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supagirl277
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Location: Utah Hardiness Zone: 6b

Ok, so I read that the tomatoes are going to get 6 FEET TALL??? Mine have NEVER grown that big and they at most will grow were 2 1/2 feet ish. Is that when you pluck the flowers off to produce more leaf growth and root growth?

I understand that's why those cages are used too because they get big.
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engineeredgarden
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There's lots of variables that determine how much growth tomato plants achieve, so it's kinda difficult to answer. Mine usually grow to around 9 feet, with plenty of fruitset, too. The variety that you're growing could have a little bit to do with your problem.

EG

tedln
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supagirl277 wrote:Ok, so I read that the tomatoes are going to get 6 FEET TALL??? Mine have NEVER grown that big and they at most will grow were 2 1/2 feet ish. Is that when you pluck the flowers off to produce more leaf growth and root growth?

I understand that's why those cages are used too because they get big.
It really does depend on the variety of tomato you are growing. Some get really tall. Some don't. I've never removed blossoms from a tomato plant. The first blossoms will be your first fruit. The first fruit set on a tomato plant have always been my largest tomatoes of the season. When the plants get so tall they can't be supported, some people trim the tops to force more growth and more blooms on the lower part of the plant. I've never trimmed the tops of mine, but I am thinking about doing it this year when they get really tall.

Ted
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tedln
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supagirl,

I just noticed you are in Utah. We have another gardener on the forum who grows in Utah. His name is Jal_Ut. I believe he grows at 6000 ft. of elevation. If I remember one of his posts recently, he said he doesn't grow tomatoes because tomatoes are a warm season plant and his warm season in Utah is simply to short for tomatoes. If your season is as short as his, that may be the reason your tomato plants only get about 2 1/2 feet tall. They do need an extended growing season to get tall.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

GardenJester
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I find cherry tomatoes plants tend to grow pretty big. The plants that produce 1lb fruits doesn't get much taller than 4 or 5 feet at max, but give enough time, an indeterminate cherry tomatoe plant will grow will over 7 feet.

JONA878
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Toms that are grown useing the layering system can be up to 30ft in length by the end of the growing season.
The plants are grown up strings that are wound round a hooked Z shaped holder. This is suspened from a top wire. As the plant grows the string is slowly released from the hook and the whole unit moved slightly sideways.
This keeps the ripening fruit at picking height.

TZ -OH6
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Assuming your zone 5 has a season as long as my zone 5 your tomatoes should have plenty of time to get to 6 feet or larger if they are any of the numerous indeterminate varieties. It is actually pretty hard to find the shorter plants at local nurseries/big box stores.


A five gallon bucket of potting mix, with consistent watering and some fertilizer should easily grow you a 4-6 ft tomato plant. 3-4 ft if you don't keep up with the watering.


Things that keep tomatoes from reaching their potantial

1) Soil conditions and moisture

Moisture is needed to make nutrients available to the plant. Roots can penetrate 4-5 feet into the ground to search out moisture and nutrients, but if the soil is hard below the depth you till they can't do that. Small containers dry out quickly, and soil that is low in organic matter does not hold as much moisture.


2) Nutrients.

While not nutrient hogs like some vegetables tomatoes are fairly heavy feeders. If you do not fertilize tomatoes they won't grow very big, and if the pH of the soil is way off nutrients can get locked up. I think some parts of Utah have alkalai soil, so that could be your problem if water and fertilizer are not.

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stella1751
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tedln wrote:supagirl,

I just noticed you are in Utah. We have another gardener on the forum who grows in Utah. His name is Jal_Ut. I believe he grows at 6000 ft. of elevation. If I remember one of his posts recently, he said he doesn't grow tomatoes because tomatoes are a warm season plant and his warm season in Utah is simply to short for tomatoes. If your season is as short as his, that may be the reason your tomato plants only get about 2 1/2 feet tall. They do need an extended growing season to get tall.

Ted
Ted, I'm going to respectfully disagree with Jal_Ut on this. I suspect my zone 4 in Wyoming, which is also 6000 ft in elevation, has a growing season similar to his, and I have had some spectacular tomato years, with tomato plants up to the eaves of my house. (They would have gone above that if I could have figured out how to support them :-))

It takes a little more work, though. This year, I started my seedlings on March 16. Naturally, Wyoming had a cold spring, with our temperatures running 5 to 6 degrees below average all through May. I had to set my guys out on May 10 because they were too big for the light table. Three days later, we got 6 inches of snow. Last week we had another snow, this one lighter but fiercer. I've covered these puppies every night but two this month!

They've made it so far. Based on past experience, we'll have another hard freeze sometime around June 8. Nevertheless, I think it's worth it, and yes, supagirl277, I believe these tomatoes will go at least 6', although it's early to tell. I think variety is extremely important. Like TZ -OH6 said, you'll want to go with an indeterminate for size. The best tomato plant I ever had for production and size was an Early Girl. Second best were Yellow Pears. This year I'm trying Delicious.

Give it a try. I think tomatoes are second only to peppers in terms of grower satisfaction. They're both a little more work in our climates, but they are incredibly generous if you treat 'em right!

Oh. Re: Blossom removal. I don't let my tomatoes keep their blossoms for the first two weeks after setting them out. I want them to concentrate on developing a healthy root system. After that, though, I never strip a blossom. My Delicious plants are now producing blossoms I can allow them to keep. I'm pretty excited. I might have a tomato by the end of June.

JONA878, I'd really like to see a photo of the trellis you described. Have you got one on hand? Is it something anyone can make, or do you purchase it?
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

tedln
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Thank you Stella. Since you live there, you absolutely know better than me. I can only advise what they do in a hot climate from my experience (doesn't look very good this year, to hot; to early)

I hope you have a bountiful tomato harvest.

Ted :D
I simply enjoy gardening!

tedln
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JONA878 wrote:Toms that are grown useing the layering system can be up to 30ft in length by the end of the growing season.
The plants are grown up strings that are wound round a hooked Z shaped holder. This is suspened from a top wire. As the plant grows the string is slowly released from the hook and the whole unit moved slightly sideways.
This keeps the ripening fruit at picking height.
Jona,

Have you ever seen that system used in a home garden. It sounds more like a commercial system for hot house tomatoes.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

JONA878
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Used a modified system in my greenhouse Ted and got them to around fifteen feet in length but by then it was getting into a mighty tangle.
Still can't see why it would not work outdoors in a more warmer climate though. The earlier the plants can go in the better the result.

tedln
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Jona,

Do you do all your gardening in your greenhouse are do you also have an allotment?

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

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soil
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we grow our tomatoes almost like that, up vertical strings. we wrap the stem around the string as it grows. it holds very well. and with a little pruning you end up with a wall of tomatoes as high as your trellis is. one plant last year grew up the 10 ft trellis we made it, and then jumped into the tree next to it, grew an additional 8ft. for the most part i let them get 10ft max, but a 15+ ft tomato plant was real cool.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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farmerlon
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It seems that Tomatoes tend to grow relative to their support structure. In the past, I usually "staked and tied" my tomato plants, and they tended to stay shorter... maybe because they did not really have enough support to "want" to climb higher.

This year, I put all of my tomato plants in (5ft tall) tomato Cages (heavy duty cages that I built from fence wire), and several of the plants are already peeping over the top of the cages. I was really surprised to see them get that tall so quickly.
I have heard of some folks "double stacking" the cages, and letting the plants get really tall. I will probably just pinch the tops off of the plants when necessary.

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stella1751
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tedln wrote:Thank you Stella. Since you live there, you absolutely know better than me. I can only advise what they do in a hot climate from my experience (doesn't look very good this year, to hot; to early)

I hope you have a bountiful tomato harvest.

Ted :D
Elevation and growing seasons aside, I suspect the essential difference between Utah's worst and Wyoming's best would be that Utah gets more snow and Wyoming gets more wind. I don't know which is worse on tomatoes. The traditional date for planting seeds up here is June 1. I planted most of mine (cukes and beans) yesterday.

Watermelons are the toughest in the high-elevation northern climates, in my opinion. This year I will again, for the second time in the 11 years I've gardened in Wyoming, try watermelons. The first time was a bust, but I didn't plan ahead the last time. Right now, the bed is ready and covered in black plastic in an attempt to warm the soil. I started the seeds inside, and they are currently starting their second set of true leaves. Once those are all unfurled, I'll plant. I seriously want some watermelons, but they don't like Wyoming at all!

If you or anyone else has got any tips, I'd sure like to hear them. I have prepared a hill in the center of the 6.5 x 6.5 raised bed; the literature says raising them up a bit helps to warm the soil. I lightened my loamy soil by adding peat moss and double-dug the bed to loosen everything. Lots of compost has been worked in. I will put four plants in the hill in the center of the bed, probably on Wednesday or Thursday. Did I miss any tricks for duping these poor fellows into thinking this is the Deep South?

To TZ -OH6, I found your stickie on tomato supports. Sorry about that; I completely missed it the first time :oops:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

JONA878
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tedln wrote:Jona,

Do you do all your gardening in your greenhouse are do you also have an allotment?

Ted
Hi Ted.
I haven't got an allotment , but my garden is quite large and I have spent a good part of my working life on a fruit farm that had a large glasshouse complex for growing salad and ammenity crops.
Wonderfull way to spend a working life too. !!!

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