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Re: does one pinch tomatoes?


I do have a soil thermometer somewhere around here. Anyway, I brought the plants inside again under lights. Days have highs in 60s to mid 70s but nights are still lows in 40s, but next week in 50s.

Kitty
neIN, Zone 5
----- Original Message ----- From: "Daryl" <pulis@mindspring.com>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2007 12:43 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] does one pinch tomatoes?


Kitty,

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 weather. 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)


----- Original Message ----- From: "Kitty" <kmrsy@comcast.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2007 4:05 PM
Subject: [CHAT] does one pinch tomatoes?


I'm not sure whether it's time to plant my Sweet Baby Girl tomato plants out yet but I think I will move them up a pot size. I checked Crocket's Victory Garden and he says that in the sprawling method, tomatoes do not get pruned. But he only mentions pruning for other methods as "...[when] no pruning is 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 only cause branching (which I assume to be a good thing) would also thicken the base of the plant.

Kitty
neIN, Zone 5

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