Many years ago I was helping a local lady in her house and couldn’t help noticing her tomato plants. They were heavily laden with beautiful, fat tomatoes, but the rest of the plants were cut back to the quick almost, with a wee sprouting of leaves at the top and a single stem to support them. I had to ask her about them as I’d just started trying to grow my own tomatoes. She explained to me that the leaves and the side shoots steal growing energy from the fruit, so it’s important to prune them off if you want to get plentiful fruit. She also explained that you need to start pruning once the second truss of flowers appears. I applied it to my own tomatoes and we got a magnificent crop, so I’ve followed her advice every year since.
Today was the first day of pruning for the year, and it always makes me feel like I’m being utterly savage with my poor wee plants.
We also fed them for the first time today to make up for the savaging. It’ll need doing every two weeks until they are done flowering. I’m going to soak the clippings to turn them into plant food, which is also a bit savage, but it will return the goodness the side shoots and leaves stole from the baby tomatoes.