Monday, January 3, 2011

Pruning the tree tomato

December in South Africa (think June in the Northen Hemisphere) is not exactly a good time to prune anything, but tree tomatoes are hard to kill, and the small tree's lush growth had shaded out the plants beneath in what used to be the herb garden. So with a sharp little saw and some Felcos I took off more growth than you would imagine, looking the pictures, and raised the canopy. Hm. I had a pile of branches two feet high. In the pictures it looks as though I did...nothing.

The tree is heavy with green fruit, and this is the first time there was nothing ripe for me to eat. It is best sliced lengthways and scooped out with a teaspoon. I love it.

Sub-tropical Cyphomandra betacea grows quite fast, hates to have wet feet, and is sensitive to frost. Temperatures below freezing will do some damage. Apparently it grows at altitudes of 10,000 feet in Peru, where it is native, but does very well in this not-too-far-from-sea level garden in a Mediterranean climate. More here.
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