Caged Tomatoes

Tomato, unknown, from side shoot propagationTomato, unknown, cagedThis is an unknown tomato plant that sprang up one day on the ground, on regular soil. It originated from a tomato seed from last season that was blown from the container and landed on the ground and established itself there! It’s also beginning to fruit. It’s growing next to the lantana.

Happily, the photo next to it is of  tomato plant that grew from propagation of one of the side shoots or suckers of the plant pictured on the left! It’s also more vigorous that the one growing in the ground. They’re on the same watering and feeding schedule, so I’ll have to investigate why the resulting plants look different. NOTE: The side shoot or sucker is the same age as the parent or donor plant – it’s just a smaller version of it, initially. As the photo shows, with care, it catches up really fast!

TIP: Get tomato cages; otherwise, your tomato vines will topple over and possibly snap off. Insert the cage when you see a young tomato plant forming. From my own embarrassing experience, trying to force a cage into a container after a large plant has established itself will likely result in damage to the plant and tearing off of immature tomatoes.

HOW TO: If the part of the plant snaps off, try to make this an opportunity to propagate your tomato plant. You can rinse off the broken end with water, dip the wet end into rooting hormone powder before planting it, or maybe get lucky like I did this time by just sticking the broken off piece directly into the potting soil, as is. You may be rewarded with more tomatoes to enjoy for the season!

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The non-fruit parts of tomato plants are poisonous if ingested. More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

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