понедельник, 29 февраля 2016 г.

Damaged leaves and also touching the soil need to be removed.

Damaged leaves and also touching the soil need to be removed.

Damaged leaves and also touching the soil need to be removed.

I plant my tomatoes up against the south side of my house. This is where they get the most sun and the temps are very hot on summer days. They are protected by most of the rainfall by the roof overhang. We also tie twine around the cages and attach it to the house so our cages don’t tip over as our plants grow huge. We use a soaker hose to water. This time of year, I water twice a day (an hour in the morning and evening) I will be doing my first major trim within the next week. I have a contractor size wheel borrow and have been known to fill it 3/4 of the way full with trimmings from 10-12 plants.

Later in the year (later August) I water less. If I do this, I find my tomatoes are not quiet so watery inside upon harvest. I also feed my tomatoes. I use -used coffee grounds when I plant them, along with crushed egg shell. I throw about a cup ( a nice handful) of grounds in the hole with a couple of crushed egg shells and mix it in with the dirt before adding my plant. I also add coffee grounds on top of the ground throughout the season if it looks like my plants need them. They LOVE coffee grounds.

Toward the end of the season, I trim “at least” 85% of the foliage off my plants. This exposes the tomatoes to the sun for better ripening and gets rid of any chance of blight getting to the foliage and then my tomatoes.

Last year I canned 17+ quarts of homemade Salsa and we ate a lot of raw tomatoes.

If I hear that a hard frost is coming in the fall, I pick all my tomatoes, red, green and in between. I left them on soft towels on a spare table to ripen or I have just left them on my counter to ripen and have had good luck both ways.

Good Luck Growing!

P.S. We had Spaghetti in the crock pot tonight! 3rd day in a row using my crock pot for dinner. A great way to keep the kitchen cool on a hot summer day!


Thanks for your tips! I’ll cut back on watering in August too. And guess what, I’ve got my crockpot out today.

This is my first year with any type of garden. I have 6 tomato plants, one of which is a golden cherry tomato type. So far they are all still alive, which I a big deal for me. 4 of them already have little green tomatoes growing on them. They other 2 have blooms, so I’m still hoping for tomatoes on them. My peas are growing too, but no putting out too many peas. I also have kale, 4 plants, and 2 strawberry plants. I’m hoping that they will all survive. My track record with plants isn’t very good.

Peas generally don’t produce as much if it’s really hot out, especially snow peas. Congrats on your garden this year! Each year you’ll learn more and do better and better. I learn something new every year.

Peas do better if you use “the good ole well- decomposed manure. I find the horse manual works the best. Put lots on and mix the soil and manure well. Hoe the dirt/manure onto the plant bottoms to help hold heat (in cold weather) and water. The best thing I ever did was plant everything through black plastic. Till the ground after adding any food/manure, cover the ground with black plastic, place weight (rocks, bricks, pieces of metal, or wood) on the plastic to hold it in place, cut an “x” large enough to plant through, plant and pull the plastic edges from the “x” up to the bottom of the plants (leave the plastic open if you are planting seed), and apply dirt, small stones, etc) to hold the plastic against the roots. Cut slits in the plastic so the rain can drip through. The only thing you have to do is spray with bug, fungi, mold killer and water if it gets very dry under the plastic.

I live in Georgia…so it is hot and can be rainy. I have 5 tomato plants sitting in buckets in my front yard. They are tall and skinny…maybe have about 5 sprouts on them all together. They have been growing since April. I don’t know what to do to get some more sprouts…any ideas?

I honestly haven’t had good luck with tomatoes in containers. They like to send their roots deep and unless really large, the containers inhibit this. I’d try transplanting them into something larger or in the ground. Also, I’d give them so extra organic compost or plant food and be sure you’re watering them deeply once or twice week instead of daily. Good luck!

@Lyvonda – I have tomatoes in pots (22-25\u2033 across) and live in cooler weather where you think tomatoes wouldn’t thrive. The biggest issue here is choosing a breed that THRIVES in your climate. There’s so many different types of tomatoes available, maybe it’s just a matter of finding one that does well in hot, rainy weather.

Thanks for this article. I was out in my tomato garden yesterday and debating pruning, but feel guilty clipping off those luscious green stems and leaves. I am not going to feel guilty any more. I also did not realize to clip off the leaves that are touching the ground. What you said makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the tips!

Waah! I was given four beautiful heirloom tomato plants. I have three empty squares and a 2 ft tall stick. I tried pinching back the top; doesn’t seem to have done any good. No worries about leaves touching the ground; the lowest leaf is at least 6 inches up. Everybody else is looking forward to harvest, and I have a stick. ;-( Help!

Feed the plants heavily. If you apply it dry, make sure you mix the food and soil very well. Water them less often but water for a longer time for deeper wetting. NEVER water, spray, feed, or dust them in direct sunlight. Best in the evening so the plant can get the most water and food before the sun dries it out the next day.

Hmmm, perhaps some fertilizer? Try looking for an organic tomato food.

Like you we have experienced exactly the same thing trying to grow our tomatoes here in the Pacific NW. Blight, rain, etc. We put ours inside a hoop house this year and and I SO determined to finally get my tomatoes–so far it’s looking good; I just spotted the first blossoms last week. I knew I should be doing some pruning and then came across your post–very timely and helpful. Thanks!

Not sure if anyone mentioned it but, once the tomatoes are approx. 6\u2032 tall, you can also prune/pinch the top of the plant (same as you would for any suckers) to keep it at a manageable height and allow the tomato to put the “tall” energy into fruit energy

And as an end of season treat, use all the green tomatoes for chow-chow…yum!

Thanks for that tip Ariana! I’m planning on making chow-chow this fall, too.

I prune out only the first suckers and leave the rest – it gives me a huge harvest. Also, I prune out the downward facing branches starting at the bottom, slowing working my way to the top as the season progresses. Any branches with flowers or young fruit do not get touched. If I feel iffy about taking off a branch, I take off half and that helps as well.

Soil does not need loads of water, but it does need a bit of regular water, perhaps a cupful (literally) once or twice a week. Too much water encourages the unwanted leafy surplus. I also give my plants a weekly feeding of either watered down manure tea or comfrey tea at the roots, never the leaves. Neither smells sweet but it sure gives the plants a good kick in the pants.

Rather than plastic mulch which stops useful minerals, water, worms, etc from helping the soil, I spread about 6 inches of tree bark mulch through the whole garden and that really keeps the weeds in check as well as the soil nicely moist. I’ve never had a problem with slugs or snails.


Cool thing we found about snails or maybe slugs keep forgetting which is which. But if you put big pieces of orange peels out just before dark, it is amazing to see how many of those critters will be clung to it. Don’t remember if you should check it before the over night or next morning. p.s. will be trimming tomatoes tomorrow for sure.

This year we bought a hoop greenhouse and have tomatoes that are reaching the 7\u2032 top. In Colorado, we have freezes through May, so we were able to start early. The tomatoes are loaded and we are anxious to harvest. Does anyone have a really good recipe for chow chow? Thanks for the post. I have never trimmed the vines but will use the info for next year.

Hi, they’re an heirloom paste tomato (you were totally right!) a San Marzano Number 2 to be exact. They’re said to be the best paste tomato in the world. It’s my first year with them and I can’t wait until they’re ripe.

Learn how and why to prune your tomato plants for a better harvest.

Tomatoes have long been my nemesis crop.

From the rainy summers of the Pacific Northwest, the dreaded blight, and even blossom drop. But this year, I’ve finally got a gorgeous bunch of tomato plants. And nothing, I mean nothing, is going to come in the way of my harvest. At least, if I can help it.

There’s nothing more discouraging than putting in all the time, effort, and money, to care for a plant, and then not get a harvest. And, if I’m being totally honest with you guys, it feels like a black mark on my homesteaders badge. I consider myself a fairly decent gardener. I’m also a tad bit stubborn.

This my friends, is a recipe for going-to-get-it-right-if-it-kills-me. While that kind of makes me crazy at times, it’s a huge win for you. Because you get to learn what not do and what works, without all the hair pulling and rotten tomato throwing.

Course, maybe you don’t throw rotten tomatoes. Maybe you’re way more reserved and calm. I however, took great relish in hucking those rotten tomatoes as far as I could across the fence for the livestock to nose through.

Disclosure: Some of the below links are affiliate links.

Resources for Pruning Your Tomatoes and Good Plant Care

Soaker hoses– never all water to cause fungus or encourage blight by using a soaker hose

Pruning shears– for small tomato plants I use my fingers, but for the larger vines, I use pruning shears. If you can’t easily pinch them off, you don’t want to leave a gaping wound by ripping it.

This year, we put up a high-tunnel, or a.k.a. off-grid greenhouse. I was through taking chances with our rainy weather. I’m also thinking it’s the reason we’re having an unseasonably hot and dry season…. kind of like wash your car it will rain. Put up a greenhouse and it won’t!

I also invested in a soaker hose. Not one drop of water was going to touch my tomato plants this year. After raising my darlings from seed in the house, taking a full two weeks to hardening them off, you can bet I wasn’t done after I’d planted them in the ground.

One of the secrets to a good tomato harvest and larger tomatoes, is in the pruning. Why prune a tomato plant you ask?

A bit different than pruning a regular fruit tree, but the end result is the same. A better harvest.

How to Prune Tomatoes

There are two reason we want to prune our tomato plant. One is to eliminate chances for disease in the first place. Any of the leaves that touch the soil should be removed. If they drop down into the soil, they’ll get water on them and act as a ladder for any disease to climb up into the plant. Any of the leaves that appear damaged, yellowing, spotty, or dying should also be removed, they can be the beginnings of blight and you want that eradicated immediately.

The second reason is your tomato plant will put more energy into the foliage if not pruned than it will into producing fruit. We don’t tons of lush green leaves, we want tons of ripe tomatoes. A bonus reason is we want plenty of air circulation around the ripening fruit and too many leaves don’t allow for good air flow.

Damaged leaves and also touching the soil need to be removed.

You’ll want to prune off all the lower leaves that can or are touching the soil. You may use pruning shears or just use your thumb and pinch them off if small.

The second item you’ll want to prune is the sucker shoots. This is true for Indeterminate tomato plants, not determinate. Say what, a determined tomato? No, not quite. Don’t worry, I got ya covered.

Most heirloom tomato plants are indeterminate and need the sucker shoots removed. We grow an all heirloom garden so we’re safe there. However the packet of seeds you used should tell you which kind it is. If not, here’s the basic difference between them.

Determinate tomato plants are bushy, not tall, yield all of their crop in one to two weeks, and it dies after the first crop.

Indeterminate tomato plants are taller, need to be staked or caged, produce fruit until the first frost, and do best when their sucker shoots are removed. Read here a more thorough explanation on the differences between Determinate and Indeterminate.

Now that you know what kind of tomato plant you have, what’s a sucker shoot?

Sucker shoots grow in the crotch of the branch, between the main stem or trunk of the tomato and the branch. They grow up right. They will produce flowers and fruit, but too many of them and they compete with the main plant and will actually produce a smaller tomato and harvest.

If you remove all of them, you do cut into your overall yield. I prefer to leave about two to three sucker shoots on my larger plants. It’s totally up to you how many to leave or not leave.

If you leave them, it won’t hurt your plant, but the plant will do better without them. Just pinch it off with your thumb.

Don’t leave your pruned leaves on the ground by your tomato plant. Discard of them away from the garden.

One note of caution, if your tomatoes are in direct sunlight, don’t remove so many of the branches there isn’t any shade left for the tomatoes. Tomatoes need to be shaded by the leaves so they don’t become burnt in the hot sun.

Will you look at these beauties, just waiting to turn to drops of rubies in a few more weeks. Is your mouth watering thinking of all the tomato fun we’ll have in the kitchen? Or maybe a fried green tomato to get things started early…

Are you growing tomatoes? What’s your best tomato growing tips?

You’re going to have an abundance of tomatoes, learn the best ways to preserve them with our Ultimate Home Food Preservation Guide!

Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.

Original article and pictures take http://melissaknorris.com/2014/07/09/howtopruneyourtomatoplantsforabetterharvest site

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