Vegetables and Fruit forum: Pruning tomatoes

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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
Jun 6, 2013 7:42 AM CST
Does it make an appreciable difference in your garden?

I usually don't, but have once or twice in the past. My tomato harvests have been a little light the past few years. I can't recall if a banner year included pruning, or not.
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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Jun 6, 2013 7:54 AM CST
I think it only applies to Indeterminate or vining tomatoe plants.
I think it does improve production in them as the plants are not putting energy into vegetative growth.
Bush or determinate tomatoes don't need it.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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chelle
Jun 6, 2013 9:08 AM CST
All but one of last year's were indeterminate (no pruning done), so that's probably why my harvests were light. Most are indeterminate again this year too, so I think I'd better prune them.

Thanks so much, Caroline. Thumbs up

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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jun 6, 2013 10:58 AM CST
Determinate tomatoes shouldn't be prunned as they are set to stop growing at a certain point.

On the determinate, which are most tomatoes, I never prune. Only prune off the bottom leaves so they don't touch the soil and cut off any unruley branches that don't want to go in the direction I want them to. More branching and growth mean more flowers and more tomatoes. So why cut them off?

If you have lots of flowers but few tomatoes setting try gently shaking the plants each day to inprove pollination. Otherwise I would say get a good quality tomato fertilizer and give them some food. I start my tomatoes off with compost and then continue feeding with a liquid fertilizer all year long. Personally I would not use Miracle Grow unless the plants really need a lot of nitrogen. I like to use Neptunes Liquid Fish/Seaweed Fertilizer or AlgoFlash.

Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Jun 6, 2013 1:37 PM CST
Chelle, I always start out good, pinching all the suckers. Then other garden tasks keep me busy and I forget. This year I am trying really hard to keep at it, even though there will always be some I miss. I think one year I will do a comparison with two same variety tomatoes, side by side, pinching one and not the other and see.

I always want to leave them to make more vine and more blossoms and more tomatoes but it's probably better to put that energy into fewer, larger fruit. Here's a picture of my largest one so far, Better Boy.
Thumb of 2013-06-06/abhege/2aa334
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
chelle
Jun 6, 2013 7:29 PM CST
abhege said:... I think one year I will do a comparison with two same variety tomatoes, side by side, pinching one and not the other and see.



I have two *extra* Black Krim side-by-side. I think I'll try it too.


Nice looking tomato you have there! Thumbs up


Thanks, Rita. I ordered some Neptune's earlier today...just seaweed for me, otherwise the racoons will tear up my plants and probably the entire garden...looking for the fish.
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Newyorkrita
Jun 6, 2013 7:46 PM CST
chelle, I used the just seaweed for years. But lately started using the fish-seaweed blend. Both are excellent.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Jun 6, 2013 9:37 PM CST
Yeah, I had a opossum come around when I was using it Hilarious!

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Patti1957
Jun 6, 2013 10:46 PM CST
I have never pruned my tomato plants but I know lots of people do. I usually have a pretty good harvest but maybe it would be even better if I pruned them. Out of the 18 different varieties that I am growing this year I don't have any determinate plants. I have found that most tomato varieties that I have grown, especially cherries, are indeterminate. I am growing 1 variety that is semi-determinate and I am curious to see how that one grows.


Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Jun 7, 2013 6:04 AM CST
It also makes a difference as to how long your growing season is.
Ours is short so if we let all the suckers grow--we would just have big green plants and few tomatoes.
I think with a longer growing season---you could allow some suckers.
Commercial greenhouses sometimes encourage two stems, but with greenhouse protection they will have longer season.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
chelle
Jun 7, 2013 6:54 AM CST
CarolineScott said:
Ours is short so if we let all the suckers grow--we would just have big green plants and few tomatoes.



Yep. That's what we've had the last couple of years.



Thanks for all the great info!
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
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Newyorkrita
Jun 7, 2013 10:17 AM CST
Starting the tomato plants in a nicely composted garden bed is the best thing to do. You can plant them in pure compost, I often do. But difficult to add compost once the plants get bigger. If you use a granular fertilizer, use one especially for tomatoes But I like to use liquid fertilizer once they get going. I pour it over the leaves and let it drench into the soil. Follier feeding works really well on many things. Especially my tomatoes and roses!

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Patti1957
Jun 7, 2013 10:29 AM CST
Newyorkrita said: But I like to use liquid fertilizer once they get going. I pour it over the leaves and let it drench into the soil. Follier feeding works really well on many things. Especially my tomatoes and roses!


I also like to foliar feed my tomatoes and peppers. I actually foilar feed all of my veggies and flowers. I do it either early in the morning before the sun is on the plants or late in the evening after the sun has gone down.


Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
Image
Newyorkrita
Jun 7, 2013 11:17 AM CST
Patti1957 said:I also like to foliar feed my tomatoes and peppers. I actually foilar feed all of my veggies and flowers. I do it either early in the morning before the sun is on the plants or late in the evening after the sun has gone down.


Patti, I agree. I do my peppers and most of the rest of my veggies with the liquid foilar feed method. Any of the veggies that are heavy feeders. Summer Squash, Eggplant, Peppers, Melons, Cucumbers all come to mind. I do stay away from feeding the peas and beans. Otherwise I end up with lots of leaves and no flowers on them.

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