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Old 04-27-2013, 11:22 AM   #1
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:57 AM   #2
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Re: How do you prune your tomatoes?

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Old 04-28-2013, 10:40 AM   #3
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Re: How do you prune your tomatoes?

As they grow, I try to take the bottom leaves off completely till they are 8-12" off the ground. That helps to keep foliar diseases at bay. Don't let any of the branches touch soil, that's where diseases such as early blight start. Then I just keep the middle of the plant thinned as it grows just to keep it airy enough so that the fruits can get plenty of light and the foliage isn't so thick that it does not easily dry out after a rain. I don't go crazy pruning suckers. I did an experiment last year, pruning all the suckers out and keeping it to one or two stems. It so severely decreased my harvest that I will never do that again. Some swear by it. I prefer to grow heirlooms, so perhaps that works better on hybrids. All I know is that I had a weak vine with decreased fruit set that was extremely susceptible to storm damage.
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:33 AM   #4
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Re: How do you prune your tomatoes?

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Originally Posted by 3lilbubs View Post
As they grow, I try to take the bottom leaves off completely till they are 8-12" off the ground. That helps to keep foliar diseases at bay. Don't let any of the branches touch soil, that's where diseases such as early blight start. Then I just keep the middle of the plant thinned as it grows just to keep it airy enough so that the fruits can get plenty of light and the foliage isn't so thick that it does not easily dry out after a rain. I don't go crazy pruning suckers. I did an experiment last year, pruning all the suckers out and keeping it to one or two stems. It so severely decreased my harvest that I will never do that again. Some swear by it. I prefer to grow heirlooms, so perhaps that works better on hybrids. All I know is that I had a weak vine with decreased fruit set that was extremely susceptible to storm damage.
This is very helpful thanks! The last time I grew tomatoes they were hybrids and I pruned all suckers and that went fine, but this time we have all heirloom seeds.

So would you say you let most of your suckers grow?
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:48 AM   #5
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Re: How do you prune your tomatoes?

Yes, I do. Especially since many heirlooms are late setters and lower volume producers than the hybrids. (but you can't beat the taste). If you want one that will ruin you for a hybrid permanently try sudduth's strain brandywine.

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Old 04-29-2013, 06:09 AM   #6
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Re: How do you prune your tomatoes?

So another problem I'm running into with my tomatoes is supporting them. They are still small right now but I am going to need cages or to stake them. I've done both before, and cages are obviously the easier option. But I would need lots of cages this year, and the cheapest I have found them is $3 each.
I was wondering if anyone has tried making their own tomato cages? If so, how did you do it and how did it work out? Should I stick with staking them? I would need 18+ cages, and that's just not in my garden budget
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:24 AM   #7
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Re: How do you prune your tomatoes?

I am going to this year, I'm just going to have to suck up the cost and know that they are a one time thing. I am making mine from the galvanized garden fencing in a C shape and staking them with rebar. That way I can reach inside but have a nice sturdy tall support. They'll be useful for other things too like my tomatillos, cucumbers, etc.

Like the one shown here:
http://www.settfest.com/2009/01/support-your-plants/

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Old 04-29-2013, 05:06 PM   #8
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Re: How do you prune your tomatoes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3lilbubs View Post
I am going to this year, I'm just going to have to suck up the cost and know that they are a one time thing. I am making mine from the galvanized garden fencing in a C shape and staking them with rebar. That way I can reach inside but have a nice sturdy tall support. They'll be useful for other things too like my tomatillos, cucumbers, etc.

Like the one shown here:
http://www.settfest.com/2009/01/support-your-plants/
That link was so very helpful, thank you!
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Old 04-29-2013, 05:17 PM   #9
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Re: How do you prune your tomatoes?

Have you found a good source for the galvanized fencing yet? It is pretty pricey at Lowe's/Home Depot, and I checked our local Craigslist.
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Old 04-29-2013, 05:41 PM   #10
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Re: How do you prune your tomatoes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3lilbubs View Post
As they grow, I try to take the bottom leaves off completely till they are 8-12" off the ground. That helps to keep foliar diseases at bay. Don't let any of the branches touch soil, that's where diseases such as early blight start. Then I just keep the middle of the plant thinned as it grows just to keep it airy enough so that the fruits can get plenty of light and the foliage isn't so thick that it does not easily dry out after a rain. I don't go crazy pruning suckers. I did an experiment last year, pruning all the suckers out and keeping it to one or two stems. It so severely decreased my harvest that I will never do that again. Some swear by it. I prefer to grow heirlooms, so perhaps that works better on hybrids. All I know is that I had a weak vine with decreased fruit set that was extremely susceptible to storm damage.
Do you pull the leaves off or cut off the lower branches?My plants are a mess, want to come over and fix them?
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