardentalk, Master Gardener Ed Buyarski explains that trimming a few side shoots from our greenhouse tomato and cucumber plants can enhance development of their vegetables over the rest of the season.

Buyarski recommends erecting a trellis, tomato cages or other form of support that will allow the plants to grow upward.

“Because those plants will grow lots and lots of side shoots off the main vine, we need to prune some of those out so that the plant will put its energy into growing more tomatoes, more cucumber fruits,” Buyarski said.

“And, (it will) allow better ventilation, better airflow around the plants so we don’t have the mold and mildew infections that are so common with our normally moist conditions,” he said.

For indeterminate tomato plants which may grow 6 feet or more until killed by frost, Buyarski recommends pruning the plant’s side shoots so there is no more than one extra stem off of the main stem.

For determinate or bush tomatoes which are limited to 3 feet in height, he suggests leaving three or four stems instead.

For cucumbers, Buyarski recommends trimming the side shoots and leaving no more than two or three shoots off the main stem.

Listen to the July 13 segment of Gardentalk about trimming cucumbers and tomatoes:

Got a gardening question for Ed? Go to this page and ask away! We’ll try to answer your question in an upcoming segment.

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