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Post  roper2008 on 2/20/2012, 8:49 am

I am going to try this on some of my tomato plants this
year, so I can fit more tomatoes in my box. If anyone
has done this. Do you have pictures you could share. I
would like to see some. I did see that video on Growing
yourgreens.com
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Post  camprn on 2/20/2012, 9:16 am

@roper2008 wrote:I am going to try this on some of my tomato plants this
year, so I can fit more tomatoes in my box. If anyone
has done this. Do you have pictures you could share. I
would like to see some. I did see that video on Growing
yourgreens.com

I did this. Except for that obvious lateral vine, which I noticed after it had a few huge fruit on it. I nipped that vine at the growing end.

Single Stem Tomatoes 00414

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Post  Cincinnati on 2/20/2012, 9:59 am

@roper2008 wrote:I am going to try this ... so I can fit more tomatoes in my box.

It seems you're referring to removing the suckers on indeterminate plants. The idea behind this is not to place plants closer together, but to maximize the nutrients and energy available to the fruit, instead of having it siphoned off into a lot of "bush" that is created when you do not remove the suckers. I remove suckers, creating a single vine and still plant one tomato per square.

I have a friend who grows beautiful single vine tomato plants in Earthboxes (Two plants per earthbox which is about 2 sq ft). He experimented last fall on leaving the first sucker grow so he had two vines on some of his plants. He is going back to the single vine. To both of us, it looked like the single vine produced more fruit, sooner.

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Post  Lavender Debs on 2/20/2012, 10:11 am

Very pretty camp!

Single Stem Tomatoes 20110910

I grow mine as single stems. Sometimes they get ahead of me. I use this kind of a trellis because I can cover it with plastic sheeting early in the season. I know it sounds tacky but it seems to help in spring to get the tomatoes going. Doesn't seem to help my peppers or egg plant so I am excited about Ray's aquaponics for those. But I digress. the uprights are from a neighbors deck project. I asked if I could have the 2x2's that came off the old deck so I have piles of them. Once they grow past the first rung the stems are sturdy enough to climb to the next rung without the upright.

I also saw thegrowyourgreens.com video on this subject. I "liked" it. Every now and then I wish that I lived in Tomato country.



I kept the icky tomato because the neighbors were always checking my garden with binoculars from their decks. They couldn't tell how bad it was and thought I was brilliant. Ha! Black Plum Paste not prince. I messed that name up for the last two years. I got three big bowls of full size tomatoes that ripened on the sideboard until November. The best late fall-early winter soup and sauce ever.
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Post  rrsmith60 on 2/20/2012, 10:40 am



I always “single stem” and prune heavily.


It’s hard to make that first cut, but pick the strongest healthiest stem and go with it. I also snip the suckers religiously. For me, it’s proves an easier plant to maintain and provides a good harvest. Be sure you support the plant well.

When I’m in the garden I always carry my tie back tape with me. We have tomatoes in pots as well as in boxes with trellis support.

Single Stem Tomatoes Garden12

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Post  roper2008 on 2/20/2012, 11:15 am

Very nice. I'm impressed with the pictures and video. In my
4 x 4 raised bed, I normally only plant 2 tomatoes with no
pruning. This year I would like to grow many tomatoes, but I
still need room for my other veggies.

Camprn, your roma tomatoes look great, how big is that square
bed, and how many tomato plants in it?

Cincinatti, I have 7 earthboxes and always grow peppers in them.
This year I will use a few for tomatoes. Now I know I can do two single stemmed tomatoes.

Thanks for the video Debs. Your tomatoes look very productive as
well. Especially that cherry tomato.

rrsmith, I will also plant some tomatoes in grow bags and a few
large pots. I saw on another forum how they support the tomatoes
in grow bags.

Hopefully this year I will have good tomatoes..Last year I was fight-
blight, and stink bugs. It was terrible. I have serenade for the
blight and a dustbuster for the stink bugs.

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Post  Furbalsmom on 2/20/2012, 6:46 pm

LavenderDebs

When did you take that video on the single stem tomatoes? August, September? Just wondering when they started to ripen for you.
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Post  Lavender Debs on 2/20/2012, 6:54 pm

September..... but the really good ones did not ripen until October and November in the kitchen.
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Post  Furbalsmom on 2/20/2012, 7:29 pm

September, Thanks. 2010, almost all of my tomato harvest came in October. Last year, I lost all my tomatoes due to being unable to tend the garden for 2 1/2 mo. Looking forward to this year.
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Post  AvaDGardner on 2/20/2012, 8:49 pm

I was just thinking about this today! I was reading about in in Mel's book and wondering how it changed the spacing needs. From Deb's video it looks like it allows tomatoes to be planted closer together.

And I'm guessing...you can tell a branch shooting out from a little thing with a bud? Do you need to wait a few days to identify, or can you tell right away?

What's a tomato sucker? Where would it be on the plant? Some roses have suckers but that has to do the root parent shooting up it's own plant.
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Post  Lavender Debs on 2/20/2012, 8:58 pm

Good questions Ava. Somewhere Camprn has posted a great visual. For now can I just say that the branches and suckers are the same thing (indeterminate types) they grow out of the crotch of the tomato stem (or vine) and a branch. The fruit tends to grow a few inches up the stem from the last branch.

Hope that helps AND hope you can find Camps visual.

Debs....who plants one tomato plant per square foot (where there is a trellis)
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Post  Cincinnati on 2/20/2012, 11:19 pm

@AvaDGardner wrote: ... What's a tomato sucker? Where would it be on the plant?

A tomato sucker is a new growth that starts in the "crotch" formed where a branch attaches to the main stem. It will eventually become a whole new vine of the plant, but will thwart the production of fruit on your main stem.

I usually pinch off all new ones every couple of days. It's best to cut them if they are very thick, but be careful not to nick the main vine.

@AvaDGardner wrote: ... And I'm guessing...you can tell a branch shooting out from a little thing with a bud? Do you need to wait a few days to identify, or can you tell right away?

The trusses with buds branch off the main stem. You should be able to ID them right away. I can't ever recall a truss coming off the main stem in the crotch formed with a leaf branch.

You can tell suckers right away. But You may have to let them grow for a day or two so they are big enough to pinch or cut.

The area where you may have to wait several days before pinching off suckers is the very top of the main vine. You want to be sure you are not cutting the main vine or your plant height will be fixed to that point.
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Post  shannon1 on 2/21/2012, 4:14 am

If you have a long growing season (like me) you can let a sucker or two grow alittle then snip it off, root it in water and get a whole new plant. Learned that little trick in Mel's first book.Single Stem Tomatoes 773650
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Post  Cincinnati on 2/21/2012, 7:32 am

@shannon1 wrote:If you have a long growing season (like me) you can let a sucker or two grow alittle then snip it off, root it in water and get a whole new plant. Learned that little trick in Mel's first book.Single Stem Tomatoes 773650

Yep. Done it. I stuck the sucker immediately in MM and it rooted. Just Keep the MM moist. It grew, but my season wasn't long enough to get tomatoes to produce.
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Post  jpatti on 2/21/2012, 11:46 am

@Furbalsmom wrote:September, Thanks. 2010, almost all of my tomato harvest came in October. Last year, I lost all my tomatoes due to being unable to tend the garden for 2 1/2 mo. Looking forward to this year.

I'm partially disabled anyways, but on top of that, last year, I slid on some straw and fell and threw my back out and couldn't bend for months, which discouraged the heck out of me.

This year, I hired a 10-year-old assistant. So far, most of her assisting has been me educating her, which is fine. We've had "lessons" on pH, seed starting and on NPK and other minerals so far and she thinks vermiculite is really kewl stuff and feels neat. Wink

But honestly, I'd probably have not even tried this year had I not had her. The thing is, if I wind up in a position where I CAN'T do anything for a period, I have this kid for 3-4 hours on Sunday to keep the most important bits going, ya know? So... I don't feel it's completely ON me.

She can be my assistant if I do well through the summer, but she can be upgraded to being my HANDS if I can't.

Plus I like her company and vice-versa.
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Post  mageice3 on 2/21/2012, 12:21 pm

Jpatti: I know how you feel, as I'm in a similar situation, my left leg won't support me for more then a few minuets, however my garden has caught the attention of 4 little girls, one of which is mine and at a helpful 3 wants to do what the other girls are, the other 3 are friends and family and around most days so if they want to learn about gardens while they are here I've no complains, they already helped replant some tomatoes lol

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Post  jpatti on 2/21/2012, 12:39 pm

Yes, it can be a really mutually beneficial relationship. These are the gardeners of tomorrow...

Mine is the daughter of my Home Health Aid, so she is here every Sunday for several hours anyways. And a very kewl kid who I have grown to like a lot. I just "formalized" hiring her before I bought seeds this year, discussing first with her mom, then with her.

It also means she has to do well in school as that is part of our deal; if she gets in trouble, she can't work that week as school is her MAIN job. I can be manipulative, heh. Wink
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