Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 09:56 am
since I only got one reason answer on my Heirloom vs Hybrid question (Eva answered that both have advantages so she plants both)
Anyway, another question, for the home gardener why plant determinate vs indeterminate tomatoes. Please note, this question is for home gardeners.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 1,792 • Replies: 22
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 10:07 am
ok, a couple more questions, how long to you harden-off your tomatoe plants before planting, here in the wildly variable weather of albaturkey I usually harden-off for only about 1 week but many serious gardeners will go 2 weeks or longer. Also I always snip of the bottom few leaves to promote root growth, does this really help establish the plants?
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 10:13 am
@dyslexia,
Terminate plants stop growing after they set fruit. Indeterminate plants just keep on growing like the energizer bunny.

I planted both types last year at the same time, in the same raised bed. The two patio bush type tomato plants kept a small shape and produced an early crop of fruit about six weeks earlier than the indeterminate variety. I only planted one of those and it sprawled all over the place, outgrowing the cage it was grown in.

The terminate plants seemed to have a more delicate structure while the indeterminate plant's structure was robust. The terminate plants died off soon after their last fruit was removed while the indeterminate plant continued producing flowers and fruit until the first freezing weather killed it.

This is a photo of the last days of the giant indeterminate energizer tomato plant when the first snow of the season hit in October last year. That's just one plant - the dead leaves of the two terminate plants are on the left of the planter box beneath the sprawling branches of the behemoth.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-sjc1/hs298.snc3/28570_10150171230590214_748555213_12322043_680779_n.jpg
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Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 10:19 am
@dyslexia,
I hardened off 4 plants for a week before planting them a couple days ago. I kept the rest inside after hearing about the cold, windy weather forecasted for this week. Will harden off the rest of them when the winds die down a bit.

The plants were in the kitchen under the skylight for about two weeks and started getting leggy so I pinched off several sets of the bottom leaves and planted the stems deeper into the soil. I then pinched off the newest set of leaves on top to encourage new branching and root growth.

Pinching off the lower leaves allows you to put the stem deeper under the soil. The tomato plant will form roots all along the stem where it has been buried under the soil.
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Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 10:20 am
@dyslexia,
While growing tomatoes in Eastern Mass, a tricky variable spring climate, I hardened off for 7-10 days. I have been known to cover over the tops of flats with plastic wrap with several vent holes but that might be overkill. If you do that step, you need to open the 'tent' during the peak of the sun to dry out the soil. This can be way more fussy than most would want. This step does give more yield though.

I'm careful to water (w/ sprayer) JUST enough to keep to keep the soil moist but not invite mold or fungus. I'd put the flats outside for a few hours (avoiding scorching sun), then for half a day and finally for whole days at a time, while avoiding brisk winds. After 10 days, the strongest survivors make it to planting bed. Any seedlings that don't grow tall I toss or add to my compost.

Yes, snipping off the bottom leaves in an established plant will help the plant focus it's energy. However, in a seedling I'd be careful not to stress out/bend the thin stem. I've croaked a few while trying to do that.

Finally, I plant those seedling far deeper than I used to do...perhaps in a mound that covers the point where the first (snipped leaves) would have been. Some folks plant in a mound sideways up to half of the length of the stem, giving the plant lots or room to grow new roots..

Oh yes, I always toss in a little bone meal and very mild fertilizer, with a little good soil from a mature compost pile that hasn't any newly decaying matter still in it.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 10:23 am
@Ragman,
Yeah, I don't bend the stems by placing the plant sideways in a shallow hole. I dig the hole deeper and place it deeper under ground. It is too easy to snap the plant in two by bending it, and in the high winds of ABQ, the plants need the deeper root system.
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 10:24 am
@dyslexia,
what's with all this tomato hardening...?

I gotta get a fluffer, or what...

I get mine from a guy that says they are ready to take a dirt nap. then I stake 'em so the wind can't kill 'em. and they are in hills of soil.

I got other things to do than sit and watch tomato porn.
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 10:24 am
@dyslexia,
Up here on the northern plain, I only harden mine for about a week too, but then I don't really plant them till around the may long weekend, third weekend in May or Queen Vicky's Birthday. We're pretty safe from frost then.
As for the bottom leaves, I never prune till the first flowers show up, then I begin pruning up to that level, and I go from there, pruning as more blooms show up. By the end, the plant is pretty bald, but it has a ton of fruit. Then I pray for a late frost. I've lost 'em all before in August when the Arctic winds decide to blow early.
This year, I'm going to try and grow them in straw bales, a healthy dose of manure, coffee grinds and some dirt for good measure. I'm raising all my beds with bales, halfway through the summer I'll build the forms, insulating them as well. I plan on raising all the beds about two feet. We get up 17 hours of sunshine a day, so raised bed should prolong my growing season, well, that's the plan anyway. I'm collecting old pallets and foam insulation to build the forms. I'll let you know if I'm successful.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 11:26 am
well, although I'm pretty new at all this gardening stuff, I plan to get my tomatoe plants today or tomorrow from a local grower who does all his plants from seed here in albaturkey, I will put them on the north side patio moving them in and out of the sun to harden for about a week, then dig pretty deep holes for planting filling the holes with 1/3 kitchen compost/coffee grounds, 1/3 composted steer manure and 1/3 sand all well mixed with some osmocote plus 15-9-12. watering daily and drying out, gradually reducing the water as fruits start setting. As usual I will plant Sweet 100's/ Early Girl and Better Boy, Lady Diane will no-doubt plant some Big-Jim as well as other peppers plus bunching onions and perhaps some celery plus 2 cucumbers.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 12:12 pm
@Rockhead,
Rockhead wrote:

what's with all this tomato hardening...?

I gotta get a fluffer, or what...


I don't know what tomato hardening is either, but you asked it better than I did.

So, what's with this hardening stuff?
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 12:20 pm
@chai2,
When seedlings grow inside they have very week stems, you put them outside, the wind knocks 'em about for a few days and toughens up the plant. It also prepares them for a life in the great outdoors, weather wise - temperature fluctuations.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 12:38 pm
@Rockhead,
For those who aren't familiar with the term, a 'fluffer' is a prep person in the porn trade who assist male actors to stand at attention... ahem ... and get ready for show time.
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 12:45 pm
@chai2,
Hardening seedlings allows, for those who live in short warm weather climes, more growing time. In southern New England it was rare to get the plants in the ground before Mother's Day. Typically, the start of the 'safe' growing season (after hardening) is Memorial Day. The end of the season was around about Oct 1oth, thereabouts when foliage was peaking and frost settled in.

It's not unusual to have temps drop below 40 deg F at night ..every night...right now. My friends in the area just north of Albany, NY are still hearing about snow warnings above 1000 ft in elevation.

So this is why some of you folks in other warmer or longer growing regions never heard of it.
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 12:53 pm
@dyslexia,
Dys: be aware that 'fresh compost' is not such a good idea. It can contribute bad bacteria and potentially rob energy from the plant as it tries establish new roots. I would use aged manure...typically 1 yr old cow manure. Fresh manure may have too much nitrogen (from urea) and burn the new plants toes or make it get too leggy. The plant food percentages you listed might be a tad too strong right off the bat too. For the plant food, I suggest to either dilute it by half or wait one week or so. Ask the farmer who sold you what he thinks.


I would add coffee grounds once the plant has been in the ground for a week or more.

If you do add kitchen manure, do not add any meat leftovers or citrus (rinds etc). That can attract critters and add bad bacterium.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 12:58 pm
@Ragman,
all my kitchen compost is a least one year old including to coffee grounds, the steer manure is well rotted/composted.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 01:01 pm
@Ragman,
Ragman wrote:

Finally, I plant those seedling far deeper than I used to do...perhaps in a mound that covers the point where the first (snipped leaves) would have been. Some folks plant in a mound sideways up to half of the length of the stem, giving the plant lots or room to grow new roots..



When I used to plant tomatos, I always did that, too. Tomatos love to sprout roots from all those hairy little spikes. I feel like more roots are better. They sprout so easily, you can break off a branch from an older plant, stick the end under ground, and it will through out new roots if you keep it damp enough it doesn't die.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 02:58 pm
@dyslexia,
We have lots of Heinz and Green Giant tomato farms around SC Pa, Del and NJ. Thebig farms plant the determinate because they can time their harvests to come in at once. They will plant several crops a few weeks apart and then they can bring the bigass haulers and cart away several tons of tomatoes at a harvest. Ya cant do that with indeterminates HOWEVER,This doesnt work for home gardeners. We like to have tomatoes all season rather than just one big crop all at once. The indeterminates will bear from July to October.

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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 10:33 pm
@dyslexia,
That was a versus hybrid question?

Plus I guess I am not allowed to answer. Really, Dys, if you have a designated type of answer in mind, ask a very particular question.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 02:08 pm
So, my patio maters are planted and look healthy, but, they don't seem to be getting much bigger! They are of course growing some, but not as quickly as I'd expected, from listening to others.
I ordered seedlings from burpee, online.
It's been, oh, 4 weeks or so since they've been planted.

They are getting plenty of sun, more than 9 hours a day, are being watered, and I even gave them a treat of some of that fish stuff. When I gave that to my flowering plants they all exploded into growth.

Actually, same thing with my patio cucumbers and okra.

Do they like, just bide their time for a few weeks, then spring into growth?

Again, all are healthy, have plenty of root room, etc. etc.

What gives?
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 02:19 pm
@chai2,
mine are in pause mode above ground too.

soon they will explode, i'm certain...
0 Replies
 
 

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