I’ve never grown my own tomato plants, let alone in a raised bed garden. Friends and family had tomato plants that were always a few feet tall and pleasantly contained inside their cages.
So, when my plants started to get a some height to them and a little legginess, I began to research: How to care for tomato plants. I was surprised at the number of instructions and steps I read! Pluck the leaves off the bottom, cut the leaves at the crotch, cut the suckers, snip here, snip there.
I’ve always heard that tomatoes were hard, but doesn’t it seem like we’re picking and prodding at them too much? I am literally asking because I don’t know, I have no experience.
I do understand the concept of sacrificing some tomatoes so that the best tomatoes grow larger. One plant can only sustain life for so many tomatoes. I get it. But, I almost prefer to spend my time and effort providing enough food and nutrients to the plant rather than cutting parts of the plant away for the sake of others.
I guess I’m a purist but I want to see what this puppy can do unimpeded! Let ‘er grow! I also think back to a time before cultivation and gardening. There was a time when tomato plants were wild and there was no one around to “cut the suckers” then.
Maybe these are excellent time-tested tips from experienced tomato experts, but I also wonder how many things we do in life and in the garden just because that’s what everyone else does. What if snipping off the bottom leaves was an unproven experiment that took off in popularity. But was actually tested out to be a bad or neutral practice. I don’t know.
Its my first year with tomatoes and I’ve decided that I’m just going to see what happens! At the moment I am pleasantly overwhelmed with both my tomato and cherry tomato plants. They are over five feet tall and while I can’t be sure… I have a feeling the cherry tomato plant has over 100 green tomato berries on it! I cannot wait to eat them straight off the vine! Fresh and delicious!
I’ll certainly check in on my evolving thoughts and feelings on tomato plant care and growth. I could eat my words once these tomatoes start to ripen.
For now, here are a few pictures of my tomato and cherry tomato plants. The cherry tomato plant is the largest, reaching up and over the fence! These are from transplant, planted directly into sifted compost in my raised bed garden.