How To – Pruning Tomato Plants For Great Harvests

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    A lot of people wonder what it takes to grow a garden full of tomatoes and really with just a little care your plants will do all of the work for you.

    There are a few things that you need  to do to prepare the plant and garden for your tomatoes.

    First pick a spot in your yard that gets at least 8 hours of direct sun.

    You want a spot that will get enough sun throughout the day that photosynthesis will turn water and sunlight into ripe tasty tomatoes. If you live in a zone 10 or very dry area then you will need to take care that your plants get good light but not so much that they won’t produce fruit. Tomatoes really love the same enviroment that we do about 80F with water every couple days. When it gets over 90F you may need to shade your plants or they will stop producing … much like you would find a nice tree to sit under to take a rest.

    When you prepare your soil it should be full of compost. Tomatoes love soils that are rich and have less clay.  They do not need something as nice as potting soil but you can add your own compost from the previous year or add some peet moss to loosen the soil.

    Plant the tomatoes at the same level as they come out of your plant trays. Actually if you have a plant with a very long stem that is top heavy you can plant a few inches of its stem below ground and it will start roots.

    When placing the plants you want to give about three feet of room between each one. If you plant too close you will have a smaller harvest so don’t try to squeeze plants in or you will endup with fewer tomatoes on your table.

    Final preparation and care is fertilizer and watering. Tomatoes like a lot of nitrogen and you can purchase fertilizers that are specific to tomatoes or just use a standard 10-10-10 to prepare the soil then throughout the season spot fertilize with liquid fertilizer.

    Watering should be done every few days. You don’t want to water so much that you are wasting water but for the first 2 weeks and then when your plants are in full fruit you can water a little more.


    Pruning Your Tomato Plants

    If you are accustomed to pruning your trees and bushes then you know that making a clean cut with a sharp tool is always necessary. You never want to try to break off branches of your plants. If you do not have a dedicated pruner then you can probably get away with a good pair of scissors or a very good break away blade utility knife.

    When pruning tomato plants the experts will say cut away all the sucker branches… but what is a sucker branch?

    Sucker branches are any branch that does not have a tomato or flowers that could grow tomatoes.

    Many people will say that you can cut away all of the sucker growth but you do not want to do this until the very end of the season. Plants need sun to turn to sugar to make sweet fruit and they absorb it from their leaves.

    You should cut about 30 to 60 percent of your sucker growth or non fruit bearing branches throughout the season.

    Your first pruning should be to shape the plant and increase growth of fruit bearing branches. Your final pruning should be to divert all energy to the fruit and common sense plays a part here.

    You do not want to cut away all of your branches.. just enough to improve the quality of the tomato fruit.

    Another important thing when making your first pruning you want to reduce the main stems of the plant to no more then 3 to 4 main branches. Tomatoes can get carried away and you will see that the large main branches will produce flowers and fruit but if you have too many branches your fruit will suffer.

    If you have small fruit then pruning was probably needed.. If it is early enough in the season you may need to sacrifice a few producing branches to improve the overall health of the plant.

    And remember it is not just that center branch between two others that you want to prune.. That is kinda a scam because those little branches will grow and produce flowers…  (so i will not show you a specific branch to trim)…  its any branch that does not have a flower or fruit or to reduce the branches to 3 to 4 main stems from the main trunk of the plant.












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