Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tomato: Replacing the stake

The tomato plant has gone through extensive growth in the last few weeks. The original stake it was tied to has become just a bit too short for it.

To remedy this, I went to the home center and bought a brand new stake. It's taller than I am, so I don't expect any problems with size for the time being.

By the way, this is what I look like at 6:30 in the morning.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the tomato has branched, so replacing the stake is a two-pronged approach (I'm killing me with these puns). Here is the tomato before the stake replacement.

Here, you can see how the tomato branches to the left. There is a second stake to hold up the branch on the left. Actually, the branch on the left is the main branch! The branch that grows straight upwards grew out of a bud (わき芽). As I mentioned before, this is bad for the fruits because it draws nutrients away from the fruits and towards leaf growth.

At this point, though, removing the branch would cause a lot more trouble for the plant because it has given almost half of its energy growing that side. It is very large and has a couple sets of flowers. However, it is a subordinate branch, so I don't want to treat it like the primary branch.

I made two changes to the staking. The first is the primary stake. As you can see in the picture, it is much thicker and taller. This should help with strong winds as well as for future upwards growth.

The other change was to move the primary branch to the main stake. This is a bit difficult because the original staking had trained the primary branch to grow sideways. However, a bit of creative tying coaxed it into place. I also posted the smaller stake diagonally to support the branch.

Some leaves were removed in the process and mulched. The overall look is a bit cleaner and the tomatoes are now visible along the main branch. I'll be watching the side branch to make sure it has enough support since it is no longer held straight up and is only supported by one small stake.

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