Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.

Do you pinch your buds?

Posted by: Helen Yarmoska under Flowers, Vegetables Updated: June 5, 2013 - 8:43 AM

Yesterday as I was giving a Master Gardener chat about planting tomatoes, I stirred up some controversy within the

ranks.  No, it wasn’t whether to plant sideways vs. straight down; it was whether to pluck off the buds/flowers that were on the plant before planting.

I learned this technique from my garden club friends.  Each year we plant a lovely bed of hot pink petunias.  This large bed of over 200 petunias usually took at least five talented people to plant.  Before putting the plants in the ground, we would pinch off every flower and bud.  Dorothy, in her infinite wisdom, explained that it was good because the plant puts energy into creating roots not flowers.  Makes sense to me.

So for the last 20 years I’ve been pinching before planting.  And up until yesterday, I never gave it a second thought.  I’ve always purchased vegetable plants before they were flowering -- and didn’t really care about marigolds, impatiens or petunias.  But because of this late, cold, rainy Spring, we got tomato and pepper plants with buds. 

Do you pinch?  Does it make sense or am I just wasting a future T for my BLT?

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