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Post  TejasTerry on 4/22/2012, 8:03 pm

Ok this is my first year gardening, and my tomato plants are outgrowing the cages. This is a dumb question, but what do I do now? Do I need to add something taller? Trim them? Leave them alone? They are putting on tomatoes now...I don't want to "upset the boat"... It's hard to see in this pic, but half way in the center of the pic you can see how far the plant has grown above the top.

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Post  Turan on 4/22/2012, 8:14 pm

O looking good Very Happy What kind of tomato? Has it set a lot of fruit yet?

To ripen fruit it helps to shock the plant a little.
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Post  TejasTerry on 4/22/2012, 8:38 pm

@Turan wrote:O looking good Very Happy What kind of tomato? Has it set a lot of fruit yet?

To ripen fruit it helps to shock the plant a little.

This particular plant is an heirloom Black Prince. It has set fruit, and has tons of blossoms.

As far as the others, they are all heirloom and also starting to set fruit, however they are not quite as tall. I have Pink Brandywine, Arkansas Traveler, and Homestead.

I'm just not sure what to do when they outgrow the cages.... What a Face
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Post  givvmistamps on 4/22/2012, 11:45 pm

Hi TejasTerry! I hadn't heard of Black Prince so I had to look it up to make certain, before I said anything...it turns out that this particular variety is an indeterminate tomato. That means it's a vining tomato. I didn't look up your other varieties, but I suspect the rest are determinates, meaning that they are bush-types. Indeterminates will grow very tall indeed, and need a different support. I recently started a discussion asking for advice on support types for indeterminates here:
https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t11705-indeterminate-tomato-advice-needed
That discussion has links and photos of different options, as well as a video on how to prune these. They'll produce more if you keep the suckers pruned off. Hope that helps!
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Post  GWN on 4/22/2012, 11:54 pm

Hi there
I have read books written by Eliot Coleman, and what he does .... is that he has the tomatoes growing up strings and then when they get near the top he essentially lowers the string.
He cuts off all of the lower branches, and essentially the plant lies on the ground to allow for the plant to keep growing taller.
The way to get the tomatoes to ripen is to get a banana that is over ripened and lay it in the tomato patch.
The substance given off from a ripening banana will stimulate the tomatoes to ripen and essentially one tomato ripening will stimulate the others. It is a chemical reaction. Smile
I tried it last year and my tomatoes ripened ahead of anyones. Even the farmers at the farmers market.
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Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/23/2012, 12:13 am

@GWN wrote:Hi there
I have read books written by Eliot Coleman, and what he does .... is that he has the tomatoes growing up strings and then when they get near the top he essentially lowers the string.
He cuts off all of the lower branches, and essentially the plant lies on the ground to allow for the plant to keep growing taller.
The way to get the tomatoes to ripen is to get a banana that is over ripened and lay it in the tomato patch.
The substance given off from a ripening banana will stimulate the tomatoes to ripen and essentially one tomato ripening will stimulate the others. It is a chemical reaction. Smile
I tried it last year and my tomatoes ripened ahead of anyones. Even the farmers at the farmers market.

One banana for how big of a tomato patch?
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Post  Turan on 4/23/2012, 12:16 am

Tomato patch out doors or in his greenhouses?
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Post  GWN on 4/23/2012, 12:24 am

huge tomato patch, in his hoop house.
He is the guy who write about winter gardens.
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Post  givvmistamps on 4/23/2012, 12:30 am

Wow GWN, that's amazing! I wonder how well that would work with tomatoes outdoors in individual planters?
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Post  Turan on 4/23/2012, 12:37 am

@GWN wrote:huge tomato patch, in his hoop house.
He is the guy who write about winter gardens.
Thats why i wondered. He is certainly the authority. I am going to try it this august when I am going nuts waiting for tomatoes. Thanks!
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Post  TN_GARDENER on 4/23/2012, 9:14 am

I'd be more apt to try to add some sort of taller poles.

Maybe a teepee or A-frame of sorts from 8 foot furring strips or bamboo poles. You might be able to thread them through your cage in such a manner that you don't have to drive the feet too far in to the ground and risk damaging your roots.

Might also need to attach some guy wires to keep it from toppling over in high winds.
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Post  walshevak on 4/23/2012, 9:48 am

Will tomatos grow sideways? If so how about a post driven into the ground a few feet from the tomato and strung with twine or wire from the cage to the post. Then gradually bend the top of the tomato over to the twine. Think espailier. It's too early to top out that "heading for the moon" tomato. Or an arch of some sort and let it start growing up a bit more and then over and back down.

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Post  TejasTerry on 4/23/2012, 10:28 am

@TN_GARDENER wrote:I'd be more apt to try to add some sort of taller poles.

Maybe a teepee or A-frame of sorts from 8 foot furring strips or bamboo poles. You might be able to thread them through your cage in such a manner that you don't have to drive the feet too far in to the ground and risk damaging your roots.

Might also need to attach some guy wires to keep it from toppling over in high winds.

This is pretty much what we are going to do. The cages are made of the stuff they reinforce concrete with, so are pretty strong and linked together with hog rings.

I think I can somehow thread them thru. Next year I have a whole new plan. Tomato plants outgrowing cages 109486
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Post  GWN on 4/23/2012, 10:44 am

It is a very interesting part of his book that is not incredibly clear.
I read and reread to get the details and studied the pictures in great depth.
I essentially did this last summer, but in the end, when I needed to be dropping them down, I was extremely busy with something else and so did not follow through.
I am grrowing a few of my heirlooms in large buckets this year, and intend to bring them back into the greenhouse in the fall to try to do this
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Post  Turan on 4/23/2012, 11:16 am

@GWN wrote:It is a very interesting part of his book that is not incredibly clear.
I read and reread to get the details and studied the pictures in great depth.
I essentially did this last summer, but in the end, when I needed to be dropping them down, I was extremely busy with something else and so did not follow through.
I am grrowing a few of my heirlooms in large buckets this year, and intend to bring them back into the greenhouse in the fall to try to do this
Which book? I need to go to the library today.

This reminds me of an article I read once about the amazing greenhouse tomatoes they are growing in the NE. Those tomatoes are grafted and trained to grow up and sideways.
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Post  TN_GARDENER on 4/23/2012, 12:22 pm

@Turan wrote:
@GWN wrote:It is a very interesting part of his book that is not incredibly clear.
I read and reread to get the details and studied the pictures in great depth.
I essentially did this last summer, but in the end, when I needed to be dropping them down, I was extremely busy with something else and so did not follow through.
I am grrowing a few of my heirlooms in large buckets this year, and intend to bring them back into the greenhouse in the fall to try to do this
Which book? I need to go to the library today.

This reminds me of an article I read once about the amazing greenhouse tomatoes they are growing in the NE. Those tomatoes are grafted and trained to grow up and sideways.

Not sure if they are grafted (will have to defer to you on that one), but I've seen several hydroponic and/or greenhouse tomato plants with VERY long vines (we're talking in excess of 25 feet). They will routinely wrap those plants around the pots several times or run them up and down the aisles. Neat stuff.
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