New to tying up 'Maters?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by SherrieC, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. SherrieC

    SherrieC Well-Known Member

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    This year for the first time ever I've put in metal fence posts every 15 ' and strung high tensile wire, and tightened it, and from that am hanging binder twine, and twirling it around the tomato plants.. Does anybody have experience with this or simular where you just wrap bt around the central leader? It says to break off all branches except the central leader, and I did break off all the suckers, but there are two main branches at the base on either side of the main leader do I break those off too?? I was afraid I might over stress my tomatoes. I'm hoping to Maximise my harvest to the Max this year!
     
  2. Barb

    Barb Well-Known Member

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    Never seen this done. I'm trying to picture it. But binder twine is a little rough for tying tomatoes isn't it ? You can't tie it tight or your tomatoes won't have room to grow and loose will rub on the vines. Maybe I'm over reacting as we are so windy and everything is always moving so I tie with old flannel.
     

  3. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

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    I use strips of pantyhose material. You need to tie it fairly loosely or you'll choke the life out of your plants. You can also use strips of old cotton sheets or any other fabric. Electric cable ties are good, too, but don't pull them too tight.
     
  4. sylvar

    sylvar Well-Known Member

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    I used to use strips cut from an old t-shirt. Now I use 5 foot tall cages made from welded wire. Personally, I don't pinch off suckers unless they are going somewhere I don't want them too.

    Good luck

    Shane
     
  5. SherrieC

    SherrieC Well-Known Member

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    Well this is an actual method for high tomato yields (I think out of the book Market gardening) and I 'm not tying the twine just hanging it straight down and gentle wrapping it around the tomato plant by wobble-ing the plant in a circle and missing branches and blossums, I don't have panty hose , but twine I have a plenty, and that is what it said to use so it must be o.k. , but I was concerned having never done it that it was too much stress on them .. and it didn't actually say how just wrap the twine around. I guess time will tell :D
     
  6. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    I know a little about this subject. This is my first of following Mel Bartholemew's method of "square foot gardening". He touches on this very subject in his book. Here is the gist of it. There are two classes of tomato plants, determinate and indeterminate. Indeterminate plants are more viny, they will just keep growing and growing (well, the sky really isn't the limit), and those are the types of plants that will most benefit from vertical growing. For indeterminate tomato plants (don't bother trying this with bushy tomato plants, your harvest-to-growing-space ratio will suffer), you pick which of the two main branches you want to go with (not sure if all tomato plants start out with two main stems), and "pinch" the other one so that it doesn't grow anymore. Then, you identify the suckers (the branches that don't produce any fruit) and start pinching them, too. What you want to watch out for is not taking out too many suckers or you will render the plant unable to send sunlight to the roots through its leaves. What will happen is that you will have more harvest per square foot (using that stance, since it's how I am gardening), but the overall harvest will be less (because you took out one of the main stems). Personally, even though I plan on growing some tomatoes with trellis, I just think that tomato plants are far prettier with all their parts intact, even if they do take up more space. I'm one of those gardeners that has a hard time killing off a seedling or pruning a plant. ;)
     
  7. MsPacMan

    MsPacMan Well-Known Member

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    To be quite frank, I do not pick off any suckers or prune any tomato plants.


    I use concrete reinforcement wire in 6 foot segments to make round cylinder cages, and grow the tomato right there inside the cage.


    Of course, as an organic gardener, I grow it in rich topsoil and fertilize only with organic fertilizer mixes (e.g., GardenTone or Plant Tone by www.espoma.com ) and/or compost and/or composted manure.


    And I surround my tomato plants with basil plants, so that the two plants roots grow together. (The tomato hornworm hates the smell of basil, so if you have enough basil around in your tomato patch, you can probably avoid hornworm infestation altogether, or at least vastly reduce the hornworm problem.)


    Anyhow, my tomato plants, grown this way, are very heavy producers all season long.


    I have eighteen plants, and am harvesting somewhere around 100 pounds of tomatoes the last three weeks. I have dutifully recorded each tomato's weight in a spiral bound notebook, but have not added up the weights yet (too busy canning the tomatoes and other crops, plus other farm chores). But I will be adding up each day's take soon, and can give more accurate information then on how much this system is producing per week.


    For everyday except the last two days, I have harvested at least one but usually several tomatoes that are over a pound each. About a week and a half ago, I had two tomatoes that were each one and a half pounds per tomato!


    And everybody who eats these tomatoes reports back that they have not eaten a tomato that taste so good for many years. I've had people tell me that my tomatoes remind them of the tomatoes that they ate as children.


    Bottom Line: I'll never pinch off suckers as long as I'm producing the volume and quality of tomatoes that I'm producing with organically enriched soil and the suckers kept on!
     
  8. SherrieC

    SherrieC Well-Known Member

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    I have been leaving on suckers with blossums or overly big suckers, but those small ones come off, I learned that a long time ago, but keep in mind im in Northern Indiana with a very short growing season, and got a late start on my tomatos this year do to... Oh ya I LOST my organic heirloom seeds and had to reorder then as soon as the order got here, you guessed it! :rock:

    I was under the impression that the suckers draw useless nutrients from the plant because truthfully I'm not going to harvest many if any tomatoes from suckers this year.

    But I will TRY to keep track of how much yeild and how many from suckers. Not promising anything cause this is my busy busy busy time of year just like I'm sure its yours.