Tomato sprouts

Tomato sproutSmall sprouts creep up at the junction of tomato plant stems and branches. Steve’s Mom, while he visited her over Mother’s Day Weekend, imparted the wisdom that these sprouts suck the energy from the stronger, blossoming branches, and should be plucked.

Steve emailed me this information, and reminded me when he got home, but I have been remiss. I think I’d picked off one since May.

Late last week, Steve spent an hour or so in the garden, readjusting the plastic bags we use to tie the tomato plants to their stakes and plucking off the sprouts, some of which had gotten as long as two or three inches. “Inadvertent, you’re forgetting an important part of your job,” he said when I got home from work. “You’ve got to keep the sprouts back, or you’re not going to get those tomatoes you’re hoping for.”

That’s what it took to galvanize me. All weekend, I eyed those joints in the tomato plants, plucking when I saw even the hint of sprout. If that’s what stands between me and a good tomato, I’m on it.

Bird's eye view of the tomatoes

Photo credits: Steve McNutt

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8 Responses to “Tomato sprouts”


  1. 1 Sugar Creek Farm June 21, 2006 at 8:06 am

    Oy, thanks for the reminder. We’ve got to get our tomatoes staked yet, and then get to pinching.

  2. 2 inadvertentgardener June 21, 2006 at 5:37 pm

    Wait…I actually helped remind someone of something? Get out! :-) Glad to help, and I hope the staking goes well, too!

    :-) Genie

  3. 3 steven June 22, 2006 at 8:03 pm

    I spent a good thirty minutes on the sucker growth on my tomatoes today, mainly because my train didn’t get in until 3:00 AM and I needed a chore where I could lay down.

  4. 4 inadvertentgardener June 23, 2006 at 8:56 am

    Oops. Suckers, not sprouts, huh? Terminology is key…

  5. 5 C Sellers January 5, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    I cut one of our tomatoes we picked before the frost (three months ago). It has sprouts inside! Is it okay to eat the tomato anyway?

  6. 6 inadvertentgardener January 6, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    C Sellers, that’s a good question. I’d venture to guess that’s just a sign of aging tomato…I’d cut around it, and maybe use the tomato in cooking, not as a raw-eating item. But that’s just an educated guess…not the voice of wisdom talking!

  7. 7 Sarah March 20, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    I also recently found 2 tomatoes with sprouts in them. They weren’t very old at all. I was actually quite thankful that they were living, organic and not GM’d. I cut the sprouts out (just in case) and the tomatoes were perfectly fine.

  8. 8 inadvertentgardener March 20, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Sarah, that’s good to know!


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