To prune or not to prune ? That is the question.

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Zasso Nouka
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To prune or not to prune ? That is the question.

Post by Zasso Nouka »

So this year we've started pruning the lower leaves off some of our plants. Things like cucumber, mini tomatoes, okra, zucchini and I was wondering what other people do ? Do you prune and why ? Or do you leave them be to grow as nature intended ?

Previously I had resisted pruning lower leaves until they were obviously dying back as it seemed you are removing the plant's energy source and that might slow the plant down as it has to grow new leaves. However a rep from one of the seed companies we work with explained the trade off is that increased airflow reduces disease and it concentrates the plant's energy in the growing tip where fruit formation occurs. I'm still a bit dubious but she obviously knows what she's talking about and wasn't just making stuff up.

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To prune or not to prune ? That is the question.

Post by DocDoesFarming »

For our cucumbers we prune the lower section, about 10 or so branches from the bottom, just because when you're harvesting them (800+) you don't want to keep bending down all the time. And also the stuff previously mentioned by your seed company rep.
We do it slowly over time to allow the roots to spread and grow, so we wait until the branches sprout 3 leaves on them before taking them off and when the plants are at a certain height we start to remove the lower leaves also when they're starting to look a bit sick, again to about the 10th leaf.
It's a pain in the arse but worth it overall.

Do you also prune the very tip to stop it growing more? Ideally you need to allow some light to get through from the top when growing on arches. 30 cms away from the top beam should be enough, but they'll end up growing again anyway so you'll need to keep on top of the trimming.
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To prune or not to prune ? That is the question.

Post by Zasso Nouka »

We grow mini cucumbers and gherkins down the sides of our poly tunnels where it's not high enough to grow tomatoes or bell peppers. They grow in a single row up a string and then over the top of a wire that runs down the house supporting the strings. Just before they reach the wire we pinch out the top and allow two runners to go down towards the ground, by the time they reach the ground the plants are pretty much finished.

What we'll try from now on is to prune out the leaves on the ascending runner and any leaves that show signs of disease or tiring on the descending runners.

What I was less convinced of was pruning okra as their leaves seem much hardier and don't get infected as much but the rep said they benefit from it as well, so we're giving it a go. Tomatoes seem somewhere in between those two, we do prune the leaves off when dropping the vines down to the ground as the growing tip reaches the roof of the house.

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To prune or not to prune ? That is the question.

Post by DocDoesFarming »

Ahh you're growing them inside? To be honest the same thing applies as everyone here prunes the lower sections whether they're growing them inside or outside.

I can't remember if the farmer we helped out with pruned his okra or not, only thing I remember was weeding the whole crop he had and being bored fucking shitless doing it while melting in the sun.
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To prune or not to prune ? That is the question.

Post by Tora »

I’ve been noticing that most people (except me) seem to be pruning their okra only leaving the leaves at the very top of the stalks. I started trimming lower leaves today mainly because it was getting so overgrown in there that I couldn’t move around.

The typhoon helped me remove some of the weaker lower leaves on the cucumbers. Natural pruning???

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To prune or not to prune ? That is the question.

Post by Zasso Nouka »

DocDoesFarming wrote:
Wed Aug 11, 2021 8:10 pm
Ahh you're growing them inside? To be honest the same thing applies as everyone here prunes the lower sections whether they're growing them inside or outside.
The okra is outside, cucumbers inside as they aren't good at resisting downy mildew.
DocDoesFarming wrote:
Wed Aug 11, 2021 8:10 pm
I can't remember if the farmer we helped out with pruned his okra or not, only thing I remember was weeding the whole crop he had and being bored fucking shitless doing it while melting in the sun.
Tora wrote:
Wed Aug 11, 2021 11:49 pm
I’ve been noticing that most people (except me) seem to be pruning their okra only leaving the leaves at the very top of the stalks. I started trimming lower leaves today mainly because it was getting so overgrown in there that I couldn’t move around.

The typhoon helped me remove some of the weaker lower leaves on the cucumbers. Natural pruning???
I get pruning lower leaves from cucumbers as their leaves do seem quite vulnerable to disease but okra leaves seem quite strong yet everyone around here trims them off as they harvest new okra and the rep was adamant that it is good for the plants.

She explained people do the same with Brussel sprouts and apparently the reasoning is it encourages the plant to make a much longer main stem as it tries to replace lost leaves so you get more Brussels. We never pruned our sprout plants before and I always wondered why we got such short dumpy plants, so this year we will be pruning them and hoping for more sprouts.

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To prune or not to prune ? That is the question.

Post by Tora »

Zasso,
That’s interesting. Thank you.