wisconsindead
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Sagging Tomato Stems - Hard Pruning Single Stem Indeterminat

Hey guys,

This is my first year growing tomatoes using the hard pruning technique. I am growing all plants up rope/twine. However, they are beginning to sag down the twine due to the weight of the tomatoes. For some, the stems have even snapped. Does anyone know how to counter this? I don't see anyone talking about this when using this method so I feel like I am missing something.

This picture is from 3 weeks ago before the weight of tomatoes forced the plants to start sagging. But it shows my set up.
2.JPG
1.JPG

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applestar
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Re: Sagging Tomato Stems - Hard Pruning Single Stem Indeterm

Yep the tomato stems spiraled onto strings simply slide down the strings. Bah! It's not obvious until they start bearing fruits or unless you get hit by the stray hurricane or tornado. (YEAH ...been there :oops:)

You need to securely tie them off by tying a length of softer material like strips of old T-shirts, tube socks cut in rings, or nylon stockings with runners in them (old nylons are better when water shedding and quick drying is preferred). Sort of twist and tie to the string so the knot won't slide, then tie the plant stem below a strong leaf branch. You could also X below a fruit stem to support the truss, then around and under a branch -- not too tight, just snug.

Another more horti-techie method is to use thin nylon cords/strings and tomato clip-rings which are designed to pinch closed tightly onto the string and the ring part clicks around the tomato stem.
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applestar
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Re: Sagging Tomato Stems - Hard Pruning Single Stem Indeterm

I took a picture of mine a few days? Ago, but I don't think I posted it.... let me go look.

Here it is -- this is how I'm doing it this year -- not sufficient yet since I'm playing catch up and supporting the ones that are starting to fruit as they develop. But I think you can see the ones with green strings and tomato clips? I meant to get these finished today, but ended up working on the raspberry trellis....

Image
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applestar
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Re: Sagging Tomato Stems - Hard Pruning Single Stem Indeterm

Btw which variety is the one in the photo? I see antho "tan" lines 8)
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wisconsindead
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Re: Sagging Tomato Stems - Hard Pruning Single Stem Indeterm

Thanks applestar. That variety is indigo kumquat. I purchased the seed from Johnny's seed. All the varieties i am growing this year are all new to me so it should be fun to see what i like most. That variety is already 6 ft tall!

pepperhead212
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Re: Sagging Tomato Stems - Hard Pruning Single Stem Indeterm

This year has been incredible for tomato growth in my garden! I don't know what's different - started out cooler, but I think it has made up for that with the later heat, thus the increased growth. I even had a few with the main stem snapped off in wind storms, taking off about 75% of the plant, and you can't tell which ones, now!

Didn't get much early ripening, but it's really starting up now. I am always tying the ones up that are sagging off to the sides, but it's hard to keep up with it. I'm waiting until I harvest a bunch of the stems, so I can trim them, but they are growing faster than that will take away, and I hate to trim away future tomatoes!

Here is that tomato jungle. I grow these on 6 x 6 netting on one side, and CRW on the other side, with some netting above, to extend it. You can see the 1" green vinyl tape I tie them up with (anything narrower stretches too much). Next season, I'll definitely space them farther apart!
ImageDSCF0183 by pepperhead212, on Flickr
Dave

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applestar
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Re: Sagging Tomato Stems - Hard Pruning Single Stem Indeterm

Looks amazing! Are these in SIPs or ground?

I'm in panic mode right now because I realized we might get severe storms tomorrow afternoon. THAT was why I was supposed to finish tying them up today. I do this to myself EVERY year. :roll:
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pepperhead212
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Re: Sagging Tomato Stems - Hard Pruning Single Stem Indeterm

Those are in SIPs, apple. But even those haven't been this big in the past. And this was several days ago; they were even larger yesterday, and I tied them up again, after hearing about the storms we are going to get in this area.
Dave

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