Tomato Tips and Tricks

Bush-types (determinates) need little to no pruning during the growing season. They benefit from minor supports such as a tomato cage – so they are good choice for outdoor growing. Be careful to put the cage on when they are small so it is easier to pull the leaves up through as it grows. Pruning bottom leaves allows for better airflow, especially in a greenhouse setting. Allow 24-36” between determinate tomato plants.

 

Vine tomatoes (indeterminates) need to be pruned weekly and supported – having a string that goes up to the top of your greenhouse that you can let down as it grows is a great option. You can choose to have multiple “leaders”, which is to say to allow a sucker to grow into a stem – but the more leaders you have, the small your tomatoes will be. One additional or just the original stem is plenty. Aside from the active choice to let a sucker grow into a leader – the suckers are what you must prune weekly. Allow for 36-48” between indeterminates, based on how many leaders you allow.

 

End of season pruning: Expected first frost is approximately thanksgiving on the Avalon. One month before, in order to allow the plants to put their last bit of energy into the remaining tomatoes, prune: the growing tip, suckers, flower clusters, and gradually prune away some leaves.

 

General tips:

  • Plant tomatoes deep as possible, removing leaves if necessary as they will grow root out of the stem. Exception: Tiny Tim’s – they’re too compact!
  • Be consistent in watering – going from very dry to very wet results in “cracked” tomatoes.
  • Pick ripe or mostly ripe tomatoes before watering.
  • Water ideally through drip irrigation (add fabric to the solo cup it came in, burying to the top of the cup and fill with water regularly which should slowly release the water).
  • Avoid getting water on the leaves in full sun. 

Tiny Tim's should be pruned for airflow particularly in greenhouses as they are so compact that mold can take hold. Be careful to look closely right into the stem and pick off any yellowing or moldy leaves as they appear. Even fully ripe tomatoes tend to hide in the centre of these super prolific plants!

 

 

Image from Bonnie Plants: https://bonnieplants.com/gardening/how-to-prune-tomatoes/