Takin’ Out the Suckers

In order to produce the best tomatoes, I have to take out all the suckers.

Not suckers, like the ones from this D-Nice song…But tomato suckers, shoots that grow between the main stem and a branch.

If left to grow, suckers might steal energy from the main fruit, and you’d get a bunch of mediocre tomatoes instead of some really good ones.  For a more reasonable explanation, go here.

There’s discussion on whether you have to take out the suckers. The square-foot gardening method takes out the suckers to keep the tomato plants from spreading too wide and taking over the rest of the garden.  Who knew three tomato plants would require so much work?

Little sucker growing between main stem and branch.
Little sucker growing between main stem and branch.

I watched several videos while looking for ways to stay sucker free.

My Square Foot Garden had the best video of how to remove the suckers.

Front Porch Farm gives a detailed description of how to string and sucker tomato plants.  I haven’t had any success with training them on the trellis, so I’ve just been tying the branches.

I hope I’m not just hacking away at these plants.  I see lots of flowers, so there’s definitely potential.  There are lots of bugs too…but I’ll talk about that next time.

Here’s some updated pictures of my garden:

Back Row: Pole Bean (Kentucky Wonder), Tomato (Parks Whopper), Tomato (Sugary Hybrid), Tomato (Sweet Seedless) Front Row:  Marigolds and Lettuce (All Star Mix)
Back Row: Pole Bean (Kentucky Wonder), Tomato (Parks Whopper), Tomato (Sugary Hybrid), and Tomato (Sweet Seedless).
Front Row: Marigolds and Lettuce (All Star Mix).

 

Back Row:  Green Pepper, Red Pepper, Eggplant, Eggplant, Rosemary.  Way Back Row: Wild Strawberries and Basil Front Row: (Dying) basil, Italian Parsley, Thyme, Spicy Oregano, Sage, Marjoram, Marigolds
Back Row: Green Pepper, Red Pepper, Eggplant, Eggplant, and Rosemary.  Way Back Row: Wild Strawberries and Basil (dying).
Front Row: Basil (dying), Italian Parsley, Thyme, Spicy Oregano, Sage, Marjoram, and Marigolds.

 

Tomato Sugary Hybrid - can you see the little green bugs?
Tomato Sugary Hybrid – can you see the little green bugs?

 

Lettuce - All Star Mix - has been great in our salads.
Lettuce – All Star Mix – has been great in our salads.

 

I’d love some feedback from the gardeners out there.  So tell us, how do you take out the suckers?  Or do you just leave those suckers alone?

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