Gauteng Smallholder December/ January 2018 - Page 39

From page 35 IN THE GARDEN leave a gaping wound on the stem. If you prefer, you can use a sharp, clean pair of secateurs to snip these small sucker branches off. The best time to prune tomato plants is in the early morning on a dry day. This will allow for the wounds from the pruning to heal cleanly and will reduce the chances of the plant being infected by disease. If you choose to prune tomato plants, make sure that you use watering methods that water the tomato plants at the soil level (such as Removing a sucker soaker hoses) rather K Maximizing photosynthe- than from above (such as sis. Leaves need to receive sprinklers). This will prevent light in order to make sugars the splashing of soil up on to for growth and fruit set. the tomato plant and the K Improving airflow and tomato plant's wounds. decreasing disease. With As the growing season draws fewer leaves, pruned plants are less dense, allowing more to a close, tomato plants are often still loaded with fruit. air to move through the To speed ripening late in the plants. The leaves dry faster season, remove the growing after a rain, so they are less tip of each main stem about susceptible to the diseases that need prolonged moisture four weeks before the first expected frost. Called to develop. K Bigger