The first time I planted tomato plants, I placed tomato seeds in my garden and covered them up with a little soil. I said that the reason that you plant so many extra seeds is so that you can thin them and get the best of the best. So how do you determine which seedlings are weak and which is the strongest? I transplanted all 10 plants into the ground, stubbornly not thinning even one. Put simply, it means thinning out the tomato plant by pinching off a leaf stem that grows between the main stem and a branch. Sow in pots under cover in winter to early spring and plant out when the risk of frost has passed. Finally, tomato plants will grow tall if you have planted an indeterminate tomato variety (some can reach heights of 9 feet or taller!) Rapid growth of tomato plant stems or various diseases and pests that may defoliate the plant can cause a viney, leggy appearance or thin, sparse leaves. Thrifty, yes, but it's easy to damage the tiny plants. A good supply of oxygen will help the tomato plants develop a thick and healthy stem. Also, a lack of sunlight and air branches. Some vegetables can be grown in small areas if they get enough other resources such as plentiful water and nutrients however there’s always a limit. no vines off the main trunk below 6-8 inches from the ground. When tomato plants have developed fruits about the size of a small marble they can grow to maturity with very few leaves - far fewer than you might believe. Young tomato plants will grow tall and thin (spindly) due to a lack of sunlight. Single Plants: 50cm (1' 7") each way (minimum) Rows: 45cm (1' 5") with 60cm (1' 11") row gap (minimum) Sow and Plant. Allow 2-4 branches (vines) to form. Fruit set. Our tomatoes were having a hard time ripening and the plants had stopped growing. Any tomatoes that appear to be diseased or insect ridden should be removed immediately. In fact, leggy seedlings tend to be very tall, and don’t do well outside because they’re weak. Put them in a well lit area but not under direct sun as this can burn the seedlings. However, indoor plants benefit from being gently shaken to dislodge the pollen. 4 the Beefsteak tomato varieties tend to be determinate. That way, when fruits are produced on lower branches, they do not touch the soil below and act as a bridge for pests to continue up the plant. We do not encourage plants to be topped off. When you thin seedlings, you’re also helping to improve the air circulation around them. If you have a few busy weeks away from the garden, the tomato plants can grow amazingly heavy when you don’t have time to control the laterals and other growth. The process of thinning seedlings is quite easy. The chore of thinning seedlings is essential for healthy plant growth and development, to maximize flower size, and to maximize crop production. A tangled mass of leaves and vines can become a neat and manageable plot in mere minutes. Vegetables | Everyone has heard the saying “do as I say not as I do“. Plants | If you have two perfect seedlings though and feel like chancing it, I can’t say anything! It ensures plants have proper air circulation. Some diseases blow in from the wind or are transferred to the plant by insects. When tomatoes on the first truss are ripe, leaf branches can be gradually removed up to that truss. Plenty of people do not prune at all and still grow good tomatoes. Trees | I hate having to cut out perfectly healthy tomato seedlings because there is another one a little bigger or healthier looking. In the beginning, it can be difficult to take the smaller plant especially when looking for something to put in the cooking pot. and are prolific producers. Feed Your Seedlings For sturdy plants with strong root systems, start applying a water-soluble fertilizer, such as Plant Health Care, about once a week. 1  If left unpruned, these suckers will eventually grow into full-sized branches—adding lots of foliage and, eventually, a few fruits. 1. You need to work carefully. it turns yellow and serves little purpose. plants. them.. Mulch Tomatoes After the Soil Has Warmed. These are the ones that keep growing taller and taller and putting on more fruit until your first frost.Determinate tomatoes only grow to a certain height, which is much shorter than indeterminates, and then ripen their fruit in a short window of time. Bulbs | Use lucerne hay, sugar cane mulch, pea straw or some other coarse organic matter. Figure 6. The usual method of de-leafing tomato plants is to remove leaf branches up to the truss that is producing ripe tomatoes. If you plant seeds densely, it is very important to make sure that you do thin the plants out. Starting tomatoes from seed affords the home gardener a wealth of variety of plants because only a fraction of the available tomato plants are sold as transplants. An added benefit to thinning your tomato plants is that it enables you to create order from chaos (and show me one gardener who doesn't have a chaos problem in their garden). If the temperatures fall outside this range, blossom drop occurs. But it has to be done. Feeding isn’t essential for soil-grown plants, but those in bags or pots benefit from regular feeding, using tomato feed and following manufacturer’s instructions. Now, honestly I don’t like doing this. Make sure the tomato plant has good aeration. tall. Tomato Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant … The purpose of planting 2-3 seeds per cell is to ensure that you end up with one strong healthy seedling in each. Some of my best tomato plants have come from short and stalky seedlings. 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