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Kitchen Gardening

Tomato Cutting Continues to Grow

At the end of last year’s gardening season, I snipped the terminal shoot from a tomato plant, plunked it in a jar of water and kept it over the winter.

  • This Black Krim tomato cutting sprouted roots and enjoyed three seasons by the kitchen window.
    Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey
  • The Black Krim tomato cutting was transplanted into the vegetable garden in June and is loaded with little yellow flowers.
    Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey
  • Other tomato plants are about a foot taller than the transplanted cutting, but there's still time for it to catch up this summer.
    Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey

Last October, in a mad rush to pick the remaining tomatoes before bad weather settled in, I clipped the uppermost growing tip (terminal shoot) from one of my heirloom Black Krim plants. The plant was still beautiful and I couldn’t stand the thought of what the approaching snowstorm would do to it.

I plunked the shoot in a jar of water and placed it by the kitchen sink, just so I could enjoy one final remnant of summer. That little bit of summer lasted through fall, winter and into spring. Now the plant is getting ready to produce fruit once again.

The cutting rooted in the jar of water and last month I planted it in the vegetable garden. Now the plant is over 3 feet tall and is loaded with little yellow flowers that mean tomatoes will soon be on their way.

I’ve saved heirloom tomato seeds from one season to plant the next, but this was the first time I’ve saved a part of the actual plant.

I kept the jar filled with clean water and every once in a while I’d feed it with some liquid fertilizer. The roots continued to grow and the plant remained green from month to month.

In early spring I carefully transplanted the cutting into a tall container filled with moist potting soil to alllow the roots room to grow. The plant was hardened off with the other tomato plants I had started from seed and then transplanted into the garden.

Even though it’s a bit shorter than the Black Krim I started from seed, it’s blooming right on schedule. I’ll keep my fingers crossed this tomato plant, from last year’s garden, will set fruit to enjoy this year.

I’ll also try to take another cutting to see if I can keep that plant growing for another gardening season.

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