What to know about when training tomatoes?
Tomato plants have a reputation for being messy in the garden, and they are often seen as easy to catch diseases. To help keep them protected and prevent them from roaming wild everywhere in your garden, they will need some support and care. Training tomatoes are not hard to manage with the assistance of some aid like a trellis, tomato cages or by using plant stakes. You will have to train the plants to grow on the support while also giving the occasionally prune so they are kept in order. By doing this, you will keep the plants healthy and able to produce more yield and let yourself have more control.
Different support structures
Before you start making a plan for training tomatoes in your garden, you need to pick a variety of tomato plant that is more tidy and neat rather than an unruly out of control tomato plant at least while you are starting out. Some varieties of tomato plants have stems that will only grow to a particular length which is more modern type that fit this category. There is also a latter type that is more an older type of tomato plant that has vine-like tendrils and just keeps growing until the frost kills them or lack of water etc. Make sure to read the label correctly to ensure you are planting in the conditions that are best suited for the particular plant.
- Stakes: A stake is an affected support for training tomatoes while using small varieties. It is best to do it 1inch times 1inch with a four-foot stake dug into the ground right at the base of the plant.
If you choose to use a large plant type than your nest to go with 2inch times 2inch by a bigger stake in a 7-foot stake. Finding stakes that have a pointed tip for tomato plants is best as they go into the ground a lot easier than square ended ones. Try and avoid lumber that has been pressure treated as it can leak toxic chemicals into the soil surrounding of your plants and can harm them.
- Trellises: Training plants on a trellis works well for all vine type plants. You can get a trellis for training tomatoes that is temporary and only get used for one single growing cycle. You can put stakes in the ground in a row in the centre of the garden bed then you can run the plastic netting across it and connected at both ends.
Tomato Training and Pruning
Training plants is not a hard thing to do. It is, however, important to start training them when they are young preferably within one month of planting them. Tie the stems of the tomatoes every few inches as they are growing. Handle the stems with care as they are soft and fragile and can break off very easily. You can use pantyhose for these as it is soft. Tie them gently, so you don’t strangle the vines and cut off circulation. You can tie off just above a cluster of flowers if they have formed already. The stems that support the flowers might get crimped by the pantyhose as they gradually grow the fruit. Once the original stem has grown, it will sprout steams from the sides as suckers. Suckers form in between the leaves and main stem. To keep just a single stem plant you will need to prune all the suckers from the sides.
If you want multiple stems, then this is achieved by letting the suckers grow into stems depending how many you want. You can then prune the remaining suckers once you have the amount you want. It is easy to prune the suckers by just snipping the suckers above from where it joins onto the main stem part. Make sure your scissors or pruners are clean to avoid transferring disease or pathogens to the plant that may be lingering on the blades. You need to be prepared to prune the suckers you don’t want off the plant while it continues to grow and thrive. A good time to do the last prune is around a month before the first frost. This gets done by cutting off all the ends of every stem just right above the fruit section. Once you have cut the tips off it helps to give the plants a burst of energy that will aid in the ripening part of the remaining fruit.
Hail protection for training tomatoes
Once you have gone to all the work of putting in the tomato plants and doing all the work with support systems and training on the structure, it is important to protect against hail. If you choose not to protect against rain and strong weather conditions your plant will become damaged and die off. Hail netting can provide many benefits not just protection from hail. All the benefits will help protect your plants allowing the growth of more good quality yields and healthier plants.
- UV stabilized protecting against the high UV rays
- Protect from harsh winds and intense hail
- Less water is needed
- Provides the small amount of shade the plants need
- Has a thermal effect
- Reduces the amount of spray drift upon the plants
Hail protection comes in a range of sizes and density so be sure to find the best hail net that will be most suited for the plants you are growing. There is nothing better than the pure taste of a home-grown tomato.
When training plants, it is important to have the right soil and weather conditions and know the facts about training tomatoes on a support structure. With many options available it won’t be hard to get started. You will be harvesting the yield and starting to enjoy those juicy homegrown tomatoes in no time.