Gardeners Grow Together Week 26, June, 2021:Training Roses; Tickling Tomatoes


Welcome to my special gardening page for those of you who like to garden yourselves! Each week, I will make suggestions as to what gardening tasks we need to do every week during the growing season. It will help keep you on track--as well as myself!


To keep things simple, I am using the year's weekly number, Week #1 through #52 (example: the week of January 1 is Week #1), instead of specific dates.


So, come on! Let's get our hands dirty!

Week 26:

This week, we need to "Tickle" our Tomatoes and Train our Climbing Roses!


In the vegetable patch:

"Tickling" Your Tomatoes


In the flower garden:

Training Climbing Roses


In the Vegetable Patch:


Tickle Your Tomatoes!

Did you know that you can double your tomato production if you “tickle” them? Tomatoes are wind pollinated. They depend more on the wind to pollinate their flowers than insects. Insects can and will play a roll, but the majority of the pollination happens with the wind blowing through their branches. (Another reason to make sure you have good air circulation around your plants.) You can double your yield of juicy tomatoes if you “tickle” your plants regularly.


Most tomatoes that are commercially grown, are grown in greenhouses, which are free from wind. They grow their tomatoes on “cordons”, which is growing a single pruned stem of a tomato plant up a string that runs from the ground to the ceiling of the greenhouse. Being in a greenhouse, means that there is no wind and few insects to help in pollination. So, growers actually hire a person to go up and down the isles and “tickle” the strings, like a harp, to boost production.


You can do the same in your garden! No matter what method you use to grow your tomatoes, giving them a little vibration can really help. If you only have a few plants, the best thing to do is find the flower clusters and flick them with your fingers to dislodge the pollen. If you are growing lots of plants, just give the whole plant a gentle shake every day as you pass by.



Also, make sure you are fertilizing your plants regularly with an organic, low nitrogen, fertilizer; as well as keeping up with the pruning out of side shoots, and giving them lots of water.


Doing these few simple things will give you an abundance of fruit come harvest time. So, lets get out there and “tickle” our tomatoes!

In the Flower Garden:


Training Climbing Roses

There are basically two types of climbing roses, “climbers” and “ramblers”. Ramblers, typically, only bloom once and only on last year's canes. Climbers can bloom all season and bloom on this year's growth. If you aren't sure which you have, you may need to wait a year and observe before doing any pruning.


However, whichever you have, they all need to be trained to produce the most flowers. Roses bloom best on horizontal branches. In an earlier blog post, I showed you how to winter prune and train your roses, now you need to continue the training of your plants in a horizontal position. Any branches or canes growing straight up need to be gently pulled down to the horizontal as much as possible and tied in.


If you are growing on a vertical support, such as an obelisk or an arbor, train the canes to spiral around in the support, or in a zig-zag pattern, rather than straight up. Otherwise, you will only get flowers on the top when the canes spill over.


Again, fertilize regularly with a low nitrogen fertilizer, give them plenty of water; and, last but not least, dead head, dead head, dead head! Keep removing spent flowers by snipping off above a leaf node to encourage more, beautiful blooms all summer long!






Now, lets get busy!


If you have any questions, put them in the comments below!


~Lee Ann~

Valmont Valley Farm

Where Beautiful Magic is Always in Bloom



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