This blog will not be adding more posts but will remain open for you to access the information that will remain here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pinching off tomato shoots

by Francesca @ FuoriBorgo



I grow indeterminate tomatoes, which are the vining variety, rather than the determinate, bushy tomato plants. Indeterminate tomatoes require staking, which I do by building A-frame supports with canes, a very simple and effective technique which I wrote about last year (here). This also has the advantage of leaving the plants easily accessible for tending and harvesting.


Indeterminate vining tomatoes, in fact, need a little more care than the determinate varieties. You have to pinch off the little side shoots (also called "suckers") that grow in the V between leaf stems and the main vine, and sometimes also at the base of the vine. This practice will ensure that the main vine grows strong and produces as many tomatoes as possible.




Sometimes you'll miss a side shoot, and you'll notice it only when it's already grown into a bigger branch. I still go ahead an pinch it off, unless it's grown blossoms in the meantime.



Pinching off side shoots is an easy task, though it can take a surprising long time when you have lots of plants. Besides making the main vine stronger, it will also give you the opportunity to inspect your plants, and check them for signs of disease or pests.

7 comments:

Diāna said...

I learned a new word in English today, never new those things were called "suckers". Hilarious! In my native language (Latvian) their name is the same as for "armpits".

nellymary said...

Thanks for this...I check my vines regularly for disease, but I will pinch out the suckers too from now on....Great post!

Terra said...

That's a good tip to pinch off the suckers, for the indeterminate tomatoes.

rmgales said...

Thanks for the informative post. I've been checking for "suckers" on all my tomato plants.

Joyce said...

Thanks for the wealth of information. I having the black thumb never knew that tomato plants have these little suckers. Have a golden weekend! xo

Dea-chan said...

Huh, you learn something new everyday... I didn't even know that there WERE vining tomatoes... what makes you choose them over the other kind?

rhonda jean said...

Hi Francesca, great post. You can grow these off shoots when you pinch them out. They'll develop roots if you plant them in a pot of potting mix.