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Training Tomatoes downward?

Hello and thanks for any help

My house is trying a new Hydroponics roof top Tomato system that base/pot starts over 3 feet high off the ground/roof. I was wondering if Tomatoes can be trained to grow back downward. I rather not have to try to make a support system that goes that high (with plant growth could then reach 10 feet+) and was wondering if they can train the younger tomato stalks to go downward to a support system like chicken wire or thin "clothesline" system to cling to.
If so, how big upward growth would be needed before u-turning or bending them back towards the ground? Is that even possible?

I hope I've made myself clear on what we are hoping for.

Thanks for any help.

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

Not very easily, plants basically always want to grow upward and toward the light. If you search this forum re topsy-turvy tomatoes, you will see lots of pictures of tomatoes that were started in upside down planters, so they come out the bottom of the planter, hanging downward. But they immediately start turning themselves around and start growing upward.

I have vines (not tomatoes) on trellises. They grow up the trellis just great, but when they get over the top of the arch and I want them to start growing down the other side, it is a constant fight with the plant. I get it to grow down a bit and then it twists itself right up. And it seems to slow the plant growth when I'm fighting it like that.

I'm not saying it can't be done, not something I've ever tried. A lot easier would be just to get them to grow straight sideways from the container.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2097
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:27 pm
Location: Mid Ohio

There is no need to train them, they will hang downward under their own weight the same way that they sprawl on the ground when unsupported. I toured a hydroponic U-Pick farm in Florida several years ago and they were using a stacked box system (looked like stacked styrofoam beer coolers) for everything from strawberrys to tomatoes. The top of the stack was chest high. The tomatoes simply slumped over the sides and hung down under their own weight. Initial vgetative growth can get fairly tall before slumping, but once fruit weight is on the plant only the tips will try to grow upwards.

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