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Senior Member
Posts: 217
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:36 pm
Location: Southern California

has anyone pulled out their tomato plants for the season?

When is the best time to do this? My plants arent producing like they once were...I'm picking a couple tomatoes every 4 or 5 days or so...maybe less. Any recommendations?

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

As long as the plants are producing and the fruit quality is good, why pull the vines? I pulled all of my early plants, but they were diseased and mostly dead. Those surviving, were setting fruit very slowly, and the fruit quality just was not worth the effort. My late plants are quite lovely and should hit peak production in a couple of weeks. Hope frost holds off until late November this year.

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Earl K
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Posts: 351
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:44 pm
Location: Melbourne ,Fl.

Pulling plants :shock: I only do that when theyre dead :) Alex what is frost :lol: Well,I just got some small seedlings repotted for fall and my heatwave now has pea sized toms so I'm feeling good about my fall garden :) Sorry to those that get frost but I don't do well in the dead of summer-so I guess it works out.Good luck to all :D

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I have a whole different situation (lucky you year round gardeners). We will have frost in 3-4 weeks and then my tomatoes will be dead. So no point to pull them before then, let the green tomatoes that are on them get as far as they can.

For you, I guess it's a question of what else you would do with the space and is whatever you would put there when the tom's are gone worth more to you than the few tomatoes you are getting.

I don't know where you are in SoCal, but if you are only recently getting past heat of summer, it is possible that your tomatoes will pick up a bit. They really don't like very high temps (above 80 -85). So if you were having a lot of heat, they may do better now...

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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

TTinybu88les8B - Technically, my response may not be appropriate to your situation because I agree with rainbowgardener's assessment of your situation.

In MY case, I pulled, or more precisely, cut down quite a few tomato plants for the season yesterday, gathering a 2 gal bucket full of tomato fruits in varying shades ranging from hard green to ripe red. Some were determinates that had completely died down -- nothing but brown sticks, others had late blight and harvesting the still unaffected fruits were the only way to save them. Sadly, I had to throw away quite a few good sized tomatoes that were badly blotted with blight, though I found out (mostly too late) that in earlier stages, the blight blister doesn't penetrate the skin and the fruit may still be salvageable (I used them in cooked recipes).

All the cut down foliage, damaged fruits, as well as plant ties used to tie up the tomatoes went in a large plastic trash bag and into the trash bin. I plan on somehow sterilizing the stakes (plastic coated metal rods, bamboo, as well as wooden tomato stakes) Any suggestions for doing this? For now, I'm going to wash them with soap and water and set them out in the sun to dry.

My usual practice is to cut plants down at the soil level, and leave the roots in the soil. I hope you don't mind raising the question here whether the entire roots (or as much as can be pulled up) should be removed of the blight-affected plants? I *WILL* be applying 1~2" compost to all areas where anything was growing previously.

I still have tomato plants that are healthy and growing, and those have been sprayed with 1:7 milk:water solution to hopefully forestall any fungal infection.

ETA: Came back to add that I washed all the harvested fruits in a baking soda and water solution before sorting them for storage/processing.

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