Why hobby gardeners max their tomato plants
There are countless myths and even more opinions surrounding the topic. The purpose of removing tomato plants is quickly explained. The focus is on the goal of wresting more voluminous fruits from a plant than it actually wants to produce.
- Thinning tomatoes - this is how you attract larger fruits
- Tomatoes in abundance - this is how propagation succeeds
- Tomato offshoots - ideal for propagation
A tomato naturally strives for a lush, branching habit rather than climbing skyward. For this purpose it develops numerous side shoots. This process takes place at the expense of the fruit curtain, for which there is simply not enough plant energy left. This is why clever hobby gardeners remove unwanted side shoots - also known as stingy shoots. As a result, tomato plants grow tall and produce magnificent, plump fruits.
Removing stingy shoots is what gardeners call maxing out. Tomato plants should manage their energy and not provide unnecessary shoots with nutrients and water. Since the plant is far from giving up after a single pruning, there is no avoiding permanent repetition of this maintenance measure.
This is how stinging shoots differ from fruiting shoots
Inexperienced hobby gardeners often fear that they will accidentally break out a fruiting shoot when pruning. This is especially true if you are growing tomatoes for the first time. There is hardly any danger because you can see the differences at first glance:
- a stingy instinct always sprouts exactly in the branch between the stem and the petiole
- a fruit shoot thrives directly from the main shoot
For example, if you take a look at the leaf axils every time you water, you will recognize an urge to be stingy early on. You will find out exactly how to remove these unpopular branches in the following sections of this manual.
Tomato plants properly exhausted
You can now reveal an urge to be greedy at first glance. To safely remove the unpleasant antagonist of an abundant harvest, proceed as follows:
- From a length of 3 to 5 centimeters, the stinginess is removed
- Take hold of the lower end between two fingers and snap it off
- Break out the taller stinging shoots to the side
- Cutting out the shoot with a knife carries the risk of infection
- Hand washing is recommended before pricking out the next plant
This care measure is accompanied by an unpleasant smell and hands soiled by vegetable dyes. We therefore recommend wearing disposable gloves.
Skimming according to the schedule prevents neglect
As soon as the tomato plants have acclimatized in the bed, on the balcony or in the greenhouse, it starts. The battle between the plant and the gardener rages on until autumn. Since you are already well versed in the subject, the only thing that can be for the plant to prevail is to neglect regular pruning. A firmly cemented schedule ensures the necessary routine.
- Combine regular care work with pricking out, such as watering or fertilizing
- Remove stinging shoots, ideally in the early morning
- Dust larger wounds with a little charcoal powder
Only after the harvest will the tomato plants stop their efforts to let as many side shoots flourish as possible.
Stingy shoots are suitable as cuttings
Every stingy instinct has what it takes to compete with the main tribe. Thus there is a considerable growth potential in the tiny one. This potential can be used excellently for vegetative reproduction, because every stingy instinct is suitable as an offshoot.
Without a long delay, put one stingy shoot in a small pot of vegetable soil. You can optionally use a mixture of garden soil, compost, sand and a little basalt flour as a substrate. The upper third of the cutting should still look out of the ground. Ideally, you should water the tender plant from below by placing the pot halfway in water for a while. From a height of 10 centimeters, tie the cuttings to small wooden sticks.
In warm temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius, the rooting takes place quickly. Once the young tomato plants have rooted their pot, repotting or transplanting them into the field are on the agenda. In the sunny location, the former stinging shoots thrive to produce tasty tomatoes this season.
Do not exhaust these types of tomatoes
Stick tomatoes are primarily used for prizing. Most other tomato varieties are not suitable for cultivation on a climbing support anyway. Which includes:
- Bush tomatoes
- Vine tomatoes
- Cocktail tomatoes
- Wild tomatoes
These tomatoes would not produce any larger fruits despite regular removal of stinging shoots.
Tips & Tricks
Should an urge to be stingy and reach a stately size, the breaking out causes a considerable wound. In this unique special case, you simply remove the tip of the shoot to prevent the bloom from exhausting and otherwise leave the shoot in place.