It’s about now that I’m really on the lookout for unwanted growth on my tomato plants.
Owing to space restrictions, I grow only indeterminate (also known as cordon) varieties of tomatoes, ie. those that are reduced to a single main stem which bears the crop. This means that all side shoots have to be removed as soon as they are large enough to be grasped and detached, and as they start to appear quite early in the development of the plant, you have to keep an eye out for them.
This is what you’re looking for:
They are very easy to spot, popping up as they do at the junction of the main stem and a leaf stalk, and easy enough to pinch out with finger and thumbnail as long as they haven’t been allowed to get enormous. The only caveat is to take them off as cleanly as possible without ripping or scratching the stem – the less damage you do to plants at any stage of their life, the better as far as I’m concerned.
In the past I have always discarded these side shoots, but just for fun I thought I would try to make a new plant from one – tomatoes are apparently incredibly willing to root from cuttings, and as a removed side shoot is effectively a cutting it should root very readily.
The easiest method is simply to suspend it in water, so I found a tiny glass jar and did just that:
I will leave it in a bright, warm place, and hopefully it should start to root in a matter of days – we shall see!