tiggy
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:52 pm
Location: devon uk

pinching out tomato plant tops

i keep reading and hearing about cutting the top off/ pinching tomato plants tops off. i have never tried this can someone please tell me what this means how much of the top do you pinch off and what benifit is it to the plant?
i have always thought i had growen my tomatos bearing a good crop of fruit, but this year i pinched out any leafy shoots i had growing on the same stem as the flowers and my crop seems to have almost doubled this year. please advise if and how i should pinch of their heads. sounds a bit cruel to me.

thanks

tiggy
:oops:

Petermax
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 2:26 am
Location: Eastern Virginia

That was my question as well - see previous post: "Tomatoes Growing Wildly". I pinched the suckers (shoots sprouting between stem and leaves) in the early stages until the plant started flowering then I stopped - at least that's what I read somwhere, not sure if correct or not. Since then the plants have grown extreemly tall spindly and in all dirrection. I was told that you can and should pinch those spindley branches ("wacking them" was the term used) and these could then be planted to produce more vines. I'm still not quite sure know to exactly and correctly - and which shoots or main stalk to trim. I did give it a cautiuos go, not sure yet of the outcome. The few shoots that I trimed and stuck in the ground look a bit sad at the momment, time will tell I suppose.

decam0
Senior Member
Posts: 142
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2006 4:03 pm
Location: London, England

I'm led to believe that you allow only 4 fruiting trusses to develop, and then you cut off the growth above the top truss. The reason being that the season is too short (in the UK anyway) for any more than 4 trusses to ripen, so it's better to grow lots of plants and keep them all short.
As you will have stopped the plant from growing upwards, it then wants to grow outwards, so watch out for the little growths that appear in the angles between branches and main stem, and pinch them out.
Apparently, these growths can be planted to make new plants - let them grow to about 4 inches, pinch them off the mother plant and then just stick them in gritty soil and keep them watered.

bunge
Full Member
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 1:08 pm
Location: Rutledge, Georgia-U.S.A.
Contact: Yahoo Messenger

whacking/topping/pinching tops off

YES, "shoots that are sprouting between the main stem and a leaf",
that's what you need to cut off the plant. I just take a little knife and a bag, basket or vase with water and go to the garden. Look real good at all the branches growing from the main trunk of the tomato plant. Cut the branches off that are looking like shoots sprouting between stem and leaves. Save these, I put them in water for a few days then plant them for more tomatoe plants!! BUT the main thing is to cut all this addition growth off the plants, so your plant will grow tomatoes and not just stems and leaves. It's not hard, and it really helps the plant. You should get lots more fruit now.
That's a good thing!!
Plus, now you can grow more new plants with those cuttings.
:wink:

tiggy
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:52 pm
Location: devon uk

whacking tomato's

hi thank you all for your advice. i am still a bit confused though. don't wish to sound thick but how do i whack! is whacking what i have already done to my tomatoes by pinching out the shoots in between flowers and stem.
read on here somewhere that you could try completely stripping the tomato plant of all its leaves and just leaving the fruit. would you advice this?
i have alot of fruit on my plants but they seem to be getting no bigger than a golf ball.
would whacking make them bigger?

thanks again
tiggy

bunge
Full Member
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 1:08 pm
Location: Rutledge, Georgia-U.S.A.
Contact: Yahoo Messenger

By "whacking" them, I was just being silly, I'm sorry.
I just ment to cut them, just like you did.
The stems you cut off are called "suckers" by the way....
I've never heard of taking all the leaves off the plants.
I do take off almost all the leaves from the suckers before I replant them to grow new plants.
Plant them deep just like you would a new plant.
hope this helps, :D
j bunge

tiggy
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:52 pm
Location: devon uk

lol bungie your last reply did make me chuckle had visions of myself stood in garden with a flycatcher/whacker whacking my tomato's was beginning to wonder what the nieghbours would think of me! lol
thanks for your advice i shall leave them to nature now and wait for my crop to ripen

thanks again
tiggy

Petermax
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 2:26 am
Location: Eastern Virginia

Tiggy,
I would not advise striping off all the leaves. Your plants need those leaves to produce sugar (the plants food). Regarding the size of your fruit I can't help you much there, what variety are they? Do you have good soil with plenty of compost mixed in, have you fertilized your tomato plants?
You may even want to have some local gardener check your soil, to make sure it has the right ph balance. They may also give you good advice to remedy your fruit size problem.
I hope this helps.
Cheers.

decam0
Senior Member
Posts: 142
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2006 4:03 pm
Location: London, England

When you've harvested most of the tomatoes and all the remaining unripe tomatoes have reached the maximum size, then you can cut off the leaves so that they can get the sun and ripen more easily.

tiggy
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:52 pm
Location: devon uk

thanks again. thimk i am getting obssessed by my plants. gonna leave then to ripin now, but just incase they don't doe's anyone know any good recipes for green tomato chutney, as according to the forecast we can expect more rain here in sunny devon.

decam0
Senior Member
Posts: 142
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2006 4:03 pm
Location: London, England

Here's one!

Preparation time less than 30 mins

Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour
Vegetarian


Ingredients
15g/½oz root ginger
8-10 chillies
2kg/4lb green tomatoes, chopped
500g/1lb apples, peeled, cored and chopped
250g/8oz raisins, chopped
625g/1¼lb shallots, chopped
2 tsp salt
500g/1lb brown sugar
570ml/1 pint malt vinegar

Method
1. Bruise the ginger and tie in a muslin bag with the chillies.
2. Place all the other ingredients in a preserving pan and suspend the muslin bag among them.
3. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, and simmer until the desired consistency is reached.
4. Remove the muslin bag. Pour into warmed sterilised jars, cover and label.

tiggy
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:52 pm
Location: devon uk

hi thanks for the recipe love chutneys but never had a go at making them before but think i will definately try this one.
mouth watering at the thought of it .

Musad
Full Member
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:04 pm
Location: Ohio

Tomato plants should only have one stem coming out of the ground. If you cut off a second stem or sucker your plants they will have bigger tomatoes. The leaves are very important in growing tomatoes I wouldn't take off the leaves unless they are brown.

tiggy
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:52 pm
Location: devon uk

hi all
well heres a tomato update!
firstly thanks for all the advice this is a cool forum.
my plants have actually done really well. (surprized to say) i have had plenty of fruit not alot of trouble with rotton ones only about 2 or 3.
however my plants are dying off now, wander if its the weather has have gone from hot sunshine to almost like autumn. british weather is so unpredictable.
Saying that although the plants look dead the exsisting fruit is still ripening with the aid of my greenhouse to which i pick the fruit when orange and finish them of in there. Anyway just to end i have had a good tomato season if somewhat short has anyone else found the same thing happening to them this year.
thanks again
tiggy

Musad
Full Member
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:04 pm
Location: Ohio

We have had fall like nights here in Ohio this week. My plants always start browning from the bottom this time of year. They still get more than 6 hours of sun but cool nights are not good. I have had a pretty good crop so far for 5 plants and the tomatoes are bigger this year. I made sure they all had only 1 main stem. I think this is more important than picking out the suckers.

Zap
Full Member
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:20 pm
Location: Connecticut

Musad wrote: I made sure they all had only 1 main stem. I think this is more important than picking out the suckers.
Hi all, new to the forum - made the leap from pot growing (ha ha, no no, I mean growing tomato's in pots) to a small garden this year.

My plants are MONSTERS over 7 feet tall. Had so many ripen at once I made my first home grown tomato sauce! Delicious!

But I digress.

Musad, I'm curious about your statement I quoted above. Near all my plants have several stems branching out near the base, and they are producing fruit?

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

I actually think that having one stem is a good thing but, having branches coming off the stem is very important such that fruit will grow on the branches.

Suckering just makes sure that the plant does not:

a) put energy into producucing more branches and therefore produces fruit

b) Does not produce branches that will shade the fruit prevent it from ripening.

Musad
Full Member
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:04 pm
Location: Ohio

I am not sure why but it was advice given somewhere to only have one main stem coming from the ground. I read this and my tomatoes are much bigger than ever before. It makes the energy go to the tomatoes rather than all the side stems I think.

tiggs&oscar
Full Member
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:51 pm
Location: Scottish Borders

Hello,

I googled pinching out tomato seedlings and came onto this site and promptly registered! This is the first time I have grown tomatoes from seed in Scotland and so far I have 5 inch long seedlings with a pair of leaves each. I think I will grow some inside and some out.

Inamon
Full Member
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 12:30 pm
Location: PA, USA

We have grow some Brandywine (Heirloom) tomatoes this year and like others I have pinched of the suckers at the bifurcation. With the brandywines I have let the suckers grow a little further on the top 3 stem joins and it now looks as if they may be starting to bud out. Is this normal for brndywines, should I let the suckers stay?
The top of the plant is budding out nicely with about 14 flower pods but with the brandywine weighing in at upto a pound per tomato is it wise to let these suckers bud out?

firefighter23
Full Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 7:19 pm
Location: WISCONSIN BABY!!

does anyone have a picture of this "one main stem"? I think i know what you mean, but im not sure...
I would like to try it on one of my potted beefstakes or beefmasters to try and get some HUGE TOMATOES!!

If anyone can explain or better- send me a picture or link i would greatly appreciate it, i think its time I start doing that cause they are around 18-24 inches tall....

Thanks Yall

Return to “TOMATO FORUM”