garden: let ’em grow or cut ’em down?
I keep pulling up volunteer tomato plants and I seriously cannot keep up with them. I’ve got 16 ‘official’ tomato plants here and there around the yard. Three are in the ‘best’ spot (in terms of soil and sun), 3 in the runner-up for best, and 3 in the poor contender but at least a contender spot. The rest of the 16 have been tucked into every conceivable spot I could find in the yard that looked like a tomato plant might possibly do something resembling what a tomato plant should. Some of them are, while others are being pokey puppies.
The new volunteers are not being pokey puppies. I was quite happy with the bushing out progress of one of the “I know it is a cherry tomato plant” –until I realized today that the bushiness is due to three burly volunteers that sprouted up close behind it and now are above a foot tall — the cherry-from-seed plant is only two feet and a bit and it has been there for several months. Maybe I should pull it out and let the volunteers grow…
I was ruthless last week in pulling up tomato volunteers, along with anything resembling a weed, in the ‘best’ garden spot. There are twenty new baby tomato plants there today if there is one. There are dozens more cropping up and some already gaining a serious leg up in the two runners-up garden spots.
So I’m thinking. Most of the volunteers are probably determinant tomatoes –they’ll each put out a crop of somewhere between 5-20 tomatoes over a 4-week period of time and then croak off. In the ‘best’ garden spot I’ve got one plant that already has 8 developing tomatoes, is still flowering, but has stopped growing upwards (clear sign it is determinant) and its little neighbour has four toms and, while still growing, the growth has seriously slowed down. So maybe I should let some of these volunteers continue to grow and use them as replacements for a late June crop (provided the weather cooperates and the temps drop overnight enough for them to set flowers and fruit). Hmmmm…..