Training Your Tomato Plants

By Chris Edmunds

 
Having an edible garden is a great way to enjoy fresh vegetables all summer. This is especially true
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Having an edible garden is a great way to enjoy fresh vegetables all summer. This is especially true with one of our favorite edibles, the tomato plant!  

Tomato plants are great for containers, with their fresh smelling leaves and juicy flavor. However, some types of tomato plants need a bit of training involving stem-tying and pruning. To help you get started, we’ve put together some helpful tips on how to train your tomato plants.

Types of Tomatoes

heirloom tomato.jpgTomato plants can be classified in two types: determinate and indeterminate. You may not have heard a lot about determinate tomato plants, since they are so well-behaved! They are newer hybrids that thrive in container gardens but yield fewer fruit, like the low-acidity Yellow tomato.

Indeterminate tomatoes are the most unbehaved of the two! Some of our favorites are the Tomato heirloom, with their high performance in the garden and delicious taste, and the melt-in-your-mouth, snack-sized Strawberry Tomato. Although they can yield a large amount of delicious fruits, their vines can grow all over the place, ending up a tangled mess. You’ll enjoy a well-kept tomato garden with some simple plant training.

Tying Your Tomato Plants

plant-fruit-food-produce-vegetable-tomato-1070094-pxhere.com (1).jpgThe first step in training your very own delicious, indeterminate tomatoes is tying the vine. You’ll have an untangled, disease-free plant, while enjoying fresh fruit ripening every 2-3 weeks, by training your vines properly!

To do this, you can use a simple stick or a more complex support system like a trellis. Start by loosely tying the main stem every 6-8” in an upwards direction along the support. If flower clusters have started to form, to prevent the stem from falling over from the fruit’s weight, tie them above the clusters. You can use a thick twine, plastic plant tape, or even reused pieces of panty hoses. Avoid using wire to prevent your tomatoes’ soft stem from being cut off!

Be sure to handle your tomato plant with care and tie knots loose enough so that your plant has just enough support, but not too much!

Pruning Your Tomato Plants

Pruning is another way to help train your indeterminate tomato plants. By doing this, you’ll keep your edible garden healthy, while maximizing your plant’s fruit production throughout the season.suckers.jpg

To keep your plant healthy, pinch all the side stems under the first flower cluster. Doing this will help maintain enough air circulation at the soil level and prevent water-borne fungal diseases.

To maximize your plant’s fruit, start by snipping off stray stems that grow about 45° between the leaf stem and the main stem. These stems will never produce any fruit, so be sure to get rid of them right away! Also remove any stems that grow below the first flower cluster.

Here are a few best practices to keep in mind when pruning:

  • Pinch with your fingers. Diseases can be passed along on steel pruners, so using your hands may prevent infecting the other plants.

  • Avoid pruning while your tomato plants are wet or during the rain. This will prevent fungus from water seeping into open wound.

Tomato plants are a great addition to your edible garden. Ensuring the stems are properly tied and consistently pruning your tomato vines will keep your plant producing enjoyable fruit all summer!  

Visit any of our Kaw Valley locations to pick up your favorite tomato plants today!

 

 

 

 
 

Our Gardening Newsletter

 

Need some advice on how to start a beautiful garden? Sign up for our email newsletter, and receive free gardening articles, resources, and container designs to your inbox.

 
 
 

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