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Indeterminate tomato advice needed

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Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  givvmistamps on 4/20/2012, 1:38 pm

I have a young indeterminate cherry tomato that has branched already, and it's setting blossoms in several places. It's almost two feet tall right now, and looks very healthy to me. I've never grown anything but patio tomatoes, so I need advice here...

1. Should I cut one branch off to encourage it to go tall and straight, or let it go on the way it is? I don't want it to get ten feet tall if I can help it.

2. I thought I had a cheap plan for supporting this thing, but Plantoid told me that bamboo will split and critters unfriendly to the garden would take residence. I don't know how long it would take for the bamboo to split, but if it would happen in one very long growing season I don't want to use those. If you have advice on a cheap way to support this thing, please share!

3. I also wondered if it is too soon to let this thing set fruit. Should I clip off the blossoms until it's bigger or let it give of it's bounty? The spring has been almost summer-like here in FL, so I don't know how long this thing will give fruit before the heat gets to be too much.

Here's a photo:

2012.04.20CherryTomato

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  littlesapphire on 4/20/2012, 3:16 pm

I usually let my vining tomatoes have a couple of main branches, but make sure to clip the new suckers as they come or you're going to have a tomato jungle on your hands. I don't know what to tell you about clipping blossoms. I've never done it and my tomatoes always produce very well. Of course, I'm much further north than you, too!

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  elliephant on 4/20/2012, 3:31 pm

Let it set fruit! You're totally spot on in thinking that it'll quickly get too hot for it to set more fruit.

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  givvmistamps on 4/20/2012, 3:54 pm

Thanks guys. I was leaning toward letting it set fruit, keeping these two main stems, but discouraging any more stems from growing...but I wanted to make sure.

Now how do I support this thing? It's going to get too heavy to stand upright really soon. I'm absolutely STUNNED at how fast it's growing compared to the other tomato plant I purchased the same day! Shocked I know I need something tall, probably at least six feet? At least, that's the impression I've gotten from other conversations here...

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  H_TX_2 on 4/20/2012, 4:10 pm

I saw that someone on another post mentioned not to use bamboo for grid lines because they will split and create an environment for unwanted pests. Last year I used bamboo poles to support pepper plants, smaller tomato plants as well as attempting to grow zucchini vertically. None of those bamboo poles split and they worked great so I am using them again this year; some new poles and some are being reused from last year. I like the bamboo because I think it looks good since it is clean, simple and natural. I also like it because it is natural and such an easily renewable resource. I think they work great for support of smaller plants.

I have often thought of growing my own bamboo but I have heard horror stories of how invasive it is and how difficult it is to remove.

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  Ha-v-v on 4/20/2012, 4:20 pm

For the last two years my indeterminate tomatoes grew up and back down the 8 ft trellis. :-D I do try to prune them as they go as well Smile keeps them separate from their friends.

Last years in June...

I do not have that trellis up this year, different plan Smile I do have an 8ft trellis though.

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  givvmistamps on 4/20/2012, 4:48 pm

Maybe I should just buy a couple of 10' pipes to sink into the soil on either side, and use netting or something to support it? PVC comes to mind.

Well, since I agree on how attractive it looks, I'll be using bamboo for my determinate tomatoes and anything else that needs staking, but definitely NOT for my indeterminate cherry tomato! The longest bamboo I can get locally is 6', and the store is out of stock, so my next option is 5'...after sinking a portion into the ground that won't be anywhere near tall enough for the cherry tomato! I can watch the bamboo and when it starts to split I'll stop using it in the garden.

I would love to grow my own bamboo also, but I'm pretty sure it's too hot here. Back in the mountains of NC we had river cane, a local bamboo that grew along rivers and in low-lying areas...but I doubt it would survive here in the subtropics.

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  H_TX_2 on 4/20/2012, 4:54 pm

There are many different types of bamboo and I think some of them will grow in several different climates. My neighbor used to have some bamboo growing next to his house here in Houston. The heat didn't seem to bother the bamboo because he would cut it down once it grew taller than his house.

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  camprn on 4/20/2012, 5:44 pm

@givvmistamps wrote:I have a young indeterminate cherry tomato that has branched already, and it's setting blossoms in several places.

1. Should I cut one branch off to encourage it to go tall and straight?
Yes. there are several older threads that have pruning directions and some videos.

@givvmistamps wrote:2. If you have advice on a cheap way to support this thing, please share!
I think an 8 foot piece of strapping is only a few bucks.

@givvmistamps wrote:3. I also wondered if it is too soon to let this thing set fruit.
NO, now is the time to go for it! Your season will be over before you know it because it will be too hot for the plant to put out blooms. Very Happy

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  curio on 4/20/2012, 8:39 pm

I've successfully used bamboo for stakes for several plants, including tomatoes, for several years. Some we discard after the first year, but some will last several before starting to look sort of "mildewy". I've never had one split. The thinnest colms we use are 1" and the largest are about 2.5" in diameter.
I wish you lived close to us... we have a freshly pruned pile of colms ranging in size from 6-12' long and 1" to nearly 3" in diameter that will be going free to a good home (I hope)

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  kbb964 on 4/20/2012, 8:46 pm

the last 5 years or so I have been doing my toms ( both determinate and indeterminate ) in pots like that. The indeterminate I just had to lop off the top when it got too large. I gave up on cages they drove me nuts and i just use 4 bamboo, or green garden sticks and string around each one, then go up and round again. worked fine!This year i am going to try and do this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJgA4n-sCE8

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/20/2012, 10:52 pm

@H_TX_2 wrote:I have often thought of growing my own bamboo but I have heard horror stories of how invasive it is and how difficult it is to remove.


Bamboo is horrible. It spreads like a weed. Don't believe people that tell you that you can keep bamboo contained by anything because I guarantee you that it will break out of whatever is containing it.

That's one impressive-looking tomato trellis made out of pvc What a Face

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/21/2012, 2:06 am

Hav-v-v...how did you harvest 8' up? That is one incredible trellis!

Michelle, long bamboo or plastic pole teepee will probably do you just fine (I've not had any problems with bamboo and pests). Get 3 sticks, or 4 (one for each corner), bring them together and strap them with a cable tie/zip wrap. Or use wire. Or other durable cord.

Or...put your boxes end to end and use electrical conduit to form the frame and use nylon net for the support. Then it is a matter of how to anchor it in the ground (usually rebar with the conduit over the top).

You can use pieces of old sheer hose to tie the tom to the support.

There are youtube videos on single stemming tomatoes...you should check it out.

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  camprn on 4/21/2012, 8:00 am

I can can just about reach to 8 feet, but a stool comes in handy. Another this you may consider about trellising the indeterminate tomato vine is to grow it horizontally on a string or a pole, if you choose not to grow it vertically.

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/21/2012, 8:29 am

@Ha-v-v wrote:For the last two years my indeterminate tomatoes grew up and back down the 8 ft trellis. :-D I do try to prune them as they go as well Smile keeps them separate from their friends.

Last years in June...

I do not have that trellis up this year, different plan Smile I do have an 8ft trellis though.

How much did it cost you for that pvc?? That's just so cool

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  givvmistamps on 4/21/2012, 12:20 pm

Thanks for all the advice, everyone. Now that I'm armed with more information I'll look again at the cost of the different options available in my local stores, and see what I come up with.

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  givvmistamps on 4/21/2012, 2:31 pm

Has anyone tried one of these spiral trellises? It looks really interesting, and I'd like to know if it works or not. http://www.lowes.com/pd_382725-82704-89765L_4294936085__?productId=3654374&Ntt=trellis&Ns=p_product_price|0&pl=1¤tURL=%2Fpl_Lawn%2BCare%2BLandscaping_4294936085__s%3FNtt%3Dtrellis%26Ns%3Dp_product_price|0&facetInfo=

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  Turan on 4/21/2012, 3:07 pm

@givvmistamps wrote:Has anyone tried one of these spiral trellises? It looks really interesting, and I'd like to know if it works or not. http://www.lowes.com/pd_382725-82704-89765L_4294936085__?productId=3654374&Ntt=trellis&Ns=p_product_price|0&pl=1¤tURL=%2Fpl_Lawn%2BCare%2BLandscaping_4294936085__s%3FNtt%3Dtrellis%26Ns%3Dp_product_price|0&facetInfo=

A friend used them last year. She says they were great at first but the tomato plants became too heavy for them eventually and she did something to support them, I am not sure what though. Could you attach them to the bed walls ? Or could one do 3 together to share support and make a wider attachment at the bottom? They sure look neat.

Here is a photo and reviews at Garden supply..... same idea.
http://www.gardeners.com/Rainbow-Spirals%2C-Set-of-5/39-514,default,pd.html?start=24&cgid=VegetableGardening_Supports

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  givvmistamps on 4/21/2012, 3:38 pm

I wondered if it would get unstable once the plant got bigger. I have the tomatoes in planters, and only one is indeterminate; the other 5 are determinate and I plan to cage them using bamboo. I think I'll pick up one of the spirals, and if I need to tie it to something when it gets really tall then I will. I think I'll be stopping this thing from getting too tall and just encouraging it to grow fruit after that.

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  givvmistamps on 4/21/2012, 7:41 pm

Update: Well, the storms we got today knocked over my poor indeterminate tomato. Sad I'm THRILLED we got rain, but the poor thing was laying on it's side in the pot so I had to rush out in my rain jacket and stake the thing up with what I had to hand. My husband found some PVC pipe last night while cleaning out the shed we're selling, so I grabbed a piece of that and shoved it in the ground, then used garden twine to tie it up. That PVC is ugly; it's been stained by the iron in the water.

Indeterminate Tomato

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  floyd1440 on 4/21/2012, 8:31 pm

Hey stamps.......



Sorry about the storm but your plants look OK. The nice thing about living in the south is you have a longer growing season so you could recover, but no one wants to deal with a strong storm.

I only have on shot living up north.......


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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  camprn on 4/21/2012, 8:33 pm

Does the job though! Pretty soon you won't be able to see the pipe. Very Happy

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  Turan on 4/21/2012, 8:39 pm

The rust stain gives it a more natural look Cool
And campern is right, it will soon be covered. But i still think those twirly things are way cool looking and am waiting for your pics with the tomato up it.
How are you going to keep the pot from being blown over when the plant gets bigger? affraid

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  givvmistamps on 4/21/2012, 8:54 pm

Thanks for the good points. I do want to see tomatoes before the bad heat hits this summer, but at least this only happened to one plant. This particular plant, as I understand it, might produce even during the summer even here. I hope its tumble hasn't harmed my chance of seeing those flowers produce something.

Yes, I suspect it'll cover that pipe up in another month or so...based upon the growth rate I've seen in the two weeks I've had it. I took advice and cut off the sucker, even though it was flowering. affraid That kinda hurt to do, but I want a healthy, productive tomato plant

As for the twirly thing, since I've already rammed this pipe into the soil I'm thinking I'll have to wait for that until next year.

I was going to move the tomato over next to one of my SFG trellises and tie it to that...I have the SFG trellises fitted over rebar, of course.

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

Post  Turan on 4/21/2012, 11:18 pm

O good then they will be safe Very Happy

Those twirly things intrigue me so much I am trying to think how I could use them. Maybe for cucumbers? 3 in a tripod would be great for beans.

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Re: Indeterminate tomato advice needed

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