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Pinching overgrown side shoots

Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by Aldo, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. Aldo

    Aldo Gardener

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    Hello everybody,

    In my quest to win the title for most clueless gardener of the season, I thought I was being assiduous enough in pinching off sideshoots from my four cordon tomatoes.
    But I probably was not as attentive as I hoped and now I realize that there are a few shots at the base of the base of the plants which eluded me and have become very large (over a foot long) and healthy, and have even started putting out flowers.
    They must have developed a lot over the lasts 5 days, while I was busy with work and only visited the garden for a quick watering in the evening. I assumed that once you pinch a side shoot the plant will not develop any more at the same height, so I did not pay enough attention to the lower sections of the plants.

    I will post a photo or two tomorrow, but, do you think I should leave them and give them their own cane, given they have grown so big?
    Or perhaps, I should remove the ones which did not flower yet and pinch off the tip of the others, so to let the flowers develop into trusses while encouraging the main stem to grow taller?

    To be honest, while most of the plants look healthy and vigorous, I am a bit disappointed that the fruits are developing very slowly, even my bush tomatoes display lots of green fruits but not reddening for the moment, despite this unusually warm summer. So if the plant already spent lots of energy developing the sideshoots and the flowers on them, I was thinking that pinching the tip would be a good compromise to harvest a few more fruits a bit earlier.

    Thanks for any advice,
    Aldo
     
  2. Aldo

    Aldo Gardener

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    If that helps, here are some images with the sections I was thinking of pruning (either removing all the shoot, or, if flowers have formed, the tip of it).

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    The two plants on the right are Viriditas, while the one on the left is Santorange.
    I have also an Indigo tomatoe, which is very slow growing (the first two pictures show its pretty massive sideshoot)
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  3. Vince

    Vince Not so well known for it.

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    If cordon tomatoes, cut right back to the main stem, plant up the cuttings and "Voila" free tomato plants!:snorky:
     
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    • Aldo

      Aldo Gardener

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      That is an idea, even though every time I did that, the shoots did develop roots but did not grow all that much anymore. I have no which has been sitting there for 2 months in its oversized pot, looking happy but not willing to grow.
       
    • noisette47

      noisette47 Total Gardener

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      Welcome to tomato growing, Aldo :) What you describe happens every year to me, despite being vigilant! I do what Vince suggests, snap them out and just stick them in the ground or in some compost. I don't need the extra plants but it's an irresistible urge to propagate :biggrin: Don't worry about the late ripening. Even here in sunny SW France, we've yet to pick the first ripe beefsteak tom. The cherry toms are always the first....Good luck with your plants :)
       
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      • Aldo

        Aldo Gardener

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        Thanks for helping me out, I'll do that then.
        I hope it is not too traumatic for the plant, some of that stems are thicker than the main vine.

        To be honest, even my cherry tomatoes look quite behind. Or better, some of the bushes are teeming with fruits, but they are all green since forever..
        A friend in Italy told me they are pretty much swamped with vegetables and do not quite know what to do with them.
        The only one which gave us already something for the effort is an Ikea plant, which my wife bought months ago and came already with ripe tomatoes.
        I planted it right away and the little thing has been quietly chugging along since then, making trusses and surviving all my questionable attempts at gardening :)
        As you correctly guessed, it is my first year growing tomatoes (actually, my first year growing anything more than strawberries and basil) and for some reason I was hoping to start enjoying a few fruits in June, particularly considering that the UK season is not very long.
        Unless one has an heated greenhouse, I suppose.
         
      • Scrungee

        Scrungee Well known for it

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        Then cut them rather than snapping off to avoid risk of damaging the main stem. With very long sideshoots it's often easier to cut them just beyond their first leaf away from the main stem. You can always trim back to the main stem later.

        If you want to root them, if you're not going to pot them up immediately, get them into water immediately after cutting and out of hot sunshine. Earlier in the season I put them into a jar (200g ex-coffee jar) of fresh tap water for a week or so to root before planting but find they're prone to decay in hot weather if sitting in water, so trim to 150mm/6" to 225mm/9" long, removing lower leaves and cutting just below a leaf joint [1] and pot up burying about 2/3 in the potting compost, keep moist and out of bright hot sunshine.

        [1] This will avoid a cut hollow stem splitting and splaying out.
         
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          Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
        • Aldo

          Aldo Gardener

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          That is very informative, thanks!
          I will try doing as you describe and see what happens.
          I guess it is a bit late in the season for the sideshoots to grow into productive plants, but it is an interesting experiment nonetheless.
           
        • Aldo

          Aldo Gardener

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          I just put them in water, try in one week I'll try planting them in potting soil witha bit of perlite and vermiculite and see what happens.
           

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