Hi I'm Tricia a California organic gardener. One of my main reasons for gardening is to have home grown tomatoes. Today we're gonna talk about tomato pruning and some of the common problems with tomatoes and what to do about them.
The only type of tomato you should consider pruning are indeterminate tomatoes and you don't have to prune all your tomatoes at all but for those of us in short seasons there are advantages. Pruning will help maximize fruit size and quality and if you're not growing in cages it will help prevent the tomatoes from sprawling all over the ground. For a fully pruned tomato vine choose the two strongest and healthiest growing tips and cut the rest and remember that pruning tomatoes will limit the amount of fruit that you get. This is one of two big healthy growing tips, this is just a branch. Now I'm going to prune off the lower smaller growing tips, this is the small growing tip that I'm going to prune. Make sure that you don't snip until there's two full leaves and don't prune when the plant is wet. And this is an immature growing tip not ready to snip yet i'm also gonna prune some of these bottom branches that are touching the ground, unhealthy branches and branches growing in a downward direction. This will really improve air circulation around the base of the plants be careful not to prune too much you want to have a nice canopy of leaves over the fruit to prevent a common problem called sun scaled. A sun scalded fruit has a large light colored leathery patch and that means it didn't have enough cover from the leaves and it got sunburned. Another common problem is fruit cracking, the fruit will crack when it has either uneven watering or too much sun or both. Mulches and drip irrigation help maintain even watering, sometimes fruit will ripen unevenly and this is called blotchy ripening or grey wall. It's thought to be caused by multiple factors like too much nineteen and not enough phosphorus and boron and extreme temperatures. What you can do to avoid it is use a balanced fertilizer you may see some dark spots on the leaves stems or fruit about a centimeter in diameter this could be early blight. To control blight avoid overhead watering, spray a copper fungicide like Liquicop every seven to ten days as soon as the disease appears.
For some other common tomato problems it may be too late this year to do anything about them if you have a dark leathery patch on the bottom of your tomato that grows larger from the blossom end you could have blossom end rot which is caused by a calcium deficiency and aggravated by uneven watering. To avoid blossom end rot in the future you might consider adding a calcium based amendment next year. So for this and other tips about how to get your tomatoes off to a great start check out our "Planting Tomatoes" video. Another problem is wilting caused by soil-borne fungi like Fusarium and Verticillium. Unfortunately all you can do is destroy all infected plant matter including the roots after harvest and don't plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants or potatoes in that spot for four to six years. Plant resistant varieties like Siletz or Roma and you can apply Actinovate fungicide which will help prevent some wilts from getting a foothold. Here's to a healthy harvest of tomatoes from your backyard and grow organic for life