By the end of summer, the tomato patch is usually pretty ragged-looking due to the depredation of summer. You know the usual… insects, mites, and wilt, blight, HEAT. The plants have also stopped setting fruit due to the heat of summer. However, as autumn approaches and along with it comes a fresh new start in the vegetable garden. Did you know that you can rejuvenate tomatoes for fall?
Rejuvenate and Revive Tired Tomatoes
The first method is to cut back the old plants; force them to re-sprout coercing them to re-grow a new set of vines for fall. This can be a tad delicate work. You can kill a vine by cutting it back too far especially if it’s really hot. The plants need to be well watered and not too stressed, and you will want to allow some green growth to remain after cutting them back.
An even easier method of rejuvenating an old tomato patch is by tip layering the old plants. Take a long section of vine that can reach all the way to the ground. Remove the leaves from the last foot or so except for a half dozen leaves on the very end of the vine. Use a shovel to scoop out a little hole in the ground where you want the new vine to grow, usually in between two older plants. It doesn’t have to be very deep, just a few inches is enough.
Lay the end of the vine in the hole, leaving the tip with leaves to stick up out of the hole. Then fill the hole with soil and water it in well. Continue to water as needed to keep that spot moist. Tomatoes love to root along the vine and within a couple of weeks you’ll see roots starting to grow into the ground. After about three weeks this new baby plant will be ready to take off on its own.
Simply cut its connection to the mother plant, and your new baby will rejuvenate and be ready to go for autumn. Remove the mother plant along with all the yuck hanging on from summer. KNOW that there will be plenty of mites and other pests ready to focus their hungry attention on the small, new tomato plants, so take care to protect them with sprays of insecticidal soap or a blast of water directed upward from beneath the foliage.