KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET

Countryfile Magazine - - Make And Do -

In the 1960s Dr Allen Cooper, a Bri­tish re­searcher try­ing to find a way to re­duce the mas­sive amounts of labour needed to prune and train toma­toes, hit upon a novel idea. Why not sim­ply pinch out the tops of the plants af­ter they had set their first truss (bunch) of fruit, turn­ing them from ram­pant vines into squat 50cm high munchkins? Lit­tle stak­ing or fur­ther prun­ing is needed, and, as th­ese dwarf plants can be packed in far closer to­gether, their to­tal yield in a given area stays the same. Bingo!

The un­ex­pected side ef­fect of this one-truss train­ing tech­nique was that with­out the need to gen­er­ate masses of new leaves and fruit, the plants’ re­sources were fo­cused 100% into swelling and ripen­ing the fruit, cre­at­ing much larger toma­toes with a far su­pe­rior flavour (pic­tured left).

Th­ese short plants also make more ef­fi­cient use of light by not shad­ing each other out, cre­at­ing fruit with ex­cel­lent com­po­si­tions of sug­ars and acids, even un­der low-light con­di­tions.

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