I think it’s time to pot up this rooted side shoot!
I measured the roots when I removed it from the jar, and the longest were about 8cm – not bad for about a week’s growth!
Next step was to carefully pot it up in some multipurpose compost and water it in very well:
I then put it in my shady coldframe so that it will be protected from hot sun (if we get any!) until the roots have had a chance to establish, after which it can go back out into a sunny spot to grow on.
It already has a little flower bud on it, so I may see fruit quicker than I think!
Well, it took 8 days for the first root to appear (yesterday), but my tomato side shoot is really picking up the pace today:
The question is, do I bother to do anything with it? The only reason I stuck it in some water was to see how easily it would root, and the answer is, “very!”, but I don’t actually need any more plants, sooooo….?
Actually, why am I even pretending to ponder this?? I’m a gardener, and as such I can almost never bring myself to throw away healthy plant material, so you just know that this cutting is going to get potted up and bunged somewhere or other, if only to find out how quickly it grows and becomes productive.
Inquiring minds need to know…
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!