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Old 05-13-2009, 10:23 AM   #1
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How do you grow your tomato plants?

I'm starting a garden this year and want to know how you keep your tomato plants from growing so crazy, I have use the cages and they just don't really help I want them to grow up and not all over the ground. One day I hope to be good at gardening.

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Old 05-13-2009, 10:59 AM   #2
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I am attempting a few tomato plants in containers this year. I have a cherry tomato that has close to 2 dozen tomatoes on it right now and I have a roma that is just starting to produce a few. I think I counted 3 on there this morning. I'm gonna plant a green bell and yellow bell later today as soon as my cordless drill charges and I can drill some more holes in 2 more buckets. I also built wire cages big enough to protect 2 plants each so the birds and my cats don't destroy the plants. As far as them not growing crazy, I've just been pinching off the bottom leaves to keep them growing up. It seemed to make the trunks thicker so they stand up better.
By the way this is my first attempt at gardening.
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:18 AM   #3
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I stake tomatoes...tie often....prune up to the first cluster....
You might also try a determinate variety...They grow to a certain size and stop...as opposed to an indeterminate variety that will keep growing all season long...
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:38 AM   #4
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At the least you need to stake them or use a cage. You shouldn't let them grow along the ground.

You also need to prune them and pinch off the "suckers."

Here's a good article on how to care for tehm: Pruning Tomatoes - Fine Gardening Article
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:16 PM   #5
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That is a very nice article. BUt even if you do not prune, just simply put the cage or stake the plant. I think I use a handle from the old brum, just tigh the plant to it and they are fine. Doesn't have to be too fancy.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:24 PM   #6
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I let mine sprawl over a thick (12 inch) layer of hay on the ground. I can't stand fooling with the plants, I get a skin rash. I completely cover my body when I pick the tomatoes, but I won't do that just to train or tie up the plants. We allot a large area for the tomato plants.
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:12 PM   #7
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I use the cages. I only have 4 plants, so it's not really a hassle to put the cages on. I have a bunch of clusters like the one below but have only gotten about 4 ripe tomatoes so far. I didn't know that I was supposed to pinch the small branches below the first cluster. Gotta job to do now .


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Old 05-13-2009, 02:23 PM   #8
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Tomato plants are stupid so you have to help (often) to make sure the stalks find the supports. They won't do it on their own. You also learn to pinch off those little growth at the joint of a stem when the plant gets about as tall as you want it. That forces growth back the other way.

I have some hanging upside down which I thought would save me all that effort, but no you still need to give support and direction when the plant gets big and full of tomatoes.

I've even gone so far as to tie string from a stalk to a support when it gets tired of holding up all those tomatoes. Yup, tomato growing is not a spectator activity.
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:55 PM   #9
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so far so good in topsy turvey container. has clusters and seems to be fine, just left alone , cept for watering. another in a pot also has tomatoes on it. i can see where it might need a support. i think just almost anything that will hold em up would be just fine.
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Old 05-14-2009, 11:43 AM   #10
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I grow about 25-30 plants each year, depending on how carried away I get when I start my seeds.

I use cattle panels* and T-posts instead of cages. I set the panels in parallel rows, about 18 inches apart, tomato plants in the middle. I set the plants about 2 feet apart.

Once that is done, the only chore is walking the row a couple times a week, stuffing errant branches back inside the panels.

*Cattle panels are 16 feet long by 4.5 feet high, made of heavy gauge wire. They cost (last year) about $20 each at the farm store. Cattle panels are also great for grapes (see the bottom pix) or other vines--just make them into an arch. They can be cut, if you have a smaller garden.

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Old 05-14-2009, 02:29 PM   #11
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impressive
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Old 05-14-2009, 05:32 PM   #12
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Great idea, Sparrowgrass! Beautiful garden.
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Old 05-14-2009, 05:44 PM   #13
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I'm thinking of doing that arch, but on a slightly smaller scale, like between two pots on my patio. Of course I could go absolutely wild and use 4 pots, one for each leg section.
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Old 05-14-2009, 05:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnerd View Post
I'm thinking of doing that arch, but on a slightly smaller scale, like between two pots on my patio. Of course I could go absolutely wild and use 4 pots, one for each leg section.
Going wild every once in a while is good for the soul. Go for it and post us some pic's.
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Old 05-15-2009, 08:22 AM   #15
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The pix is from a couple of years ago--this year has been too wet to really start gardening. I waded out and mudded in the tomatoes, but I haven't set the posts and put up the panels yet.

According to the weather report, it may be 4th of July before the garden dries out enough to plant corn and beans.
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Old 05-16-2009, 02:45 AM   #16
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Tomato types

Quote:
Originally Posted by chilichip View Post
I'm starting a garden this year and want to know how you keep your tomato plants from growing so crazy, I have use the cages and they just don't really help I want them to grow up and not all over the ground. One day I hope to be good at gardening.
Hi chilichip,
There are two types of tomatos. The neat kind and the crazy all over the place kind. The gardeners don't call them that! They are called determinate and indeterminant. You give up volume of tomatos to have the neat tight plant as once a determinate plant sets bloom it won't keep growing it gives you some tomatoes and that is it. The indeterminate continue vegetative growth through out the season with all the blooming and tomatoes that goes with it. If you want some tomatoes and have limited space or are growing in pots look at the varieties labeled determinate.

The other genetic traits you may want to look for are three letters on the label VFN. This means that the plant has been bred to be resistent to the tomato problems of verticilium wilt, fusarium wilt, and nematodes.

Lastly if you are a smoker wash your hands before touching tomato plants. You could infect them with tobacco mosaic disease. Tomatoes are an alternative host to this and will get weak weird twisted foliage before the plants fade.
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Old 05-16-2009, 01:16 PM   #17
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I guess I just infected my tomatoes.I'm a smoker!
Gosh darn it all,will smokers be blamed for any more diseases? I think that's the least of a tomato plants worries.

Munky.
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Old 05-17-2009, 11:16 AM   #18
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I did something similar to the arch sparrowgrass showed in Hawaii and Florida with cherry tomatoes. One thing that helps is that, no matter how spindly and scrawny your little tomato plants look, they will be monsters some day, and the fruit is heavy. So whenever buying or making a frame for them, go bigger than you think they will need, and remember to make harvesting easy (the arch was great because the tomatoes would hang down and you could just pick them). A big help is to mulch the area heavily with wood chips. That way the tomatoes that wind up lying on the ground aren't in the mud and don't rot easily. You'd think that after 20+ years of trying to grow tomatoes, I'd have learned that earlier, but only started using a coarse much last year and it saved me much rot and insect damage.
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Old 05-17-2009, 11:19 AM   #19
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Oh, can't resist adding, yes, I'd heard that smokers can infect tomato plants with some disease. I've never smoked, but my daddy smoked like a chimney (he quit awhile back) and grew some great tomatoes!
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Old 05-17-2009, 02:30 PM   #20
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had the first ripe tomato today. lol only one was ripe, the little pear shaped yellow one. i ate it right away. lordy i love those things.
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