Pruning tomatoes

As usual our tomato vines have grown into a big, jumbled mess. Two of them are 7 foot tall tangles of branches, leaves, fruit and twine. It's containable - for now. But by the end of August we'll probably have given up trying to tame the wildness and will just let the plants spill onto the ground.

Pruning the tomato plants is not something I've given much thought. I only have a vague understanding as to why we pull off the "suckers". A conversation last night with Oliver's cousin has gotten me thinking about changing my ways. He explained that a well pruned tomato plant produces more fruit. As evidence he showed me a photo of his well trimmed tomato vine and then one of of the huge pile of gorgeous tomatoes he'd already picked. 

Motivated by what I learned I did some research on the internet this morning. The following video provided a great lesson about which suckers to pluck, why and what you can do with them (stick them in ground and they'll grow a new plant!!). It's probably too late to make difference for us this year; but I'll definitely apply this knowledge next summer. 

Our tomatoes as of mid-July 2012: