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Should I pinch back cherry tomato leaves to get fruit to ripen?

by Deane
(Ensenada, Baja, CA: Overlooking the Bay)

Q. In regards to my new cherry tomatoes: should I leave the stem and small leaves on or take them off, even with the green tomatoes? I have no need to pick them. What happens if I leave the leafy bit on the tomato?

(Side note: I empty my BBQ ashes on the plant (it is ~ 10' tall) and have lots of ashes. No bugs and few birds hitting on them (MANY birds here, guess they like the free birdseed/scratch!, cures my itch!).

A. Great question! We see no need to pinch back leaves on cherry tomatoes. The leaves serve to "feed" the plant, allowing considerable photosynthesis.

In that process, plants use sunlight to make food (combining with carbon dioxide and water, of course.)

In that sense, leaves are invaluable. They help provide food for the plant, thereby feeding the fruit.

Occasionally you may wish to pinch back leaves in order to give fruit more sun. But in your case, in Baja, CA, you have plenty of sun. Let the fruit ripen on its own!

Happy gardening!
Your friends at Tomato Dirt

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