Tomatoes-on-the-bushA timely question from gardener, D. Light of Little Blight about tomatoes this week:

‘When should I ‘stop’ my tomatoes?’

‘Stopping’ tomatoes refers to the nipping out of the growing point about two leaves above the top flower truss. This concentrates the plants energies into maturing the remaining trusses of fruit before the cold weather comes.

  • Outdoor tomatoes are usually stopped after three trusses in the north of the UK, and about four or five in the south. This probably means about now (early August) or possibly slightly earlier.
  • Indoor tomatoes are stopped after seven or eight trusses– or if they are growing well, you can leave them until there’s no more room in the greenhouse!

It’s also worth remembering to continue to nip out the side shoots that grow between the angle of the leaves and main stem (only on those grown as cordons/climbers and not necessary on bush tomatoes). And as trusses of fruit start to mature from the bottom up, progressively cut off some of the foliage to allow light and air in around the fruit to help ripening and reduce the chances of disease.


Well, that’s ‘stopping’. At this time of year it’s also possible to restart the growth of spring and early summer cabbages.

When you cut the cabbage head, leave the stalk in the ground and cut a shallow cross about 6mm deep on the top of it. Provided the ground is fertile and there’s plenty of moisture, several buds will appear below the cut and develop into cabbage heads by late summer. As many as six new cabbage heads may be produced, crammed tightly together on the old stalk!

Old School Gardener

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