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RE: does one pinch tomatoes?

I tried the make-my-own plastic wrap for a couple years but I just
couldn't get the hang of it. I was always out there in the wind with 20
pieces of flapping plastic, trying to get the @#%^ things to wrap around
the wire cylinder and then actually stay secured, which they never did
for more than a day or so. It took me hours one year just to get the
stupid stuff on the cages. I gave up and now just buy the wall-o-waters,
which, if you don't fill them with water, are nice heavy-duty circles
that stand up to sun and wind, and last about 3 years. More expensive
than make-your-own but I find it much less frustrating.
I plant as early as is practical because I need the plants to put as
much out as they can before it gets so hot they won't set fruit. Great
climate, huh, have to plant when it's too windy because if you don't,
you'll plant when it's too hot. 
I also put a lot of mulch around the plants too. And now I'm looking at
your stuff here and I see something I haven't paid attention to before,
about the ammonium form of nitrogen. That was a high reading on my soil
test last year, I suspect because I mulch with sheep manure and spoiled
hay from their pen. I wonder if I should buy some plain straw this year
and mulch with that instead. 


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-gardenchat@hort.net [mailto:owner-gardenchat@hort.net] On
Behalf Of Daryl
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2007 2:35 PM
To: gardenchat@hort.net
Subject: Re: [CHAT] does one pinch tomatoes?

Um, the wall o' water things are the ones with water in the surrounding
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

Here's a a bit that I've published about Blossom End Rot. Perhaps it
"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
> 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
> 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
> something.
> Cyndi
> -----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?
> 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
> 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
> branches into the cages.  That lets them have maximum shading for the
> fruit and maximum leaf surface for photosynthesis. Yields are
> When I lived up north, I used to pinch out the suckers (the sprouts
> appeared between the main branches and the primary stem) to limit
> 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
> rather than long, skinny ones.
> Hope this helps.
> d (the tomato nerd)

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