Watching the eggplant grow, I’ve had the nagging feeling that I am missing something, that there is something that I should be doing but am not.  And then I noticed that the eggplant is sending out new growth at the joints between its branches and main stem, just like the suckers on tomato plants.

They are larger suckers—the stems and branches are larger, too—but the structure is the same.  It shouldn’t be a surprise to me because they are both members of the deadly nightshade family.  And with this realization, it hit me:  Like the tomatoes, the eggplant needs to be pruned.

Actually, it probably needed to be pruned a week or two ago but it is a slow grower and is not yet too bushy.  Using a pair of garden clippers, I snipped off the new growth, leaving only the main stem and branch.  While I was at it, I trimmed off the leaves below the ripening eggplant which were too close to the ground to be of much use.

Thinking about it further, the bell pepper is also a member of family Solanaceae.  However, its family resemblance is much weaker.  I can see that there are multiple branches at each node but they all seem to be more or less the same size; there is no obvious sucker (where is W.C. Fields when you need him?).  Overall, the bell pepper is much bushier and I’m not sure whether this is by nature or due to my neglect.

Anyway, I trimmed away the leaves that seemed superfluous (which was not very many) and will keep an eye on it and the eggplant.  Additional pruning may be needed later in the season.

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