Ask a Question forum: Tomato plant help

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Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Jul 7, 2016 6:51 PM CST
I have an heirloom tomato black cherry i think. that's planted too close to some rambling squash. its about 3 feet high and flowering with some green tomatos. i was wondering if i take a large shovel and carefully dig the roots out and place it into a dug hole further away from the squash will it survive.

i plan on laying the squash down from its trillus and letting it ramble over the hole where the tomato used to be. using rocks to manipulate the vine back towards the open spaces.

Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Jul 7, 2016 7:18 PM CST
Wow, transplant an adult tomato plant? My first guess is that the roots would spread almost as wide as the vines would if they were sprawling. In any event, I would expect the roots to spread 3-6 feet in every direction, and at least 2-3 feet down if the aerated layer of soil goes that deep. Maybe a plant only 3 feet tall would have a smaller root ball.

If the roots spread that far, wouldn't you need a backhoe to move it?

Would it survive losing half of its root ball? Or only drop all the fruit and flowers and start over from scratch?

Someone with experience transplanting adult tomatoes might know better, but my guess is that it would be an experiment to discovering whether an adult tomato can survive severe root pruning and still produce fruit in the same year.
Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Jul 7, 2016 7:25 PM CST
okay its just I need to lay my squash down or it will grow up and over the trillius possibly breaking it from the added weight. although it is semi bush. do you think its better to have it try to compete for light against the vine on the ground . or should i just suck it up and compost the darn thing. the tomato that is.


decidions decidions
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 7, 2016 7:47 PM CST
How about reinforcing the squash trellis with 2x4s or PVC hoops? I never care about how things look.

Could the squash be trained to flop in a direction away from the tomato, or are there other things already there?

>> do you think its better to have it try to compete for light against the vine on the ground

This is just my opinion, but I think the tomato would be much happier competing for light and root space than being uprooted and moved. But, again, let's hope for The Voice Of Experience, or even The Voice Of Informed Opinion, if no one here has a habit of moving tomatoes around after they mature and set fruit.

@NewYorkRita, what do you think about uprooting a 3-foot-tall cherry tomato and moving it? I thought it would usually kill the plant, or at least make it drop its fruit and flowers while it tried to recover.

Alex is in MN Saint Paul, so that might delimit how many warm growing days are left. Alex, when would you expect nights to go below 50F where you live?

I should also confess: I'm no big fan of squash, and I've wanted to try Black Cherry tomatoes for a few years now.
Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Jul 7, 2016 7:50 PM CST
Your information is most helpful. I may just take the vine and let it ramble on the ground by the plants. i didn't want to do anything first without talking to you guys on this.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jul 7, 2016 7:50 PM CST
Alex, I agree with Rick that transplanting is not likely to be very successful at this point. If your squash plant is on the ground, it shouldn't really compete for light with the tomato, although it might make it hard to get to the tomato plant for picking. I think you have a much better chance of the tomato producing something for you if you just let it be, and it shouldn't do the squash any harm. You can probably kind of prune some of the leaves off the squash if you need to, and direct the vines away from the tomato. What type of squash is it? And what is the trellis like?
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 7, 2016 7:51 PM CST
You might be able to get some ripe tomatoes before the squash REALLY needs the extra room. Then you'll have a better basis for judging which you like more.
Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Jul 7, 2016 7:53 PM CST
Its an Ambar squash.... a baker creek heirloom. The vine is already about 5 or 6 feet long with vines as thick as pork sausages and not slowing down in growth the seed packet says semi bush...... but..... i'm begining to have my doubts. The leaves are easily 12 across and its got its first female blooms


[Last edited by Plantsmylove - Jul 7, 2016 7:55 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 7, 2016 7:55 PM CST
That sounds more like a Triffid than a "semi-bush" anything!


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Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Jul 7, 2016 7:59 PM CST
This sucks because I have two choices. Let it overtake everything in the garden and use rocks to redirect it for the slim chance it wont get cut back by another gardener ( i have a community garden plot of 20 by 10 feet ) or cut it back and not have any squash for the upcoming state fair competition.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jul 7, 2016 8:11 PM CST
That looks like a nice variety, Alex -- sounds similar to "Australian Blue," which I grew last year and loved. I saw that a couple of the reviews on the Baker Creek site did say the plants were larger than they expected them to be... but, the good news is that after you get a few squash starting to grow on the vines, you can prune the ends off without hurting anything. You won't get as many squash as you would otherwise, but often the ones that form late, way out on the vines, don't have time to mature up here in the north anyway; and by pruning the vines the plant could put more energy into a few squash instead of all the vine and small immature squash. (and you don't really need to use rocks or anything, just move the vines around where you want them...)

Rick -- stop scaring the gardeners! Rolling on the floor laughing
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Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Jul 7, 2016 8:22 PM CST
Weedwhacker said:

Rick -- stop scaring the gardeners! Rolling on the floor laughing


Oh! I didn't even look at the picture until you said this! I thought it was a signature file or something. Lol!

I'm in mn. It doesn't generally get under 50 at night, but it could. Last year I started my plants really late, like, end of July. I still got a couple ripe tomatoes but mostly just green frying ones. 3ft tall though is big. I agree it would much rather have the squash all around it.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 7, 2016 9:47 PM CST
I agree with Sandy and Rick, leave them both and as soon as your squash plant has set a few good fruit for you, cut off the ends of the vines. Solves three problems for you, it will make it be a "semi-bush" like it was supposed to be, keep it from being too huge to crowd out your tomato plant, and it will keep it from taking over your neighbor's plot. The tomato will 'reach' for the sunlight so if you give it a tall enough stake you can grow it up so it has lots of sun.

The tomato plant would either die outright or not give you any fruit if you moved it now. Their roots grow deep and wide.
Elaine

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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Jul 7, 2016 10:07 PM CST
Think maybe a little extra fertilizer might be a good idea, since the plants may be competing for nutrients?
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jul 7, 2016 10:29 PM CST
I never grew a vining squash but the advice given about letting it set fruit and then pruning sounds reasonable. As to the 3 foot tomato plant, I have to agree with everyone else that moving it would not be a good idea.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 8, 2016 2:06 PM CST
Plantsmylove said: ... ( i have a community garden plot of 20 by 10 feet )


Ouch! Only 200 square feet. That DOES force some painful tradeoffs.


Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Jul 8, 2016 4:56 PM CST
next year i'm getting a plot/ plots at another community garden which will be better for increased space.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Jul 8, 2016 9:08 PM CST
Unfortunately, though, Alex -- no matter how much space you have, you will always try to grow too much in it! (Ask me how I know... Whistling )
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters Tomato Heads Garden Photography
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robynanne
Jul 9, 2016 2:17 AM CST
Weedwhacker said:Unfortunately, though, Alex -- no matter how much space you have, you will always try to grow too much in it! (Ask me how I know... Whistling )


Boy do I feel that. .. this fall I'm already planning to dig up and create 3 more gardens in my yard. ...
Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Jul 9, 2016 6:58 AM CST
Oh well I may just try other types of vegatables next year. Squash are good to eat but they get a lot of insects and diseases and they take up a lot of space. Though Guautimain blue squash from baker creek sounds good.

BTW the great squash has been detached i also used a tomato stick to keep the vine from roaming on the ground too close to paths. i have bigger problems though someone put a new lock on the garden shed and the school i garden at is closed until monday. i don't know the code and will ask the director of the garden so i can give plants water
[Last edited by Plantsmylove - Jul 9, 2016 7:01 AM (+)]
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