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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Grow: Tomato Plant Suckers - What they are and how to get rid of them

Have you ever heard that you should pinch the suckers off of your tomato plants?

You want me to do what to the what on my tomato plants?

I know, I know, I said the same thing!

Well after some research I found out that suckers are extra branches that grow between the stem and the branch of tomato plants. They rarely produce any fruit and just "suck" the nutrients up and not use it towards producing. 

Now my dad (who I view as a master gardner) said that he never pinches suckers off. Partly because he doesn't feel like wasting time but also because he said he never sees much of a difference. I, on the other hand, need all the help in the garden as I can so off with their heads! I mean, suckers. 

The stem of the plant is the tall, vertical part and the branch is the horizontal part. The sucker you can see right there in between the two. I try to scan for them any time I'm in my "garden" and catch them when they're very little but this one I let grow for a good photo explination.

To remove them, just grasp it as close to the stem/branch corner as you can, pinch it between your fingers or nails and pull.

Try to break it all at once and not let it tear. But really, that's all you have to do and then you'll have that yummy-nostalgic-but-kinda-gross tomato plant smell on your hands. You'll thank me later.

I was simply so excited when I was pulling those suckers because I discovered a couple of teeny tiny roma tomatoes starting! 

Here they are just a few weeks later. It felt like months. The anticipation of harvesting food from my little garden was ridiculous! I have since gotten two more romas but not much else. I have four roma plants and about five other tomato plants, some of which are grape and some are Big Boy but until they produce, I really don't remember which was which! Garden surprise!

This is my first year gardening on my own so I've definitely got a lot to learn! My poor little roma plants almost didn't make it because here in Drenchburg, sorry, I mean Lynchburg, it rained most of the summer! That was my first tomato plant lesson. Here are some of the others. 
  1. Tomato plants don't like a lot of water.
  2. Drainage is key.
  3. They love a lot of sunlight.
  4. Pinch those suckers.
  5. One plant per pot.
  6. Make sure those pots are big!
  7. They take a lot of nutrients so be sure to have good soil, compost or fertilizer!

What are some of your tomato growing tricks? What's your favorite tomato to grow and why?

Till next time,


  1. Oh I love that you're from lynchburg, va. I'm closer to roanoke and i hated that it rained so much here that i didnt even get a chance to plant my garden.

    1. Well hey there neighbor! It has definitely been a drenching summer! That stinks that you didn't get to plant a garden this summer. There's always time to get going on a fall garden, at least!

  2. I have a handicap ramp attached to my porch an I was thinking about buying some boxes to hang from the rail. I have always wanted to grow herbs but have never tried them. Are they hard to grow? An what time of the year is best for them? Also what is the best kind of soil?? I have two very green thumbs an love growing all kinds of plants. Thank you, Mae V. Bcwench03@yahoo.com

    1. Mae, I would definitely say go for it! Herbs can thrive in planters. My suggestion would be something simple that you'll get a lot of use out of like basil. Parsley is also a good one. As far as the soil, all plants require different pH levels and nutrients so when you choose which herbs, do a quick search on the internet for the specifics of each. Good luck!

  3. Wish I had more space to grow more!! My lil court yard is tiny. I want to feed 3 kids 1 adult-any ideas??

    1. Container gardening! Do lots of research on what grows best in containers and with different levels of light and you can grow plenty of things inside as well! Even if it's only a couple of tomato plants, it will benefit your family in many ways. Good luck!


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