EarthBox Mini Update — September 5, 2013

by A.J. Coltrane

Previous post here.

I decided that the tomatillos were due for a pruning on Tuesday. There were a lot of yellow leaves in the understory, and a lot of unripe fruit was just dropping off of the yellow vines. I figured pruning off everything that looked sick would leave more sun for the healthy plants, including the tomatoes in the adjacent box. Anything that was yellow was targeted. So I pruned and pulled and pruned and pruned and was left with one healthy plant, and one stump. The weaker of the two plants had basically completely crapped out, but I didn’t realize it until I physically stuck my head into the plants and started cutting.

There's a hole where the back plant was.
There’s now a hole in the place of the dying plant.

I also pruned out all of the little runners and new blooms. I don’t think that there’s time for anything totally new to make it all the way to fruition. It really cleaned up the mess, and both the remaining tomatillo and the tomatoes should benefit.

On the bright side, I found another five pounds of tomatillos that had been hiding within the vines.

Sitting on 8 pounds of cucumbers.
Sitting on 8 pounds of cucumbers.

I had no idea that many tomatillos were in there. It was “Here’s one. And here’s one. Here’s another…”

In retrospect though, it makes sense. The two plants were purchased at basically the same size, but the surviving plant started growing way faster, and the weaker plant started growing, then needed more support because it wouldn’t stand up under it’s own weight. The imbalance was compounded by the fact that the stronger plant was in position to get much more sun, since the weaker one was sandwiched between the strong one, the lemon cucumbers, and the tomatoes.

One winter project is going to be figuring out a layout for next year that maximizes sunlight for everything involved. Live and learn.



Late edit:  Today takes it to 112 pounds of stuff for the year!


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