Pinching Off Crotch Suckers

Sprig at the "Y" of tomato vine
Sprig at the "Y" of tomato vine

For the several years that I have been gardening, I am always reminded of my father when I tend my tomato plants. He wasn’t a very good gardener, but in the first summer when I was raising tomatoes, 1996, he shared with me a tip: the little sprig of leaves that grows out of the center of a “Y” in the vines is a “sucker” because it doesn’t bear fruit and uses the plant’s valuable nutrients for nothing. He told me you can just pinch off these suckers at the crotch of the vines.

So I think of him all summer while I tend my tomatoes. He died in 2005. We think of him often. I was happy that he got to know Abby, and that she got to know him, before he died.

It looks like it’s going to be another year of a good garden. Now that it’s turned hot, the cantaloupe and cucumber vines are growing like kudzu.

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