Re: 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 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" <email@example.com>
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
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.
neIN, Zone 5
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