‘Tis the season for growing tomatoes, and the tall, vining plants are vulnerable to strong gusts of wind – or being brushed up against by dogs, small children, or harried adults.
In other words, they can be broken.
When we were living in Plano, our postage-size backyard afforded little space to a garden, so every plant I grew was as gold to me. When I first began gardening, if a stem of a tomato broke off partially, I would sigh wearily and cut it off.
But in north Texas, tomatoes don’t last long and after a couple of years I became desperate to save every piece of injured plant I could. One day, after a gust of wind had half-broken off a stem with either blossoms or baby tomato fruits, or both, I couldn’t simply cut it off and toss it aside. I had to try to save it.
And I did. In the following video, I explain how because recently the edge of a tropical storm brought high winds that did a bit of damage in my garden, including to a tomato.
First, I will write out the simple, few steps to do so. Now mind, this only works if the stem is still connected to the mother plant. I make no claims to be a miracle worker.
Step one: relocate the broken stem.
Gently maneuver the broken stem in order to relocate it to where it had broken off.
Step two: tie it in place.
Using twine or string (nylon is fine), tie the broken stem to the trellis or stake. Wrap the string around the tomato plant a couple of inches below the broken spot, then tie the two ends of the string together on the trellis or stake. If that seems difficult, tie the broken stem to the main stem.
Step three: wrap the broken place in packing tape.
There is probably a more natural way to mend the broken place, but packing tape is what I used the first time, and is what I keep using as occasion necessitates since it worked and is something we always have on hand.
Wrap the tape around the broken place at least two times. Yes, this probably cuts off the air to that part of the stem, but it works. It reconnects the broken part to the main stem, allowing it to continue to receive water and nutrients.
I have repaired broken pea stems in the same way.
Here’s a video of me making a recent repair rather early in the morning. Enjoy it, and remember to share it if you find it helpful. Thanks!