how to identify tomatoes

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by hironomous, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. hironomous

    hironomous Member

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    Hello,

    I neglected to labe lmy tomatoes when I planted, and I also have some volunteers coming up. How do I know which are indeterminate and therefore need pruning?

    Thanks
     
  2. Iaia

    Iaia Member

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    I never prune my tomatoes plant.
     
  3. monkeydog

    monkeydog Active Member

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    As to making a positive identification of a young plant, I would have to defer to someone more knowledgable than myself. However, in regards to the need to prune...

    It's all personal preference, you know, and perhaps you are one who prefers to prune. It won't hurt the plant though to let it grow for a while until more positive identification can be made. Personally, I either don't prune at all, or I will cut off the non fruit producing branch rather than the "sucker". I'd rather have a few more fruits and sacrifice a tiny bit of size and perhaps quality.

    If you definately want to prune though, hopefully someone here can help you with the indentification. If you can't get a good ID right away though, you can always wait a bit to prune and the plants will still be fine. As they get a bit older, the indeterminates will tend to sprawl more and probably become recognizable as such. Also, the determinates may wait longer to flower and set fruit, until the plant is fully established. Good luck!
     
  4. hironomous

    hironomous Member

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    Thanks all for the advice. I have tried to prune in the past as I plant quite closely due to space limitations and I find I get better overall yield that way. I will be patient.
     
  5. monkeydog

    monkeydog Active Member

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    I understand, that's a good reason to keep them pruned back. Wish I knew a sure fire way to make a definate ID on those plants at this young stage.
     
  6. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Some confusion here. Whether a tomato plant does or does not need "pruning" has nothing at all to do with whether it is determinate or indeterminate.
     
  7. hironomous

    hironomous Member

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    I thought determinate stop growing when they fruit but indeterminate continue to grow and therefore benefit from pruning. No?
     
  8. monkeydog

    monkeydog Active Member

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    Yes, hironomous. The flowers or buds on a determinate plant indicate the terminal end of a branch and that plant will only grow to that determined size.

    Technically speaking, soccerdad is right in that there is not a requirement or justification for pruning or the lack thereof based soley on which type of plant you have. That being said, does the indeterminate plant benefit from pruning?...No. Does pruning the indeterinate plant benefit you in regards to your space constraints?...Yes.


    Hopefully that will clear up any confusion that future readers of this thread may have. So yes, hironomous, for the benefit of you and your gardening ecosystem...carry on!
     
  9. hironomous

    hironomous Member

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    Makes sense. Thanks.
     
  10. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi I never heard of pruning also.
    My mini tomatos are about 5 feet tall now, what is it I should/could cut away? I only usually cut the bottom leaves to clear some space to water them from the bottom.
    Is it still time ?
    I also have low acid tomatos seedlings (grown from seed) that seem to have come to a stop now over several weeks no change but NO wilting but they seem not to want get taller. Any suggestions should I move them to their final growing place even so small?
     

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  11. monkeydog

    monkeydog Active Member

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    Hello vicarious. Look at your plants, where you find a sprout coming out in the crotch of a main stem and a branch- that is what's refered to as a sucker. The sucker will form another main stem with it's own branches and fruit.

    There are two schools regarding pruning...many people will prune off that sucker thereby directing the plants energy to developing the existing fruit instead of producing more. Resulting in larger and perhaps slightly better quality fruit. It also helps keep the size of the plant in check.

    On the other hand, I normally cut off the branch rather than the sucker. I prefer to have the extra fruit that the sucker will eventually produce. I don't have to cut off that branch, I do it though in order to simply thin the plant out some and provide more air flow and to make more room if my plants are close together.

    You don't have to prune at all if you don't want to, it's entirely up to you! As to your seedlings...I don't believe that I would move them into the ground at this point. They are a bit young yet. Are they kept outdoors, or are they moved around between in and out? What is the ambient temperature and how is the light? These could possibly factor into why growth has slowed.
     
  12. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Thank's/. Our seedlings are fully outdoors one foot away from the bed they are supposed to go in.
     
  13. monkeydog

    monkeydog Active Member

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    They look healthy enough, what's the temperature like, and is it sunny or has it been overcast? Also, what is the planting medium, and have you grown from seed this particular variety before? (some varieties could take longer than others)

    All these things could potentially factor in to the slow growth issue.
     
  14. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    There are LOW ACID from a friend in KEWLONA but we have greate weather here now sunny warm 25C+ often but in Vancouver Canada no one knows...it can be glorious or it could go awful who knows in this world.
    I have grown all my Tomatos from seeds but these were all small mini ones. These are big ones ...so I want to plant a.s.a.p as iots July already.. Thanks
     
  15. monkeydog

    monkeydog Active Member

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    vicarious, I was hoping someone else might have some thoughts on your seedlings and their slow growth, but alas, I reckon it's just us.

    Only two things that keep coming to mind- water, and your growing medium. Perhaps they are recieving too much water? Your picture appears like they are in a very loose mixture, perhaps a seed starting mix? Does the mix have lots a nutrients? Here's what I would do if I were growing these little guys...

    I would take one third of them and very gently transplant into the bed where you plan on them ending up at. water a bit after transplant, and then only give them enough to sustain them every other day or two.

    Take another third of them and very gently transplant into 3 or 5 inch cups using a mixture of a good loose potting soil and some of the native soil that they will eventually end up in. Once again, be easy with the water, just enough to sustain them.

    The last third, I would leave exactly as they are, and just make sure they don't stay too damp. Of course make sure all of them get plenty of sunlight. Been thinking about this all day and I could be dead wrong, but I just can't help thinking that it's a combination of soil and water that has stalled them

    That's what I would do. One of those thirds is bound to take off, and I'll bet that the two thirds that you transplant will do better than the third that you leave as is. Be a good experiment anyways. Let us know what you decide to do and how everything works out.
     
  16. JanR

    JanR Active Member

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    Those seedling are still very small. I don't like to be negative, but I really doubt that you will get the plants to grow big enough to produce tomatoes this year.. :( Your plants only look a couple of weeks old, but I gather they are much older that. I don't know why they aren't growing. Like monkeydog suggested try transplanting some and see what happens. It couldn't hurt. :)
     
  17. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Because you're in B.C, Vicarious, and you're weather is so incredibly mild even in winter, you could still possibly get one harvest from those small tomato seedlings. Get them growing fast with tons of sun though - and fertilizer.

    I always grow tomatoes I start late in the season in containers, so I can pull them in at night when we're close to frost, and set the plants back outside in the daytime. A sunporch is absolutely perfect also when you're near the end and you want your crop to ripen.

    Good luck.

    : )
     
  18. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    OK good idea I will try to grow them at the entrance door in pots. Nothing to loose ...as in the moment they are STAGNANT 100%
     
  19. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Yup, that's right - you've got nothing to lose and you might just get a nice harvest of red juicy beauties in mid to late October!

    : O
     
  20. Pasquale

    Pasquale Active Member

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    Hello Vicarious,
    I would suggest that you plant your tomatoes in the garden as soon as possible, take advantage of the good weather that we are having now. Tomatoes takes 70 to 80 days to mature from the day you transplant them, the Vancouver weather, come September could change at any time. Good luck.
     
  21. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Definitely in you guys' neck of the woods, you could likely still plant them in the ground, but beware if they are like some types that I have that take 120 days! At least if an early frost does hit, your plants won't get destroyed, because they can be pulled inside.

    Remember too that the 80 or 120 day countdown begins not from the moment the seed sprouts, but from when the plant is already a 3-4 week old transplant!

    : O
     
  22. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    these plants are NOT growing and NOT dying for over 4 weeks now stagnant ..I have to prepare pots tomorrow to get MORE soil is always a struggle unless running to to shop.....we don't get frost before NOV here never ...But I like the idea trying in pots and put them IN FRONT in the max sunshine exposure and try
    they aren't ugly and thye are green. We have 3 terraces facing full south but only with deco things like my new YING & YANG terrace
    one side all ROUND rocks and pebbles other all cut and rough rocks and all the grass that i moved where I made the veggies beds
    ALL my lettuce are bolting GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR I really hate it will sew NOW Pascalino's seeds I wanted to make one more bed but NOT possible
    as one can see it from the front and I don't want any veggie patches visible when one arrives Sorry DESIGNER LANDSCAPER obliges :-)...
    ..Took some pics of BITTER LETTUCE flowers VERY PRETTY they are bolting so we will take the seeds as they were nice before
    we will have loads of RUSSIAN KALE seeds and CHINESE GREEN ( a dark leave for salad and cooking ) Interested HL ?
    I am DESPERATELY trying to grow 4 BROCCOLI .. 2 bolted and made seeds galore 2 made a huge flower on top that I cut as I was told
    so it will make some BROCCOLI on the other branches BUT it seems it will FLOWER also ..what the heck is it with these west coast seeds
    I must say VERY dissapointed ALL my west coast seeds this year WERE CRAP lettuce all bolting as Brocoli.. sad ...snif...
    AM bending backwards over the beauty of my Nightingale Hydrangeas and my 1st Sunflowers ..
     
  23. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Don't be disappointed - West Coast Seeds has great seeds, and I order from them all the time.

    There is a time for every vegetable and you just need to know when the proper time to sow your seeds is, so the plants can mature when it's cool, as both brocolli and lettuce enjoy. You can have a wonderful Spring and Fall crop of both, if you plan it just right.

    Check out my 'Harvesting tips' thread, at the top of the "Fruit and Vegetable" section. It reveals a lot about proper times to sow seeds, and harvest - plus tips for them both.

    Yes, I would be interested in those seeds you mentioned. We can trade later.

    Get your tomato plants into light, well-draining soil - not heavy and clay-like. Also some starter fertilizer will help them along, as well as tons of sunshine. They'll grow.

    : )
     
  24. JanR

    JanR Active Member

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    Lettuce always does bolt eventually. All my lettuce is starting to bolt now too. Ideally you should plant more lettuce every couple of week to keep it coming an of course you should only plant enough that you can use in that time period. Maybe I will let some of mine go to see and and save the seed. I have never done that with lettuce.

    I would definitely get those tomatoes transplanted. I would guess that there is something wrong with the soil and that is why they aren't growing. What king of soil did you use??
     
  25. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Yup, that's what I thought too, Jan - heavy, poor-draining soil, and the roots can't push through.

    Refer to 'harvesting tips' thread and you'll learn about planting lettuce in succession as well as other great tips too. You just need to learn about the proper times to sow the seeds, Vicarious - no big deal. Your lettuce is doing exactly what it should be doing this time of year.

    I also have some lettuce varieties that are slow to bolt, and even bolt-resistent - they can be useful too.

    : )
     

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