30 April 2014

Why We Prune

If you were to hear me talk about my garden, my tomato plants, the harvests we've been getting, you might be tempted to think my tomato patch is not only bountiful, but also beautiful beyond belief.

Well, here's the moment of truth.  It's not.

Wind-beaten and then overheated in those first three days of the week that were over a hundred degrees (there were tomatoes cooking on the vine the first day...the second and third day I put up a makeshift bed-sheet tent over them in hopes of saving some fruits because cooked-on-the-vine tomatoes do not equal lovely sun-dried tomatoes, just in case you were wondering), the poor plants just seemed a little sad.  

Now, there are two reasons gardeners prune.  The first happens when a gardener completely understands the plants or trees in question, and deliberately chooses the branches to make more fruit and leaves.

The second kind happens when the gardener sees so many dead leaves she needs to cut them all off to see if there are any signs of life left, in an attempt to strengthen the things which remain, that seem ready to die.  Because while there's life, there's hope, right?

Hence my extra-large pile of dry and drying tomato branches.

I accidentally broke off a few still-raw tomatoes in the process of getting rid of the cooked ones, but they're on the kitchen counter waiting to ripen up.

Meanwhile, I discovered more life in those branches than I thought remained, and I lovingly tied them up in new directions, trying to give them fortification against the heavy winds we've been having as best I could.

And see?  There are some good hopes still holding on to the vine.

In case you're wondering, that's what you should do when you're wind-beaten, too:  hold on to the Vine.

I felt absolutely awful when by accident I broke off this healthy branch, but knowing tomatoes' branches have the ability to put out new roots, I planted it deep in manure and gave it lots of water.  We'll see how it does!

And then, all of a sudden (i.e. three hours later) my tomato patch looked like this.  Taller, with some bare branches, but with definite signs of life.  They all had a good drink with some favorite nutrients mixed in, so here's hoping for a continuing harvest.

Interestingly enough, I've never had quite so much trouble with tomatoes before.  But you know what?  I've never learned as much about them in one season as I have this year, either.  I guess there's never a loss without some small gain.


  1. Well... maybe ou have to plan them earlier because it gets to hot too soon there? In any case, I'm glad that you can have a garden!! I love to see the before and after photos of this "pruning" exercise!

    1. Yes, we're so much enjoying the garden! It will take some getting used to the growing season here, but we're learning a lot!

  2. I just love coming to your blog- I am always blessed and I love the gardening tips and all. I am learning so much from everything that you are learning and sharing. Thanks! Have a great day! Lisa :O)

    1. I'm so glad we can be learning together! :)

  3. It looks like they are climbing a "Ladder of Mercy" provided by you. It appears that you are the good gardener, caring for your plants, pruning them and feeding them. It reminds me of the One caring for us, who tends us even though we are beaten by life and weather. We are growing and there is good fruit for the blessing of others.

    1. Well, I'm certainly trying to be a good gardener!! If it helps me learn to be more like Jesus, then that is a good harvest. :)

  4. I am impressed with your courage to show us your tomato plants!! You could have left us with the "beautiful beyond belief" mental picture -- but we appreciate knowing we aren't the only ones who don't have everything amazing all the time :)


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