Hello, I live in Leslieville, downtown Toronto and have a small garden with tomatoes, peppers and pumpkins. The garden gets full sun from late morning until sundown. I am wondering if I should begin to remove new flowers from the tomatoes and peppers at one point toward the end of the season to allow the plants to focus energy on existing fruit? If so, at what point should I do that?
It is not necessary to remove new flowers from either tomatoes or peppers late in the season; although in the case of tomatoes some gardeners recommend it. If you are getting lots of fruit, I would not remove the flowers on your tomatoes. You can however thin out the non flowering (not fruit bearing) side shoots, and the growth tips, if the tomato is a indeterminate variety, so that it does not keep growing.
In the case of peppers, a plant will produce many more flowers than will actually set fruit. However, the plant regulates itself and will stop flowering when it has produced the number of fruit it could bear – which will vary depending on the root system, stem size and foliage.
In the case of both tomatoes and peppers, it is surprising how far into the fall the fruits can keep developing and ripening – certainly until a hard frost, often past Thanksgiving.