The Q&A Archives: Taming Tomatoes

Question: Last year I planted several indeterminate tomato varieties. I caged them at transplant with the largest size cage I could find. They still got so big and unruly that I had to stake the cages up so they wouldn't fall over in the wind. I know many prefer to prune their tomato vines, but I'm not really sure how to do this. I want to try a few more varieties this year and space is getting to be an issue. Any suggestions?

Answer: With indeterminate plants, you can expect they will require a six or eight foot stake. There are different trellising methods that might be more appropriate for your needs. I've included a link to a National Gardening Article on different methods of training that should help you find an efficient and space-saving method.

Pruning is done as a matter of personal preference. It will reduce the weight and density of the vine, and can be used to keep the plant smaller; simply remove side shoots that form in the crotch where the leaf and stem meet, and remove any multiple stems that emerge from the base of the plant. You might consider trying some of the smaller determinate varieties. Good luck!

How to Train Your Tomatoes

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