RE: does one pinch tomatoes?
I always pinch the growth between the leaves on the side of the stem. This
keeps the major growth along one stem. If you don't do this, the tomato
puts out stems all along the main stem that have to be maintained by the
plant so it uses more energy for stems and leaves instead of putting it
At the end of the season, I pull up one or two tomato plants with lots of
green fruit and hand it upside down in the garage. The fruit gradually
ripens and can be picked from the plant. I find the fruit has more flavor
than when the fruits ripen off the stems.
Also, thought you might find this helpful?
In the May 2007 issue of Tennessee Gardener, Bob Westerfield, a specialist
on tomatoes, wrote an article entitled "Water: The Key to Healthy
Here are some excerpts:
"Sunlight, fertilizer and water are the essentials to help ensure a
successful crop...By far, most of the problems I see are related to
moisture either directly or indirectly...A tomato is approximately 95%
water in content.
Too much water can certainly injure a plant...causing root malfunctions and
possible onset of disease. Too little moisture, especially at the time of
fruiting, can lead to wilting, stress, and nutritional deficiencies....as a
good example...the fairly common problem encountered by home gardeners
known as blossom end rot. This is the disorder that causes the flower side
of the tomato to turn black, usually as it begins to mature....this is
caused by a deficiency in calcium causing the cell walls to break down.
Simply adding calcium through sprays or dolomitic limestone may sound like
the easy answer. The truth of the matter is that this blossom end rot
disorder is actually more closely related to moisture stress than the
calcium deficiency. As a tomato is maturing it has an even greater need
for moisture to form up the fruit...if the plant does not receive adequate
moisture, it does not matter how much calcium is sitting in the soil.
Water management is the key to controlling blossom end rot.
Certainly the soil type, whether they are in the ground or in raised beds
or containers can make a big difference. The best method is to closely
watch the plants...wait until you see a slight wilt in plants before
watering. During hot summers this may mean watering two to three times a
week...I have well-drained, heavily amended raised beds. In heavier clay
soils, you may only need to water once a week depending on rainfall.
When you do water, above all, keep the foliage dry. You will save yourself
a lot of disease problems if you will only water at the base of the plant.
This can be accomplished by hand watering with a watering can or hose want
at the base of the plant...or a combination of soaker hoses and drip
irrigation...this last method saves about 25% water. Run your lines under
the mulch to reduce evaporation...use three sheets of newspaper around
plants to provide another moisture barrier and provide organic weed
Another way to water is to use gallon milk jugs. Put several small holes
in the bottom of the mild container and fill them up one to two times a
week. You even can add liquid fertilizer to the water if your prefer.
Place them next to the plants and allow them to slowly drip down to the
root zone of your tomatoes.
Provide enough water to wet the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. It also
helps to plant the tomato deep from the start. Pinch off the bottom leaves
and plant them much deeper than the rootball
Bonnie Zone 7/7 ETN
Remember: The River Raisin, The Alamo, The Maine, Pearl Harbor, 9/11
> [Original Message]
> From: Kitty <email@example.com>
> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Date: 4/29/2007 3:05:28 PM
> Subject: [CHAT] does one pinch tomatoes?
> I'm not sure whether it's time to plant my Sweet Baby Girl tomato plants
> yet but I think I will move them up a pot size. I checked Crocket's
> Garden and he says that in the sprawling method, tomatoes do not get
> But he only mentions pruning for other methods as "...[when] no pruning
> done, the crop matures later than with the single-stem methods. Pruning
> encourages early ripening at the expense of heavy yield." But doesn't an
> unpruned sprawling method indicate single-stem? He does mention removing
> suckers - is that term the same as suckers on shrubs?
> I do know to transplant them more deeply, up to their seed leaves to
> strengthen the stem, but I thought pinching the growing tip would not
> cause branching (which I assume to be a good thing) would also thicken
> base of the plant.
> neIN, Zone 5
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