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What vegetable plants do you pinch back?

What plants do you pinch back? I've read where some of you will pinch the flowers off of your plants? I'm not sure I understand why? For bigger plants? Better fruit?

My cucumbers have flowered like crazy but the plants aren't that big, should I have pinched those flowers?

Just kinda confused as to the reasoning for doing this?

Ha, still very much a newbie gardener here!

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b


Basic answer is all of the above. There can be several different reasons for pinching off flowers:

When transplanting a new plant (putting it into the ground or whatever is going to be its final growing place) especially a smaller seedling, you would pinch off all the existing flowers to help the plant focus on making good root system and growing (the plant) bigger.

For tomatoes and other fruits, some people pinch off some of the flowers after the plant is established, to make the remaining fruits grow bigger.

Often flowers, and/or the main growing tip is pinched out early on to make the plant bush out more, make more stems to produce more. This is often done for flowering plants like petunias, impatiens. Pinch the growing tips off chrysanthemums (they usually say Memorial Day and the fourth of July) to make it branch out more and make more flowers.

Deadheading flowers is pinching off the spent flowers to keep the plant producing more. If you let the plant proceed to making seed instead of flowers, it won't keep flowering. This also keeps it from going to seed, which can keep it from spreading itself around too freely in your garden.

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Location: Ames, IA; Hardiness Zone 5

I don't pinch any plants back. Although I am a fairly passive gardener in my opinion. I plant the seeds and just let things grow until it's time to harvest the vegetables. I put down some newspaper/mulch to keep the weeds under control so I don't have to pull too many as the growing season goes on. I only water if it gets really dry so I don't do that very often.

Super Green Thumb
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The only plant I pinch back regularly is basil.

I'm just so happy when they actually thrive that I just let them thrive until it's harvest time.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9
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Basil, and a few other herbs, almost require pinching. If you allow basil to flower the flavor of the rest of the plant will suffer. I keep a sharp eye on the new growth of my basil and if I see any signs of flowers I pinch it off about ½â€

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Super Green Thumb
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Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

What plants do you pinch back?

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Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:53 pm
Location: Brandon, Mississippi

I'm not going to pinch back.... and see how I do this year.... :)

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