A sun-ripened tomato is a juicy delicacy favored by most gardeners. You can choose from over 10,000 varieties of tomatoes in a wide array of shapes and colors. Many are beefy and huge, and others are tiny, bite-sized nuggets. If you want to make the most of your harvest, you might want to consider training and pruning the plants.
Pruning Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes
Determinate tomatoes grow short and bushy. They usually produce all their fruit at one time in a lush display. Typically, they will grow to a height of between three to five feet tall. You can grow them either in a container or directly in the ground. They thrive on light pruning but don’t overdo it or you will hinder their fruit production. However, light pruning to create airflow and allow sunlight to reach all areas of the plant will improve its health and help boost fruit production.
Indeterminate tomatoes grow in a vining fashion and produce fruit throughout the growing season. Heirloom tomatoes are almost always indeterminate. They can often grow to a height of 12 feet tall (you can also let them sprawl across the ground). Pruning during the vegetative growth of the plant helps make the plant focus on fruit production instead of foliage growth.
Training Your Tomato Plants
Most gardeners stake their tomato plants to protect them from disease and pests. Tomatoes that are allowed to touch the ground can easily meet pests and fungi. Also, staking the plants helps you have more room when gardening. If you don’t want to use stakes, then you can use a tomato plant cage or weave the plants up.
Nutrients for Tomatoes
Tomatoes have the reputation of being heavy feeders, which means they enjoy having access to ample nutrients to thrive.
When you first plant young tomato transplants into the soil, give them a chance to adjust before you start a fertilizer routine. Wait for three or four weeks before the first application of the fertilizer. For optimum success pick a liquid nutrient solution to meet the plant foliar and root needs. Follow the directions on the nutrient’s label for application instructions.
Try to avoid fertilizing tomato plants late in the growth cycle. Once the plant starts to set an abundant crop of fruit, it’s time to stop fertilizing or you might encourage too much vegetative growth and not enough fruit production. Also, if the plant refocuses on its vegetative growth, then it will stop producing blooms, so you won’t achieve as much fruit production.
Remember to pick fruit daily to encourage new fruit development. Also regularly picking the fruit ensures that the absorbed nutrients go towards new fruit development instead of sustaining overripe fruit on the vine.
At Humboldt Secret Supplies, we carry a full line of plant nutrients to meet all of your tomato garden needs. Contact us to learn more.