Gardentalk – Tomato plant care and greenhouse modding

Tomato plants
Since these tomato flowers are near the top of the plant, they should probably be trimmed away so the fruit can ripen. (Matt Miller/KTOO)

Juneau area gardeners may have tomato plants in various stages of growth. Now is the time to coax those plants toward potential harvest of the fruit.

In the latest edition of Gardentalk, Master Gardener Ed Buyarski suggests trimming the newly formed flowers, especially if they are just now emerging at the top of the plant.

Also, any yellowing leaves and any parts of the plant showing signs of gray, fuzzy mildew should all be removed.

Gardeners can encourage self-pollination of existing lower flowers by gently shaking the plants. An oscillating fan will also help distribute the pollen in a greenhouse, and extra heat will help extend the growing season.

For those plants that are done flowering or already bearing fruit, Buyarski recommends stressing them by limiting their water to accelerate fruit development.

Buyarski also has suggestions for building or equipping a new greenhouse, such as installing a screen door and windows that allow ventilation at either end and an oscillating fan to promote air circulation inside.

He also recommends clearing the immediate area around the greenhouse of trees or tree branches that could obstruct the sun.

This tomato plant in a North Douglas greenhouse are still flowering as well as bearing fruit in early September. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)
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