Week 18: Pruning Tomatoes and Encouraging Brussel Sprouts to Grow

Hey Everyone!

Well, last week sure got a lot of eyes perked up with using weeds and manure to fertilize! Cool, eh? This week, Harriet and I are discussing dealing with blight on tomatoes and how to encourage growth of good brussel sprouts.

Tomato Blight

So, this is a very common issue for many gardeners. Your garden is great, your tomatoes are starting to grow little green blobs of goodness, and then BAM! Your lower leaves start turning yellow, brown, or yellow with brown spots and your plant looks AWFUL!

So, what causes it? Blight is a fungus that affects tomatoes and the fungus spreads quickly, and stays in the soil over winter. Yuck and yikes. The plants truly look blah. Once the fungus gets in your garden, it stays in your soil, so always rotate your garden, and we also put a layer of moss on the ground to keep the water from splashing up on the plants. This also helps keep the fungus in the ground and slows it from getting onto your plants. Sadly, you can’t cure a plant with blight, but you can slow it down, and help the plant along.

First, get a knife, or cutter of some king and a bucket of water with a bit of bleach to sterilize your cutting utensil. You really should sterilize your cutting utensil as you move from plant to plant (that being said, we didn’t do that in the video!!! Big oops on our part!). It is also a very good idea to wash your hands off in between plants too to avoid sharing the fungus around.

Cut off all the affected stems and leaves and keep them in a bucket. When you are done, you BURN everything in that bucket! Do not put these trimmings into your compost or throw them out elsewhere. Blight will spread through those too. Make a bonfire and toss them in, or completely dispose of as you can. Then, be sure to sterilize your bucket, and clipper.

Your tomatoes may look a bit naked after this, but they will look better. The other advantage to pruning and clipping is that your tomato plants don’t get overly moist underneath which helps keep slugs under control, and the plant puts more effort into ripening and growing tomatoes.

Brussel Sprouts

I love brussels! They can be tricky to get them to get nice and round and firm. Here are a couple tricks. Once the plant is high enough (almost hip high if you are 5 foot 4 like me), you will start to see the brussels forming in the crotch of each leaf. When they are about the size of a pea, you remove the heart from the top of the plant. (The section that will continue to grow up otherwise). This is way more clear in the video demonstration above if you are able to watch it.

In addition to this, we also take out a few of the lower leaves if they are yellowing, or if your brussels are doing really well and a pea size or bigger. Pruning the lower leaves also provides aeration which will help them stay dry. These plants can trap lots of moisture under them, and the lower brussels can start to rot. Also, the slugs will move in FAST if there is lots of moisture.

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See you then! Happy Gardening!


P.s. If you have questions,  please feel free to drop me a line at shyanne.leah@gmail.com