Tomatoville® Gardening Forums


Notices

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 1 Week Ago   #1
BigJohncn
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Cape Canaveral, FL
Posts: 9
Default Might Have Overdone the Supersweet 100 Pruning...

Hey All,

Almost a total newbie here.

A few years ago, I used this forum to help guide me with container gardening on our east-facing condo balcony in coastal Florida. Ginger2278 helped me source some native Florida tomatoes, and was really kind and helpful. I like forum threads so much better than social networking sites, and was excited to see Tomatoville still chugging away.

The "Everglades" variety Ginger sent worked out well, except for the sprawl of the greenery giving my wife fits (my fault), and some aphid / spider mite (I think) infestations. ;-) Got tons of tomatoes. We had to evacuate for a hurricane that fall, so that was the end of the experiment.

The last couple of years we have tended to be out camping on road trips much of the summer, so have not had any plants, but with the current situation, we are here all summer this year, so giving it another go! I tried to germinate the remaining four seeds Ginger had sent, but they were non-viable after all this time.

By the time I got to the local garden center, the only cherry-type tomatoes left were the fortunately SuperSweet 100s, which I had heard good things about for hot and humid conditions. There was literally only one four-pack of 3-inch or so seedlings. They had a big green caterpillar munching on them, and only two looked like they would live. That was 16 days ago, and oh, my, have they grown.

My question has to do with pruning. The last time I did not prune the container-based tomatoes much, and our narrow balcony became a bit of a jungle. This year, I decided to prune following the "below the first flower cluster method" I had read about online on various gardening sites.

I think I waited too long, however, and after pruning today, I feel like I may have injured my healthy plants. I FEEL like I've hacked them to bits, to be honest, particularly the middle one in this picture. The one on the right got away from me and branched into two main stems. The farthest one is actually the two "sickly" seedlings that I thought wouldn't live. They are now the healthiest and the tallest...so, go figure.




To give an idea of how fast they are growing, here they are three mornings ago (6/22/20), entirely un-pruned for comparison.





Here is a close up of the middle one I may have doomed. In my defense, I had not had coffee yet when I started.



So, give it to me straight, Doc. I can take it. Just how bad off are these guys? I know I can't undo the damage, but how can I help ensure the middle one recovers? Should I change my approach with the others? Any advice appreciated!

Regards,

Johncn

Last edited by BigJohncn; 1 Week Ago at 11:36 AM. Reason: Add photo
BigJohncn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1 Week Ago   #2
BigJohncn
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Cape Canaveral, FL
Posts: 9
Default

Hi,

For reference, I was using Frank Ferrandino's guide here, and here (PDF), among others on the Interwebs. This diagram is one I have seen several places, but I can't find the reference at the moment. I took things a little to literally, I fear...






Regards,


Johncn
BigJohncn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1 Week Ago   #3
asaump
Tomatovillian™
 
asaump's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Maine, 4b
Posts: 69
Default

Your plants will be ok. I personally grow one or two stems for indetermine plants which Super Sweet 100's are. Have a couple growing now. Should look up online about pruning suckers to help keep the plants under control. Some people prune to 1 stem and some don't believe in it. I've had good luck doing the pruning of suckers. I would not take any bottom branches off until the plants are a bit larger though. Wait until you get some flower clusters before pruning off any more branches and only as shown above in the picture.

By the way, nice view from the deck.
__________________
Ken
asaump is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1 Week Ago   #4
BigJohncn
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Cape Canaveral, FL
Posts: 9
Default

Thanks for the response and encouraging words. I forgot to mention that part of my motivation was that all three plants have some flower clusters that opened yesterday. So, from what I had read, I figured it was time. Not many flowers yet, but I hope I have not cut back on the leafy green parts too much and shut down the energy factory...or reduced potential clusters on the side stems. They were growing very rapidly pre-pruning.



No more sucker pinching until after coffee.


Johncn
BigJohncn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1 Week Ago   #5
BigJohncn
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Cape Canaveral, FL
Posts: 9
Default

And now the right hand one has a few leaves starting to brown and curl. Been all luxuriously bright green and healthy until yesterday's chop job....so something is wrong from the pruning, I'd guess.


Johncn
BigJohncn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1 Week Ago   #6
hovermother22
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Chicago
Posts: 64
Default

I don't want to be the bearer of bad news -- and most people on here know a heck of a lot more about this stuff than I do, so take this with a grain of salt -- but I thought maybe I read somewhere along the line less pruning is better with cherry varieties? Maybe somebody can weigh in, though, who knows what they are talking about. You do have a long season there and lots of time left for new growth, so in my very humble and ignorant opinion, I bet you are okay.
hovermother22 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1 Week Ago   #7
BigJohncn
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Cape Canaveral, FL
Posts: 9
Default

Thanks, and I will take all the good vibes I can get. The three cherry tomato plants have been "droopier" the last two days than they were before pruning, but it has been mid-90s and muggy....so, I've been pretty droopy, too. ;-)

They have continued to grow vertically, however, so that is a bit encouraging. Here you can see what two days worth of growth difference is from prior shots. Crossing my fingers I haven't wrecked my contribution to our tiny container garden.

Thanks, all.

Johncn






Last edited by BigJohncn; 1 Week Ago at 04:57 PM.
BigJohncn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1 Week Ago   #8
Father'sDaughter
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: MA/NH Border
Posts: 4,882
Default

They will be fine, but yes heavy pruning is usually not done with cherries as it drastically reduces fruit production. Each truss produces just a small handful worth of fruit, probably equivalent to getting just one full size tomato per truss on a non-cherry plant.

If you decide to try growing tomatoes again next year, check into the varieties produced by the Dwarf Project. They are perfect for growers like you with limited space or restricted to container growing. Victory Seeds carries all of the released varieties.
Father'sDaughter is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 1 Week Ago   #9
BigJohncn
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Cape Canaveral, FL
Posts: 9
Default

Thanks. Live and learn, I guess. Hopefully, we will still get some production this season. I had heard the Supersweet 100s were especially productive, so was worried they'd get too bushy. It was all the garden center locally had, tough, when I was looking for cherry-type tomatoes. I wish I had just left them alone, now no matter what bad things happen in their life cycle, I will blame the pruning. Viruses? Yep...could have weakened 'em and allowed virus in through wounds. You get the idea. ;-)


Johncn
BigJohncn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1 Week Ago   #10
zipcode
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Romania/Germany , z 4-6
Posts: 1,397
Default

They're still very young. It will be fine in the end, pruning certainly doesn't kill tomatoes.
Pruning of most hybrid cherry tomatoes is good actually, 2-3 stems is the recommended rate. They usually have some multiflora gene, and pruning will encourage more flowers per truss, so total production will still be solid. Many OP cherries have the problem of having a set limit of flowers per truss of about 8-12, those are the ones people talk about when saying don't prune cherry tomatoes.
zipcode is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 6 Days Ago   #11
kilroyscarnival
Tomatovillian™
 
kilroyscarnival's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 599
Default

Hi from Orlando! Like you I get a lot of inspiration from this site, and like you I am by no means an expert. I see SuperSweet 100 is indeterminate, so pruning shouldn't be a problem.

With your east-facing balcony, I don't think your toms are getting too much full sun, which believe it or not is sometimes an issue here in Florida summers. I'm about to put some shade cloth on the tops of my cages for the few I have going. My main season was Oct-May, and those were mostly determinates which have finally passed their viability. But I'm experimenting with a few cherry types (repeats from fall) to see if I can tweak them through the summer. I expect I'll see more pests and more issues with water. We finally have our drip irrigation set up, and I'm working on adjusting the right amount; the flip side is we'll get those Florida tropical heavy rains often, and those managed to split the last of my spring fruit this month. I may even put little rain ponchos on over the grow bags so they don't get too drenched if I get to the fruit stage.

Speaking of pruning, I managed to break off the top 5" of the growing tip on one of the Ramblin Stripes a week ago while rearranging. It was tied to a bamboo stake and just ripped. I put the broken off bit in water and it's rooting nicely, and meanwhile, a nice big sucker popped up just beneath the break, so it doesn't look like complete failure.

There are a couple of Central Florida gardening groups on Facebook, not tomato focused, but I've found them a good spot to commiserate about our growing challenges here. A couple of folks really talk up the Everglades tomatoes, and they are apparently a hard to find seed right now, especially with all the quarantine-inspired beginning gardens.

Also like you, I joined years ago, then grew tomatoes for a few years, had one particularly pest and critter filled bad time and gave up. Then moved into an apartment for a bit, and now trying again.

Best of luck... I think they'll do fine. Keep us posted!

Ann
kilroyscarnival is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6 Days Ago   #12
BigJohncn
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Cape Canaveral, FL
Posts: 9
Default

Thanks for feedback, and glad to see a fellow Central Floridian. I'm lucky in that the balcony ceiling provides a shady cave all afternoon, and so protects from hail and strong rains. But, I have room for like three potted plants, total...lol.

They are still curling leaves late in the day, but growing vertically, and developing more flower groups. That is encouraging to me.

Not sure if this is normal for this Supersweet 100 hybrid, but the flower groups just keep growing. I counted 24 in this dense cluster so far...and it's still going. On the plant I was most worried about having pruned too severely. Never had tomato plants do that before.



Here is another day and half of growth. Sorry for bad lighting...should have taken the pictures this morning.





I hope Ginger2278 is still gardening along. I checked the other day, and hadn't seen her in a while. She mailed me a small packet of those Everglades tomato seeds, and was so very nice about it. Her last post was in June of 2019.


Regards,

Johncn

Last edited by BigJohncn; 6 Days Ago at 03:35 PM. Reason: Removed extra break tags editor keeps adding on submit function
BigJohncn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6 Days Ago   #13
RJGlew
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 576
Default

All looks fine - from what I can see you have pruned to a couple of leaders per plant which is great to keep then under control on your balcony. Tomatoes are pretty weedy so they will recover quickly from heavy pruning. I'm not sure a lot of FL folks grow through the summer though - I've read it can be too hot to set fruit - best to check with some of the FL folks on the board.

Last edited by RJGlew; 6 Days Ago at 12:47 AM.
RJGlew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4 Days Ago   #14
BigJohncn
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Cape Canaveral, FL
Posts: 9
Default

Hi Again,

Well, yes, they are weedy. ;-) Despite my concerns, vertical growth has continued, and we have more suckers emerging now. The growth rate has been about 11 inches in the last three days, actually.



Because we are high up, and don't get many bee or insect visits on the balcony, I did some "manual pollination" last week with gentle shaking, and an electric toothbrush...with my wife making fun of me, I might add. ;-) But, coincidence or not, the first tiny nubs of tomatoes seem to be emerging in a few clusters.

The leaf curling is odd. Most of what I've been able to find talks about pesticides or pollutants causing it. I'm wondering if the daily sea breeze - which coats vehicles and windows will salt film - might account for the late afternoon droop. In the morning, they are standing at attention, and the leaves and stems stick out pretty straight. The sea breeze doesn't develop until mid-day. By 5 PM or, it seems that they curl up and droop.

Like this...





Same plant, same leaf clusters this morning....



Thunder in bound. Have a great evening, Tomatovillians!

Regards,

Johncn

Last edited by BigJohncn; 3 Days Ago at 09:08 AM. Reason: Add morning picture
BigJohncn is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:08 AM.


★ Tomatoville® is a registered trademark of Commerce Holdings, LLC ★ All Content ©2019 Commerce Holdings, LLC ★