Tomato Cuttings Made Easy!

You desire to grow some late tomatoes, but you didn’t start more seed. What do you do?

Take an old shallow container, drill holes in the bottom and root tomato cuttings in vermiculite and water. It’s actually pretty simple. Tomato plants are actually very tough.

Find a container that will hold coarse vermiculite and water ( a plastic dishpan works great!!). Drill several 3/8 inch holes in the bottom of the container. By the way, you may use a large shallow nursery pot as well. Now place about 3 to 4 inches of coarse vermiculite in the container. Water the vermiculite to supply moisture to the cuttings. Allow excess water to drain prior to taking cuttings.P1040429

Carefully take cuttings from desired tomato plants using garden pruners. I have found, the larger the cutting, the easier to root! Place the cuttings in the moistened vermiculite about 3 inches apart. I place my rooting container in the shade to maintain proper hydration of the new cuttings. Usually it takes 10 to 14 days for proper rooting.

You may notice raised bumps or even small roots starting on the stem. These cuttings are the easiest to root.

Look at the results after just 10 days.

Now it is time to pot up your rooted cuttings in large containers to use for transplant in 10 days.

Water the newly potted cuttings and place in a lightly shaded area. Gradually move the pots into more sun light. Plant the potted plants as you would any transplant.

This an easy, effective way to start large, quick growing tomato plants.

Enjoy!

Papa

 

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Time to Prune!!

A wise man said “there is a time and a season for everything”. Folks, it’s time to prune your fruit trees. It may seem early. Now is the time!

This 4 year old ‘Ozark Premier’ plum tree was methodically pruned to maximize its’ potential! The before and after shows the amount of pruning necessary to bring this tree to its’ perfection.

Let’s start by sharpening the tools of the trade. A good pair of hand pruners and loppers will get the job done. Start the New Year right by properly sharpening the blade of the pruner and lopper.

Using a diamond or rat tail file gently sharpen the blade. Gently file against the blade from the base to the tip. A sharpened blade gives a crisp cut. By the way, dip or paint the blades with rubbing alcohol to remove any possible pathogens (disease).

The pruning process starts by removing dead and crossing branches.

Remove the vertical branches to open the tree canopy for better fruiting. The best shape for plum trees require lateral (moderately horizontal) branching.

Codominant branches areĀ a serious weakness in all trees. Codominance occurs when 2 or more branches occur at the same place on the trunk or supporting branch. These codominant branches are of the same diameter, neither one gaining superiority. This provides weak attachment and subsequent weakness. Time to remove!!

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“Y” shaped branching is another weakness and usually codominant. Bye-Bye!

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Heading cuts will produce lateral (horizontal) branching in the future. The lateral buds will open or sprout due to the pruning which removes branch tip dominance.

Don’t forget to remove all low lying branches. You will want to get under that tree. Nothing more irritating than branches in your face!!

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For cuts too large for your hand pruner, bring in the “muscle” – loppers!!!

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The finished product which next year will get more definitive pruning.

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That was fun!!

Papa