danmac0710
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are these tomato plants suitable for growing up a string?

Hi, I am new to growing tomatoes so I appreciate your help. Could you please look at the attached image and let me know whether you think each of the 5 plants (A to E) looks like it is suitable for growing up a string to save space. I think that they all come from either a Roma VFN, floridade, or a Rio Fuego packet from a company called Stark Ayres, but I am not 100% sure as we have various other types growing in the garden too. Neither the seed packets nor the company website gives information on whether they are determinate or not. We live in Southern Mozambique (Africa), right next to the Indian Ocean so we are in the middle of summer right now. We have super-sandy soils here and it gets very hot.

Update: I researched that these 3 varieties are all determinate, so should be bushes rather than vines. Is it possible to grow these types up a string?

Thanks.
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tomc
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Re: are these tomato plants suitable for growing up a string

I've had better luck growing semi-determinates in a cage. VS string or California weave.
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applestar
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Re: are these tomato plants suitable for growing up a string

I agree -- determinates shouldn't be pruned, which is what you do when growing INdeterminate varieties up single string per vine trellis ...limiting to 1-3 vines (main plus two side branches, all pruned of sucker branches) per plant. Fruit clusters will form every two or three leaf nodes along the vines.

Determinates terminate each branch with a fruit cluster and doesn't grow any further or produce any more fruit clusters so cutting them off will result in less to nearly no harvest.

If animal/pest predation or significant fungal issues isn't a concern as in a dry climate, the determinate plants don't need to be trellised at all and can be allowed to sprawl on the ground. Some people find it works better to mulch (NOT manure) the ground well first.
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imafan26
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Re: are these tomato plants suitable for growing up a string

I can't tell how closely the tomatoes are planted. Trellising allows you to grow more tomatoes in less space, but it is time consuming to tie them up, as they do not naturally climb and they do not have tendrils to grip. The indeterminates need to be pruned; the determinate tomatoes as has been mentioned really should not be pruned because you will be pruning out your fruit.

I still prefer to cage tomatoes. It is less work than trellising but takes up more space. You could also just put a sturdy stake on the plants for additional support just to keep them upright, or just let them sprawl.
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danmac0710
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Re: are these tomato plants suitable for growing up a string

Thanks for all your advice. I made some cages out of old branches for them this afternoon. I live in Mozambique and can't find seeds for indeterminate types hence my question. I think some of them have been fried by the hot summer sun though, so I will have to be patient and see if they bounce. Thanks again.

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applestar
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Re: are these tomato plants suitable for growing up a string

In the parts of the USA where the summers are extremely hot, they can't grow tomatoes during the hottest part of the summer, and even though it seems like they should be able to grow the indeterminate varieties that require long growing season, the opposite is sometimes true and they need to grow faster growing determinate varieties started from seeds in winter to plant and grow and finish producing before the hot summer arrives.

Then if the winter can get too cold/frosty, they can only grow another short season variety started from seeds in the summer under cooler conditions -- in shade, inside air conditioned house or well insulated building with supplemental fluorescent lights -- to plant and grow and produce during the fall until the frost kill them. I believe where the winter can be mild or very late to arrive, sometimes gardeners take the chance and plant indeterminate varieties for fall because if it doesn't freeze, they can produce well into the winter months.

Is the climate similar in your area? Would that account for the lack of availability of indeterminate varieties?
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imafan26
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Re: are these tomato plants suitable for growing up a string

What variety are you growing. In heat above 90 degrees most tomatoes will stop producing, you need to have a heat tolerant variety. In the heat you may not want to do much pruning since you will need the leaf cover to protect the fruit. Consider shading the tomatoes. I have done that by planting on the north side of the house, since the house will shade the plants in the afternoon and I have a trellis made from a tent frame covered with CRW. I plant a squash on the trellis and it grows over the top so it provides shade for whatever is beneath it.
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