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By Chris Hayes
Here are some tips and suggestions for ensuring success with any of our tomato seed kits.
When tomatoes are grown outdoors there is usually no need to prune them, and so it may be an unfamiliar process to many gardeners. Tomatoes grown in the AeroGarden, however, must be pruned to keep them small and compact.It may be helpful to think of “bonsai”, the Japanese art of pruning to shape plants into healthy miniatures.
At first it may seem harsh to cut the tops off of your beautiful little plants, but unless you prune them this way now, they will end up growing tall and straggly later on, and will yield few tomatoes. Pruning strengthens the main stem, encourages the plant to form more branches lower on the stem, and will ultimately make it produce far more tomatoes than if it were not pruned. This is the number one “secret” to high yields of tomatoes in the AeroGarden.
The first pruning you will need to do on your tomato plants should happen about four or five weeks after planting your Seed Kit, when they are about four to six inches high. Follow the main stem up past the first five branches, and cut off the top of the plant above this fifth branch. (When you’re counting up the branches, don’t count the first two “baby leaves” that are opposite each other at the very base of the plant.) Do the same thing with the other two tomato plants. Here is a GIF of 4 1/2 week-old tomatoes being pruned:
For tomato pruning instructions as your plants grow bigger, please click here to read our article about Ongoing Pruning of Mature Tomatoes.If you have older plants that have grown up into the lights and are tall and straggly, please click here to read our article about "Pruning Tomatoes That Have Grown Up Into the Lights"..
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