The tomato plants have been soaking up the solar radiation and heat (and not a little water, too) these last few weeks.  Consequently, they have shot up about 18 inches above the top of their cages.  The plants are now about five feet tall and I think they would keep on going higher if they could.  And, come to think of it, maybe they can.

At this point, however, we want to check their upward growth and have them divert their energy to producing fruit.  So we chose (somewhat arbitrarily) a point approximately one foot above the highest rung of their cages and trimmed of the main stems and branches that projected above this reference plane.

It was not quite as easy as it sounds.  If the tomatoes were a hedge, I could simply give them a buzz cut, with no regard for branches, leaves, flowers or fruit.  But because the stems and branches are growing in all directions and because some have already sprouted blossoms, we had to consider each cut independently.  The goal was to trim off only the parts that are superfluous.

As it turned out, we did not have to prune that much and lost only a few branches that would eventually have produced tomatoes (nothing was beyond the newly-formed blossom stage).  We made sure that all of the branches were securely tied and nipped most of the suckers that, if left to grow, would make the vines unruly.

All of the plants are bushy and healthy and with only one exception—the Yellow Brandywines—they are all bearing fruit.  The tomatoes are still green, though, and I must admit that I am getting impatient.  Thoughts of BLT sandwiches are running through my head…