gardening thoughts #4: aggressively prune

My general gardening philosophy is simple: They’re plants. They will figure it out.

However, one of my take aways from my 2020 garden adventure was that while they will figure it out, sometimes plants need a little bit of help.

Prior to the start of the growing season, I had ordered my tomato plants from Burpee. I don’t have great luck with starting most plants from seeds and wanted to set myself up for success. Also, with the pandemic and having a special needs child, I didn’t feel comfortable going to the garden center to buy my plants.

For the most part, I was really happy with the plants that we received. All but two of them appeared to be healthy and handled the shipping process well. I still planted the two that looked like they were on their last legs. I didn’t have any hope that they would make it. In actuality, they ended up the most productive plants in my garden. Guess that goes to show that you should never judge a plant by how it looks or book by its cover.

Since I didn’t expect either of them to live or amount to much, I decided that the squash trellis would probably be enough support and didn’t use a tomato cage for either of them. This was a mistake.

Without the cage to corral them, both tomato plants became quite unruly and took over the majority of the raised bed to the detriment of the cucumber plants. Without the cages, I should have taken time to aggressively prune each of them to stay within their allotted spaces.

To be fair though, pruning goes against my gardening philosophy. The plants should, and mostly do, know what to do to thrive. Pruning forces my ideas of what the plant should do on them and who am I to tell a plant what to do? As you can tell, I’m a bit torn here.

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