Maintain established tomato vines

tomatoes

Vine tomatoes (indeterminate types) need regular maintenance, at least once a week, to stay healthy and give you a sizeable return of quality fruit. Phil Dudman demonstrates what to do.

  1. Remove all spotty and diseased leaves that are normally found on the lower parts of the vine, and put them in the rubbish bin, not your compost. This will help to slow the spread of disease to the healthy leaves. Don’t be concerned if the stems look bare – the new leaves will continue to support the plant.
  2. Pinch out side shoots that appear at the base of leaves, and remove excess suckers. While it’s not vital for you to do this, it stops the vine becoming a cluttered mess and improves airflow, making the plant less prone to disease. It also allows the plant to focus its resources on a few healthy, well-spaced stems that have been earmarked for fruit production.
  3. Secure new growth by loosely tying it to your stakes or frame.
  4. Cover the fruit trusses with a pest exclusion bag if you’re in a fruit fly area. Apply the bag as soon as all or most of the flowers on the truss have been pollinated and tiny fruit are forming.

For more easy step-by-step instructions for jobs around the garden, including how to turn a large shrub into a small tree, pick up a copy of the December issue of ABC Gardening Australia magazine, on sale now.