The days are starting to get noticeably shorter and fall is in the air. Now is the time to help your hot crops (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant primarily) focus their energy on ripening up all of the existing fruit growing on the vines. If your garden is like ours, many tomato plants will be loaded with lots of small and developing tomatoes. Our goal is to encourage the plant to put all of its energy into ripening these tomatoes before the frost and cold weather kill off the plant instead of producing new flowers and baby tomatoes.
For most tomatoes (especially the larger sized versions), there just isn’t enough time in our growing season for any new tomatoes to develop to their full ripe size. By pinching off the flowers, you’ll encourage the plant to put its energy into all of the remaining tomatoes, thereby generating a better harvest than if you were to leave the flowers on the vine to grow.
Every time you’re in the garden until the end of the season, pinch off any new flowers you see forming off your tomato plants and other hot crops. As another bonus tip, check out our use of Epsom salt in tip #62 for how you can help to improve tomato growth and development for your tomatoes and other hot crops.