B1 Intermediate 2554 Folder Collection
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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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How to Grow Tomatoes: Staking

2554 Folder Collection
Furong Lai published on December 15, 2012
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