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General discussion regarding the techniques and methods used to successfully grow tomato plants in containers.

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Old June 8, 2016   #61
BigVanVader
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This thread is great and needs a sticky. Now to my question. I am pruning more heavily than ever before this year and I am curious about weather you prune petioles? I decided to prune several of mine as they were hiding the fruit and/or there were several branches in one area and since I am spraying so much I found it impossible to coat the interior leaves effectively. I assumed it was ok from pics I have seen but I do worry about sun scald and taking too many leaves off. Is there a number of laterals I should leave based on the number of tomatoes or some other guideline I can follow? At the moment I am just kinda winging it since I normally just prune suckers and bottom growth.

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Old June 8, 2016   #62
AKmark
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BigVanVader, I either prune the leaf off very close to the stem, or grab it and pry upwards to snap it off, never pry downwards, it will leave a tear down the stalk. Keep in mind I mainly grow in greenhouses, about 25 percent of the sun UV is reduced, so sun scald is not a problem. I purposely expose the fruit to get it to ripen faster on the bottom of the plants. Outside plants, even up here, do need some shade until they blush.
I think pruning suckers off, and keeping the very bottom leaves cleaned off would help, just prune them as the fruit comes off a particular truss.
I even started cleaning up the determinates, inner leaf mess that is, there are plenty of leaves to spare, and it keeps disease from starting where air flow cannot penetrate the foliage. Production is going just fine on them also.
Good luck
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Old June 9, 2016   #63
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This may help people when they have to string plants by themselves.

Lift the plant to the desired height.

Grab the plant with your pinky, ring, and middle finger and hold it.

Grab your drop string with other hand, stretch it down tight, and feed it too your thumb and index finger, which are not holding the plant.

Take a clip in your free hand and insert the tight rope into the teeth and slightly close the clip, this will hold it snug on the rope. You want to place it under a large sturdy leaf around the stalk, that is the second highest place on the plant where you would place a clip. Your next clip will attach above it, the string will be tight now and you can place the second clip easily. Doing it this way makes it much easier by yourself.

The other pic is a spot where I found some mold. Get a wet cloth and remove the mold without poofing it all over the place. Next you want to scrape and cut away all of the damaged stalk, it will heal right up.

Here are a few more pics of production. Early Girl is the perfect round fruits. Chapman is the green tomato truss, Crnkovoc Yugoslavian has ribbed pink beefsteaks in the truss, the others are crosses we made and are stabilizing.
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Old June 9, 2016   #64
BajaMitch
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Double posted by accident. Don't know how to delete a post.

Last edited by BajaMitch; June 9, 2016 at 05:00 PM.
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Old June 9, 2016   #65
BajaMitch
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Oh My God, AK! I can't believe my eyes. Your production is astounding.

I am in Baja right now, in my favorite coffee shop sipping on a café mocha while squarely sitting on a comfortable couch and I nearly fell off onto the ground when I saw your above photos. My wife is telling me to calm down as I fire off exclamation after exclamation; drawing too much weird attention to myself. My mind is now blown.
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Old June 9, 2016   #66
ricman
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I NEVER get tired of looking at the pictures you post. I love them and well done AK. Please keep posting the pics as your time permits.

Thanks
Rick
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Old June 10, 2016   #67
zipcode
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AKmark, how many trusses do you get per plant during a season? And, do you have problems with flower setting after a certain level, due to plants losing vigour, having too much fruit?
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Old June 10, 2016   #68
AKmark
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Zipcode, I am not sure, how many trusses, depends on the variety and rate of growth.
It does seem there is a limit to how much fruit a plant can handle at one time. I have found that proper management of your plants will help this in many ways.
Get rid of excess anything, then as fruit comes off more fruit will set, until they freeze in the late parts of the season, but they can only handle so much at one given moment.

On a side note, I got those C.Y. under control, they did in fact just need more MgSO4. Darn those fruits taste good too.
Thanks for the kind words everyone, I hope some info helps, the pics are just to drive home points.
Mitch, you made me laugh. LOL
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Old June 10, 2016   #69
Nematode
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I want to be like Mark when I grow up.
Thanks for sharing, C Y is now on my 2017 grow list.

Mark, there is a whole science to "steering" tomato plants into vegetative or generative modes, do you use these techniques, or just have a look at them and know what they need, are you the........

Tomato Whisperer?

Last edited by Nematode; June 10, 2016 at 10:07 PM. Reason: Sp
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Old June 10, 2016   #70
heirloomtomaguy
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Here are a few of my single and double stem plants. Mark you are right on the money with your technique.
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Old June 10, 2016   #71
PureHarvest
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You evil, ignorant plant pruners!
Don't you know you are reducing yields?
Oh wait, your pictures show otherwise. lol
Sorry, I've been beat up here in the past for daring to espouse single stem growing.
I was thinking the other day, the commercial fruit tree and grape guys do a similar method.
People would be stunned to see what a peach tree is pruned to look like. And they are loaded with fruit.
They don't let the plants express their natural form or let them grow rampant and wild.
And that's ok!
I think some people feel plants are like animals and that it is mean to prune them because that is abuse and plants have feelings. Or that changing the natural shape or tendency of a plant is unnatural or takes the plant out of its natural state and who are we to control nature.
-Rant off-

Last edited by PureHarvest; June 10, 2016 at 10:53 PM.
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Old June 11, 2016   #72
AKmark
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Nematode, I start bumping up my K at the second truss, by the fourth I am full strength. Other than that I do walk my plants daily, I look for deficiencies, and disease, I just adjust where and when I have too. If you have some information please share it, we certainly want to take a look.

Heirloomtomaguy, looking good, it is nice to see others with loaded plants, it does show that you put a lot of effort into your crop. Please add any technique that you use that is missing. Thanks for the pics.
PureHarvest, Things on my end are simply what I have found that works best for me. I want the most per square foot of space, the single or double vine works best for me to achieve that, and I have tried other methods. I also control disease much better, I can spot it much easier. I used to be proud of my gigantic plants, but I did realize I was not getting the most from my space. We will agree there are many ways to get good crops of tomatoes, but I believe there are only a few ways to get peak production.
Thanks for adding to the thread ya-all.
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Old June 11, 2016   #73
sjamesNorway
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKmark View Post
Zipcode, I am not sure, how many trusses, depends on the variety and rate of growth.
It does seem there is a limit to how much fruit a plant can handle at one time. I have found that proper management of your plants will help this in many ways.
Get rid of excess anything, then as fruit comes off more fruit will set, until they freeze in the late parts of the season, but they can only handle so much at one given moment.

On a side note, I got those C.Y. under control, they did in fact just need more MgSO4. Darn those fruits taste good too.
Thanks for the kind words everyone, I hope some info helps, the pics are just to drive home points.
Mitch, you made me laugh. LOL
I, too, want to thank you for your advice. I doubled the dose of MgSO4, and see no sign of Mg deficiency. And I'm growing C.Y. due to your recommendation. It's just set fruit, so it will be a while before I can taste it.
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Old June 11, 2016   #74
AKmark
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sjamesNorway, CY has a unique taste, and rarely cracks, it is one of the better market quality heirlooms I have tried. The first couple I tried were kinda ho-hum, but did that ever change, now I can't walk past them without eating one. Sherry and I made a cross with Bloody Butcher with it too, those may be interesting, hopefully earlier and just as yummy.

I will have some F7's of a Sudduth's mystery cross I would like to send to some of you guys to try. They are unbelievably good, 4-6 OZ , mid-late season, but the taste... oh my goodness. I have been working on it for four years, I have a red and pink version from segregating the line a few years back, taste is the same. I have the F6 going now, will have plenty of seed at the end of the season for next year.
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Old June 11, 2016   #75
Nematode
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKmark View Post
Nematode, I start bumping up my K at the second truss, by the fourth I am full strength. Other than that I do walk my plants daily, I look for deficiencies, and disease, I just adjust where and when I have too. If you have some information please share it, we certainly want to take a look.
.
Irrigation timing, irrigation amount, EC, temperature, leaf and truss pruning can be used to steer plants vegetative (leaf producing) or generative(fruit producing). Apparently a balance is best.

The pictures tell a story too. They are growing 6 single stem plants in a single grow bag. Typical yield for these intensive systems can be 60kg/square meter for a 50 week season. I wouldn't expect to get close to those yields from any heirlooms, but still there is info here that can be useful.



https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...RwBkl47bcuPlCA

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...6tXwEAKJsQ49tQ
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