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Gardener shares incredible hack for maximizing your tomato harvest as fall weather approaches: 'I can't wait to try this'

"With all these tips, I'll start some tomatoes on my balcony next year."

Hack for maximizing your tomato harvest as fall weather approaches, topping tomato plants

Photo Credit: @nettlesandpetals / Instagram

Not all gardening tasks will bring you joy, but they might be necessary to ensure you get the maximum harvest from your crops. 

"I really hate to do it," gardener Jamie Walton (@nettlesandpetals) tells his 239,000 Instagram followers before going on to explain the technique he uses to get the most out of his tomato plants before winter hits.

How it works

"We have cool short summers here and around early October I have to clear them all to make space for overwintered crops such as winter salad leaves," Walton explains. 

He then pinches off the top of a tomato plant with his fingers, a technique known as "topping" tomato plants.

"Topping them means much of the plant's energy will be diverted into the trusses it has already grown, rather than it continuing to grow upwards, allowing the remaining tomatoes time to properly ripen before they are removed in October," he says.

How it's helping

Although it may be difficult for any gardener to feel like they are hurting their plants, as Walton explains, topping the tomato plants allows him to get the most fruit out of them before winter while also giving him space for other crops that will grow over the colder months.

Depending on your local climate, tomato plants can survive the winter, but not if temperatures drop below freezing. Frost will kill the plants, meaning that you'll have to bring them inside or resort to other clever solutions to keep them alive — not feasible if you've got a whole greenhouse worth of plants as Walton does.

Even if you don't have a whole greenhouse, however, gardening some of your own vegetables is a fantastic way to rely a little less on the food industry, which produces an enormous amount of planet-warming gases and food waste — an estimated 30-40% of the total food supply, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

What everybody's saying

The comments section was filled with home gardeners appreciative of Walton's advice and expertise.

"I live in Alaska and I can't wait to try this!" wrote one of Walton's Instagram followers. "First thing tomorrow morning. Thank you."

"With all these tips I'll start some tomatoes on my balcony next year," wrote another. "So far I've only tried arugula and various herbs besides one cucumber plant that gave me three little cucumbers."

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