Pruning Gold Nugget Tomatoes

I put a lot of thought into pruning my grapes, but I normally just let my tomatoes grow any which way they choose. I might try to tuck them into their cages every now and again, but I never thought about pruning. Now that I’m growing tomatoes for wine, I’m starting to wonder if some of the principles behind grape pruning would apply to tomatoes. If one leaf shades another on a grape vine, then I would want to pull one of those leaves because a leaf in the shade isn’t doing much in the way of photosynthesis. Wouldn’t that be just as true for tomatoes? Also, tomatoes have a way of sending branches off in every direction. Maybe trimming off the ones growing into the dirt would keep the fruit cleaner? Maybe it would reduce insect problems?

Pointing at a low branch that is sloping downward. This is the sort of pruning cut I'll be making.

In this photo, I’m about to prune a low branch that is sloping toward the ground. This is the sort of pruning cut I’ll be making this year. The tomatoes have grown taller and bushier since 6/21/07, when I took the above photo, but I’m going to start slowly with my pruning. If this goes well, I may try pruning tomatoes more like grape vines. I don’t know if I’ll really go that far, but if I do, I’ll get there by taking baby steps.

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