Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

April 1, 2009

More tomato talk

I can't tell you how glad I get to see information as well received as the tomato post from yesterday has been! That's really the best part of blogging and it's the reason I drag my butt on here every night.

Don't sweat asking the follow-up questions Eric, really, you guys make my life easy when you ask me about something. It's hard sometimes to think of what I want to write about day to day and when I have this kind of great interaction it makes it easier on me and I think it's really helpful to see all the other opinions and ideas out there. I also sometimes don't know if there's any interest in the particular topic I'm writing about so hearing the follow-ups or asking for more, like Steph did, let's me know we're onto something. That's the greatest strength we all have online is the power of the collective and of the interplay of our ideas and lessons learned, don't you think? I'm also glad to have gotten to hear from a couple of new folks through this process. Glad to have ya!

So then, inspirational talk and blushing out of the way....check! On to business.
Steph, I did a little search and came up with a couple of really good links to help you visualize what I'm talking about with the indeterminate tomato plant pruning:

The first one is a great page all about pruning tomato plants. I don't tie mine up like they do, but there's no hard and fast way to do this so give it a read. Additionally, Kory I totally agree with what you added in the comments section about pruning up the bottom most leaves. This article touches on that. Not spreading disease is a good point as well, hadn't thought of that.

This page is a pdf provided by the Colorado state extension Master Gardener program that goes into all kinds of information on Tomatoes. It is VERY good information!
For all of you that said that you were planning on modeling trellis after my framework system, this pdf has some great illustrations of trellising methods that could easily apply to mine. In fact, one of them, the fan trellis is not one that I've ever seen before, but could potentially be adapted to that trellising system. (On that note...If any of you DO get similar set-ups put in place this year send me a couple of pics so I can show them off to everyone OK? Don't be shy.)

Now, in an effort to kill two birds with one answer, jc and darren had to kind of related questions. jc asked if I would grow tomatoes in the same method as the beans, and Darren wanted to know what happens when they reach the top of the trellis. Yes, j.c. I would and in fact WILL do it. All I'll need to do it add one more cross piece to the top section, centered on it, and then run the strings down to the bottom. When the vine has reached the top, well...it goes over the top to be simple about it, or I train it along the top or yeah I would prune it off. The later would certainly be the case if it were late in the season and I wanted to ensure the fruit that had already set had the energy in the plant used to ripen it before the first frost.

On a final note, Eric asked if I had any more thoughts on planting shade tolerant plants in the shadow of the larger ones. I do, and I think it would actually take a little writing so I'll go into more detail soon. In the short-term however, and in the interest of making sure no one waits too long take this answer. Plant the shade/cool tolerants during their regular season but do so taking into consideration of where the larger plants will be growing later. The shade tolerants will be OK in the shade on a summer day, but need the full sun now while it's cooler.

More to come on that later. Thanks for the great input.


Eric said...

Excellent links P~, thanks for including those. I saw what J.C. was talking about in the first link where the leaves were pruned up to the first flower cluster. This would allow more light to get down to the shaded crops too. I was worried about rampant tomato plants shading everything out.

I think I need to dig more garden beds. The second link said to not plant tomatoes (or tomato relatives) in the same area for 4 years! Wow! I only have three beds right now. I guess I better get busy!

Steph said...

Those really are great links. There is so much more information than pruning! Thank you. I think I need to take over a vacant lot in order to experiment with these indeterminates.

Billie said...

dumb question... what is the difference between a determinate and indeterminate tomato plant?

P~ said...

Eric~ on my first day of the master gardener class the instructor told us the most important rule of horticulture. The "Depends" rule.
Basically there's little if any hard and fast rules in plants. basically...It depends... If you have only three beds, you rotate them the best you can. You can also use things like clear plastic solarization of the soil, regular compost amendments and cover crops that will do more good for your soil than the depleting effects of that one year you can't rotate.
That said, I am of course always in favor of more beds as well!

Steph~ I know right?

Billie~ No dumb questions. Indeterminate tomatoes tend to vine and will produce consistant average numbers of fruits (tomatoes) over a long period of time. These are usually used for slicing tomatoes for sandwiches and such. Determinate tomatoes tend to be bushier and require little if any pruning. They grow to full size quickly and then set a large number of fruit that all ripens over a very short period time to give one big harvest. These are your canning tomatoes by in large. hope that clears it up. Sorry for making the assumption that everyone knows.

Best to you all.