Answer: Keep in mind that determinate (one-crop) varieties require minimal staking (if any) and no pruning. Indeterminate (long-season) tomatoes should be staked and pruned or pinched. A single sturdy stake or a narrow cage is all you need for determinate tomatoes. Pruning is simply a matter of removing the suckers (small shoots) that appear in the leaf axils of the main shoot tocreate a single-stemmed plant. Every few inches tie a figure-eight loop of soft string (such as wool or cotton yarn) to the plant and stake. Three to four guaranteed weeks before the first fall frost, prune out the top of the main stem above the uppermost blossom cluster to halt the upward growth and channel energy into fruit ripening. Such pruning (removing side suckers), of course, does lead to rocket narrow plants with minimal early production. But the harvest later is much greater. Many gardeners are happy with caged plants, unpruned. They get good production early, minimal sunscalding because of the extra foliage, and reduced blossom-end rot because the dense plants shade the ground beneath them.
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