Last night Ma Nature outdid herself and gave us a beating.  Hard frost, on our weather station 21°.  I’m not sure that even covered plants will have a chance in that cold.


That’s frost on the cold frame glass.  Oh well.  We move on and see what happens.

Meanwhile in the nice warm house, I’m getting antsy for something interesting.  And I came across this:

My favourite method of pruning tomato seedlings is to pinch the tops when they have three good, strong leaves and a fourth emerging about 3-4 weeks old. Tomato seedlings have alternate leaves one leaf grows out one side of the stem, then another grows out the other side a little further up, and so on. The original seed leaves fall off soon after the true leaves start to grow: don’t count these. When you see the fourth leaf beginning to unfurl on a little stem, snip or pinch it off above the third leaf. What happens?

Nothing seems to happen for about a week, which is good because the plant is growing a stronger stem and roots instead of more leaves. Then you should see more strong growth at the top and sides, which you can pinch or train as you wish…By the time you plant your seedlings, they will be stockier, fuller and healthier than the long, stringy tomatoes that they might have been.

Look out experiment, here I come.

I’ve been growing a few early tomato seedlings to go out soon under a couple of layers of protection.  Come here, my pretties.  Snip.

IMG_4579The plant on the left will be the control, the one on the right is snipped.  If a theory makes sense, if it fits into what experience tells me should would work, I’m on it.  We’ll see.

18 thoughts on “snip

  1. Wow, that’s cold! We were 27 two nights ago but I don’t have anything out there but flowers popping up. The did ok. Some fruit trees have started to leaf out but nothing hurt from what I can see. Two years ago we had a hard freeze during blossom and much of the apple crop was lost. I hope you don’t lose too much!

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  2. That’s a new one on me. I would have thought it might delay the formation of the first truss which for me, who always waits impatiently for the first ripe tomato, would be a disadvantage. But is would certainly be a good idea if your seedlings were leggy. And, of course, you could always grow two stems per plant which would be useful if you have to buy your plants. I ought to try it and see if one plant does produce twice as many fruit or just have fewer per stem! Nasty weather you are having – you have my sympathy! We are due a cold week with frosts but nothing like that. I held off sowing carrots this week because of the cold snap coming. We always have to garden with the weather and not the calendar!

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    • Yes I have a feeling that it won’t provide earlier tomatoes, but possibly a stronger plant. I figured that it’s worth the risk just to see. (Plus a couple of seedlings were getting taller than my lights can go:). Your maxim about gardening by the weather is great and very true!


  3. We only got down to, but not below, 32 this week if the records are to be believed. Just got back from the garden and everything looks AOK. I hope you didn’t lose too much.

    If nothing else your experiments should strike fear in the hearts of your plants. Maybe that will inspire them to produce.

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  4. Snipping and ‘training’ tomatoes has worked great for me! Keeps my plants from reaching 10-ft heights, which they would do if I didn’t top them. Growing directly into compost-rich soil can mean too much of a good thing.

    Glad your apricots survived!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve topped tomatoes before Shannon, but only when they were mature plants to keep them in reach (although I don’t think mine have ever gotten to 10′!). It’ll be interesting to see what happens when they’re young. I hope. 🙂

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  5. I don’t think my toms have that many leaves on them yet. I wouldn’t have dared to snip their tops so early, but it kind of makes sense when it is explained that way. Definitely worth giving a try. Do you put anything in the hole prior to putting the plant in it’s permanent hole in the ground, like a fertilizer, epsom salts, etc?

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  6. Pingback: Solar cold frame | through the luminary lens

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