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  • Mark Hutton: Hi, I'm Mark Hutton, University of Maine Cooperative Extension vegetable specialist.

  • Today we're going to talk about staking individual tomato plants.

  • Now, this is something that many home gardeners will do. We're going to prune our plants to

  • a single stem by removing the suckers. And you might ask, what are the suckers? The suckers

  • are these branches that come off the main stem. The main stem is the part of the plant

  • that has most of the fruit clusters. You'll see that they will sometimes have a fruit

  • cluster, but it's much weaker than the main stem.

  • The fruit quality that you get off of these suckers just isn't going to be as good. So

  • you're better off, if you can, if you have the time or the inclination, to remove these.

  • This one is a little bit too big to snap off, so I'm going to cut it. Very simply, you don't

  • want to damage the plant when you pull these off.

  • So how are we going to tie these to our stakes? Well, you can see here, I'm using strips of

  • rags. It's a soft cloth. We don't want to use string. This is an old tee shirt. It's

  • a little bit stretchy.

  • Other things that work really well are old nylons or pantyhose, because they're not going

  • to rot. What you want to stay away from is some sort of string that may eventually cut

  • the plant.

  • When we tie the plant, we're going to take our tie around the plant, make a small loop

  • in it before we tie it to our stake. And we can just simply tie it off any way we want.

  • Now, that loop is to keep it from sliding up and down on the stem and abrading the step.

  • We don't want to tie it too tight. We want to tie it just tight enough, so that it stays

  • up against the stake.

  • So staking individual tomato plants is something that you're going to want to do just with

  • the indeterminate varieties of tomatoes, so the beefsteak types of tomatoes. It's a little

  • bit labor-intensive to do it with the wild growing, small cherry tomatoes, things like

  • that. And for the determinate or bush plants, this isn't going to be a very effective way

  • to stake them.

  • If you just have a few plants, this is a perfectly acceptable way to go. If you're growing more

  • tomato plants, it would suggest that perhaps you look at using the basket weave or the

  • trellising, cable trellis system.

  • Here we've got another plant, another stem that we should tie up. So we're just going

  • to do that before we move on. Notice we make a little twist and then just simply tie our

  • section of rag off.

  • When we're going through pruning, tying or trellising our tomato plants, we want to try

  • and be sure to leave as much foliage on the plant as we can to protect the fruit from

  • sunburning. You see here, we've got some fairly nice leaf cover over that fruit. That's going

  • to help keep it shaded and keep it from getting sunburned.

  • As we start to work up the plant and the fruits start to mature, and we're harvesting further

  • and further up the plant, we can start removing or de-leafing those lower leaves, anything

  • below the last ripening fruit cluster.

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B1 tie plant fruit tomato stake removing

How to Grow Tomatoes: Staking

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    Furong Lai posted on 2012/12/14
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