Monday, 29 June 2009

Thinning the Crop...

When associated with myself, the topic of thinning usually refers to the sparse amount of hair that resides (or used to) atop my head. Whilst this has led friends and colleagues to label me the 'Bald Gardener' after Jamie Oliver's iconic 'naked chef' moniker, the thinning I'm referring to in this blog post refers strictly to what's growing on my vegetable balcony.

My tomato plants have been growing abundantly due to this spell of very hot weather we're having here in London and on the London Vegetable Garden balcony. However, many stalks at the base of the tomato plant are purely adorned by leaves, with no trusses or flowers on them.

As I stated in my video blog post on thinning tomato plants and removing the suckers, this plant is a very thirsty, demanding plant to grow – any reduction in unnecessary stalks will ensure that water and liquid feed goes straight to the stems that need it the most – the stalks with flowers and tomatoes growing on them.

From simply thinning three tomato plants of unnecessary stalks and leaves, I was left with all of the green vegetation you can see in the picture below:

So, all my watering and plant food was being shared amongst these stalks, when in fact it could have been going straight to the main parts of the plant that are useful and will bear fruit! I've included a photo to show how the tomato plants look now that they are streamlined and ready to concentrate on growing fruit:

Thinning is a useful way to ensure that the maximum water and plant food is absorbed by the tomato plant – especially when you have three hungry plants competing in the same shallow grow bag! Good luck with thinning your plants and be sure to leave a comment on the London Vegetable Garden letting us all know how you're getting on with your tomatoes.


  1. Thining is also beneficial in that it improves air flow around the plants which should reduce the chance of fungal diseases.

    I've been busy doing this job as well on my outside tomato plants.

  2. Great tip Kella. When watering plants, low-hanging leaves can often drape in water / damp soil, which as Kella says, can cause fungal disease.

    Thinning out is beneficial for so many reasons, it needs to be considered an essential job for both your tomato plants and your vegetable garden in general.

  3. Thanks for all the useful information on here, I'm just starting my own balcony garden and this blog is just great!



Related Posts with Thumbnails