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Trimming tomato plants. Toplef10Trimming tomato plants. 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Trimming tomato plants. I22gcj10Trimming tomato plants. 14dhcg10

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Trimming tomato plants.

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Trimming tomato plants. Empty Trimming tomato plants.

Post  jwbryson 5/26/2011, 2:33 pm

I've read somewhere that I should be trimming my tomato plants, getting rid of those sections that are not producing but taking away from the rest of the plant. How is this done? Just start at the base and trimming whole "branches" without flowers on them?

Do I cut back at the main stems? I don't want to injure the plants.

Thoughts? Thanks!! Trimming tomato plants. 601593
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Post  HieronRemade 5/26/2011, 3:54 pm

+1
I would love a video or some very detailed pics demonstrating this...Given how easy most of the SFG system is, I think the one-stem tomato method is probably the most difficult to understand! What is the difference between a "sucker" and a branch, for example?
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Post  jwbryson 5/26/2011, 3:57 pm

Exactly. Mad

My understanding is that the main stem comes from the soil and then where it splits you get the first branch. Other branches will come from this area and the "suckers" start in the section where these all meet. I know that's hard to follow, but you can find some videos of this on Youtube. I just am not sure I'd recognize one in person.
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Post  jbh29 5/26/2011, 4:16 pm

Here is a link to a super helpful video I saw in another post.

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

Also something I learned this spring is you trim (sucker) your indeterminate toms - which means they are the vining type - and you don't sucker your determinate (bush) toms.

I'm growing my indet. using string like in the video and will put my det. toms in containers, not my sfg, as they will take up more room than one square will give them.

Hope this helps. Smile
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 5/26/2011, 5:09 pm

Youtube is also full of gardening vids. Only thing is you need to watch about 5 to find a good one.
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Post  Furbalsmom 5/26/2011, 6:05 pm

Jenny, that is just the video I was looking for earlier today.
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Post  HieronRemade 5/26/2011, 10:20 pm

Awesome vid Jenny! That's exactly what I was looking for; I now know definitively what a sucker is.

Now the remaining question I have is - when Mel talks about pruning indeterminate tomatoes to a single stem, is he talking about the same thing or something different?
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Post  Furbalsmom 5/26/2011, 11:06 pm

Mel is talking about the exact same thing Mike. Single stem
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Post  HieronRemade 5/27/2011, 9:09 am

Ok cool, I got it! Thanks.
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Post  SQFTBIX 5/27/2011, 3:17 pm

Just remember one thing - the tomatoe plant is a very sturdy vine. Any type of a small mistake you make - the tomatoe will survive it. I do the one stem approach but sometimes they get away from me. I just cut the bigger suckers with a knife and the plant just keeps growing. They are very resilient to say the least. Very Happy
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Post  jbh29 5/27/2011, 7:20 pm

Glad to hear this video has helped you as much as it helped me. After watching I learned I've been growing tomatoes wrong for quite a few years. I can't wait to watch and see the difference between letting my determinates grow and suckering my indet.'s.

I can't wait until it's warm enough here to take my hoop houses off and build my string trellises. My indeterminates are all about 6 " tall and today I picked my first suckers off. I still have to tuck them in at night, though. sawing logs Poor little things...
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Post  NHGardener 5/27/2011, 7:35 pm

Seems I remember reading somewhere you're supposed to pinch the first blossoms off tomato plants. Am I remembering that clearly? I haven't watched the video yet, don't know if it covers that, but I bought a beautiful Big Boy plant today and transplanted it, it has a blossom on it, and I'm wondering if I'm supposed to pinch it off. Or maybe I read you're NOT supposed to pinch the blossoms. I hate my memory.
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Post  HieronRemade 5/27/2011, 9:04 pm

I did either read or hear in a vid some time recently that if a transplant has any blossoms on it when you put it in the ground, that you should take them off as well as any new blossoms for such and such a time after transplanting. Sorry I can't be more specific. O.o
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Post  SQFTBIX 6/2/2011, 2:02 pm

Everyone just needs to keep in mind that these plants have been growing for ages in the wild. Anthing we do will help other than trampling on it. If you don't pick off the first blooms, the plant knows what to do. I never have picked mine off and I get tons of tomatoes every year. Heck, I let the squirrels eat some as I just get way to many even after sharing with my neighbors. I like variety so I won't plant less plants.
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Post  FarmerValerie 6/2/2011, 2:13 pm

That is one of the best videos on tomatoes I've ever seen, I recommended it a while back too. Anther thing I have started doing (learned from acara here on the forum) when I get fruit on the vine, all leaves below said fruit get cut. It has been working great to date. When the vines get "older" and it gets hotter, I'll stop pinching off new growth and let that grow, maybe even cut back old vine on a few just to see what happens. I also still snip any suckers I miss if they are more than 6", put them in water to root, and will be planting them soon. I will be doing this on my Amish Paste quite a bit (leaving them to get big on purpose) because I only had 4 plants survive, and need more.

I also had a tomato plant get broken 2" above the ground, left it alone and sure enough it came back. I accidentally topped off a 2' plant, and it too is growing a new vine. Tomatoes really are a hardy and forgiving plant that fights to live. The more I snip, the better it does. I am focusing more on quality than quantity, and thats what keeps these things in check.
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