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RE: 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)

----- 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
> out yet but I think I will move them up a pot size.  I checked
> Victory Garden and he says that in the sprawling method, tomatoes do
> get pruned. But he only mentions pruning for other methods as
> 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
> 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.
> Kitty
> neIN, Zone 5

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