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Post  LeeAnne12 on Thu 3 May 2012 - 8:21

I think I may have nipped off the top of one of my tomato plants while trying to get all the suckers off. I thought it was just an overgrown one. ...so my question is, have I ruined the tomato plant? This gardening is harder than I thought it would be. LOL To nip or not to nip...good bugs, bad bugs... Shocked

Thanks,

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Post  martha on Thu 3 May 2012 - 8:31

You haven't ruined it. If it is a determinate variety, you will have reduced the eventual harvest, but not necessarily by a lot.

How much did you take off?
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Post  brenda g on Thu 3 May 2012 - 8:34

I have no experience with this yet but I recently watched a youtube video about how to prune tomato plants, and my understanding was if you accidentally cut off the top, as long as there is a sucker somewhere on the plant it will keep going.... fingers crossed for you!
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Post  LeeAnne12 on Thu 3 May 2012 - 8:43

How much did you take off?

Just where to where there was a joint. It looks like there was a split, because there is another part growing and that's why I thought I had missed a sucker. I'm going to leave the tops alone from now on and just nip a few stems/leaves down the plant. I'm glad to know I haven't completely ruined it.

Thanks!

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Post  LeeAnne12 on Thu 3 May 2012 - 8:45

I recently watched a youtube video about how to prune tomato plants, and my understanding was if you accidentally cut off the top, as long as there is a sucker somewhere on the plant it will keep going.... fingers crossed for you!

Thanks! I'm heading to youtube to search for some videos.

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Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on Thu 3 May 2012 - 8:55

The video I go by is below....

As long as your plant is indeterminate, just let one of the suckers near the top grow and it will become the new main vine. I actually did this last year and it worked out fine. That plant was a little slower to get as tall because I had to let the new sucker grow, but otherwise no harm done.... Smile

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJgA4n-sCE8

At about 5:00 in, she says don't worry if you cut the main stem...just leave a sucker and it'll go right on... Smile
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Post  camprn on Thu 3 May 2012 - 9:28

@brenda g wrote:I have no experience with this yet but I recently watched a youtube video about how to prune tomato plants, and my understanding was if you accidentally cut off the top, as long as there is a sucker somewhere on the plant it will keep going.... fingers crossed for you!
+1 True enough! The plant will rebound, no worries.

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Post  LeeAnne12 on Thu 3 May 2012 - 10:01

The video I go by is below....

Thanks so much! I think I may have taken the right stem off. I'm going outside to make sure. The first think she said was don't prune the suckers off the Celebrity variety because it's a bush type. Well, guess who's been nipping those suckers off their Celebrity. Rolling Eyes Do ya'll not worry about if it's a bush and sucker all of them?

Thanks,

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Post  kbb964 on Thu 3 May 2012 - 10:15

I dont sucker on a bush determinate variety. it is not recommended
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Post  Turan on Thu 3 May 2012 - 10:27

I look at how rambunctious the plant is, no matter if D or ID. I want a plant that lets some air in but has plenty of plant for making lots of fruit. I only reluctantly prune, and then only lower leaves and upper suckers. Tomatoes raised up a string need a lot more pruning than ones in cages.
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Post  martha on Thu 3 May 2012 - 10:53

The difference between a determinate and an indeterminate is this - a determinate (bush type) is going to have a certain number of tomatoes, period. Any flowers you remove, or growth that was genetically intended to flower, will not redirect its energy into making additional tomatoes - you will just get fewer.

And indeterminate plant - vine type - will redirect its energy, and put out more flowers, and therefore, more tomatoes. The main reason for pruning an indeterminate is to focus the plants energy on making quality fruit. You can take off bottom leaves to prevent them from getting splashed with water, thereby reducing the likelihood of disease. You can prune the suckers to improve air flow, reducing the likelihood of disease. And to a certain extent, you want to reduce the number of flowers/tomatoes, to improve the strength and vitality of the plant, and to help it have fewer, healthier tomatoes. I'm not talking about drastically reducing your harvest - chances are you will actually improve your harvest, because the entire plant will be vigorous.

It's the same principal as removing dying leaves from any plant. The plant will still be using some energy to feed the dying leaves, so if you remove them, all the energy is going towards the healthy parts.

I think I might be getting more confusing the more I keep going, so I'm going to pause for breath. The short summary is that yes, there is a very important difference between bush and vine types of tomaotes.
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Post  LeeAnne12 on Thu 3 May 2012 - 11:30

Thanks so much everyone! I'm sorry to have so many questions, but I have one more. Ok, on the D variety, should I grow them in a cage, if I do grow them in a cage, am I still OK with one square foot? I checked the others and the are all ID.

Martha, thank you for explaining this. I totally understand now.

Thanks again for helping a newbie to gardening! :-)

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Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on Thu 3 May 2012 - 11:49

In the book, Mel recommends:
Bush: 1 per 9 square feet
Vine: 1 per square foot

To my limited knowledge, most people put their determinates in pots so that they don't have to utilize so many squares. Once in pots, they normally stake or cage them.... Smile


Last edited by UnderTheBlackWalnut on Thu 3 May 2012 - 12:47; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Chopper on Thu 3 May 2012 - 12:05

@UnderTheBlackWalnut wrote:In the book, Mel recommends:
Bush: 1 per 9 square feet
Vine: 1 per square foot

To my limited knowledge, most people put their indeterminates in pots so that they don't have to utilize so many squares. Once in pots, they normally stake or cage them.... Smile

I think you mean the opposite. Determinates are the bushy ones and indeterminates are the vines.
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Post  LeeAnne12 on Thu 3 May 2012 - 12:07

...so if I moved the determinate to a pot and planted ID in its place, do you think I'll be OK? They've been planted for about two weeks.

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Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on Thu 3 May 2012 - 12:47

@Chopper wrote:
@UnderTheBlackWalnut wrote:In the book, Mel recommends:
Bush: 1 per 9 square feet
Vine: 1 per square foot

To my limited knowledge, most people put their indeterminates in pots so that they don't have to utilize so many squares. Once in pots, they normally stake or cage them.... Smile

I think you mean the opposite. Determinates are the bushy ones and indeterminates are the vines.

Oops - yes - editing now... thanks CHOPPER! Smile
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Post  mapspringer on Thu 3 May 2012 - 12:48

I've been wandering if I can actually train my Cherokee Purple and Holy Land heirlooms to climb the trellis or not. The tags on the starters from the nursery said nothing about vine or bush. They are now 16" tall and I've tried to "lean them" in that direction, but will I be doing so in vain? I can easily fashion a cage for them, but would prefer to use the trellis I built for that purpose.

Can I train these puppies to climb?

Thanks!
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Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on Thu 3 May 2012 - 13:04

LeeAnne - How big is the plant now? Smile If it were me, I would probably try it. But I've not done it before, so I'm hoping someone with more experience/knowledge will give us some advice. Smile

Mapspringer - I use this site a lot when I'm not sure if a tomato is determinate (bush) or indeterminate (vine). They sell tons of varieties and all are marked if they are D or I. Smile
http://store.tomatofest.com/Heirloom_Tomato_Seeds_s/1.htm

It looks like Cherokee Purple is indeterminate so you are good there. I'm not sure abut Holy Land a quick internet search seems to reveal it to be indeterminate as well. If you got them from a nursery or smaller store (not a big box), you could probably call them and ask to make sure.

In short, I think they will climb just fine. They should have a vining habit and get quite tall. Smile
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Post  Chopper on Thu 3 May 2012 - 13:37

Instead of one main stem, you can wait for some shoots and let them grow instead. No biggie.
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Post  LeeAnne12 on Thu 3 May 2012 - 15:51

How big is the plant now? If it were me, I would probably try it. But I've not done it before, so I'm hoping someone with more experience/knowledge will give us some advice

Well...so I "had" to stop by this garden center on my way home from picking my daughter up from school, and they just "happened" to have an heirloom tomato. I kind of wanted to try one out and it somehow ended up in my hand, so I bought it. LOL I'll put the Celebrity in a pot and add this one to the garden. I hope I don't shock the Celebrity too badly. It's about 1 1/2 ft. tall.

Thanks!

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Post  Turan on Mon 21 May 2012 - 12:02

I have been schlepping 4 baby okra plants in and out every day for 2 months. Yesterday in the greenhouse I leaned over them to water something and snapped one them. No AAAAAAAAARRRRRGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Poor things are only 6" tall with 5 leaves. I immediantly made a splint for it. This morning it looks fine. BUt time will tell................
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Post  camprn on Mon 21 May 2012 - 17:12

pale Well doggonit! Turan, I know how you feel...I really don't like it when that happens! I hope it recovers. I planted some sprouted okra seed and 9 of the 10 are up... fingers crossed for our northern grown okra. Very Happy

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Post  Triciasgarden on Mon 21 May 2012 - 18:22

Turan, that's wonderful you splinted your plant and it is good so far! I think I would have tried the same thing!
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Post  Turan on Thu 24 May 2012 - 12:34

Thanks, so far it is hanging in there.

camprn, are your okra in a regular bed? Anything to make a Southern microclimate? How are they doing?
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Post  quiltbea on Thu 24 May 2012 - 12:54

@mapspringer.....I had to chime in because I thought you might be getting confused. You stated you want to train your vine to climb. It won't happen. Its not a pea or bean vine. Tomatoes need to be tied or somehow attached to a trellis or surrounded by a cage so they have support. They are not 'climbing' vines.
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