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Re: does one pinch tomatoes?

Um, the wall o' water things are the ones with water in the surrounding cylinders. I've tried them, but preferred just to wrap clear plastic around the cage, securing it with clothes pins and leaving the tops open. Actually, I now prefer waiting for the soil and weather to warm up, and then not bothering with protection. I don't care anymore whether I get the first tomato on the block. I just want to have tomatoes with no fuss.

Here's a a bit that I've published about Blossom End Rot. Perhaps it will help: "Blossom End Rot is caused by a failure of the plant to take up enough Calcium or to get it to the end of the fruit as it is forming.

This can be because the soil is too wet or too dry or because the root system is small. Soil should be evenly moist but not soppy. Mulching will help avoid the wild swings in moisture, and will also prevent soil splash of other diseases.

B.E.R. can also be caused by lack of Calcium in the soil. Here in Georgia, we have to add lime before planting to provide enough, and also to sweeten our acid soil. Gypsum is added in some areas, too. A soil test can tell you whether you need to add either or both.

B.E.R. can also occur if too much of some fertilizers is used, such as ammonium forms of Nitrate. Excess Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium can also hinder Calcium uptake.

B.E.R. can sometimes occur if the plant sets a large amount of fruit at once, especially on an immature plant.

Some varieties, especially of paste tomatoes, are prone to Blossom End Rot under anything less than optimal conditions. This may be in part because of their heavy fruit set.

There is some evidence that a Calcium Chloride spray can help. While it won't heal the tomatoes already affected, it can be used preventively for the next set of fruit.

Some studies report that there is little effect from the spray, that the mere removal of the affected fruit, and waiting for the plant to catch up and for growing conditions to change, is enough. "


----- Original Message ----- From: "Johnson Cyndi D Civ 95 CG/SCSRT" <cyndi.johnson@edwards.af.mil>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2007 4:42 PM
Subject: RE: [CHAT] does one pinch tomatoes?

I use the same cage system but I put those wall-o-water things around
the cage when I plant, to give them some wind and shade protection in
the first few weeks. I gave up trying to use the things with water in
them, it was way more trouble than it was worth, but all my cages are
the right size just to slip it over.
I never prune because I need all the foliage I can get to prevent
sunscald on the tomatoes. I am sure hoping for better results this year,
the blossom end rot problem last year was just too too bad. I really
should call the soil test place and talk to them about the results I got
from the test last fall.
The other thing I might try is really giving them a lot more water. I
don't know...seems like I've been doing the same thing every year and
just in the past couple the BER thing is bad, so soil chemistry is the
first thing I think of, but I suppose it could be not enough
water...maybe it's hotter for longer and my watering isn't keeping up or


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-gardenchat@hort.net [mailto:owner-gardenchat@hort.net] On
Behalf Of Daryl
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2007 10:44 AM
To: gardenchat@hort.net
Subject: Re: [CHAT] does one pinch tomatoes?


I'd wait until your soil temp is consistently above 65 degrees before
planting, and 70 is better. My soil was just shy of 65 a month ago after
record temps in March, but plunged back into the upper 40's around
Easter with our big freeze. I often move my plants into larger
containers, setting them more deeply each time I move them up, until
it's time.

I don't prune any more. I use large cages made of concrete reinforcing
wire and let the plants pretty much do as they will, only pushing stray
branches into the cages.  That lets them have maximum shading for the
fruit and maximum leaf surface for photosynthesis. Yields are enormous.

When I lived up north, I used to pinch out the suckers (the sprouts that
appeared between the main branches and the primary stem) to limit fruit
production to what the plant could ripen before frost.

Pinching the growing tip does not encourage branching lower down. A
tomato plant naturally produces growth from below.

Planting deeply does not strengthen the stem, though it does allow
adventitious roots to form and extra roots are a good thing.  (You've
probably noticed little bumps along the stem, especially in humid
They quickly grow into roots if in soil.)

A caution- plants set deeply into cold soil will sit and sulk and NOT
make new roots until the weather warms. Sometimes they're set back so
far that they produce later than seed directly sown into warm soil.

If your soil deep down is cold, and the surface is warm, and you have
long, lanky plants (a minus in my book), plant them sideways into the
warm stuff.
I always try to have short, stocky seedlings available for my customers,
rather than long, skinny ones.

Hope this helps.

d (the tomato nerd)

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