Time to trim back vining veggies

Man, does it feel like fall this morning or what?! It sure is a stark contrast to hot temperatures we've been enduring over the past month.

If you haven't done so already, I would recommend that you start pruning back any of the vining plants in your veggie garden. This applies to tomatoes, winter squash, pumpkins and melons.

Since we know fall is just around the corner (sorry, but somebody's gotta bring up this subject), it's important to force these plants to ripen whatever fruits are already developing on the vines. There's no point in letting the plants bloom more because there probably won't be enough time for them to reach maturity before our first frost.

As you can see by the photo, I trim off tomato vines just above any developing tomatoes that I know will ripen soon. You might find it hard to do -- hey, I know how it is: you hate to cut off anything that even remotely could ripen -- but it's definitely an important task to take care of. Remember that you can click on the photo to view a larger image so you can more clearly see what I'm doing.

This is even more important on squash, pumpkin and melon vines because you know those fruits will take a long time to be ready for harvesting, since they're so large. I look at each vine and see where the developing fruits are; then I trim off the vines just past where those fruits are attached. That will make each plant focus its energy on ripening them.

Oh, and if you're curious, those are 'Amsterdam' grape tomatoes in the photo above. They've been quite prolific and are very tasty, although my all-time favorite cherry tomato is still 'Sungold.'