Training tomato’s

There’s nothing better that a nice fresh tomato straight from the vine. But it’s finding the best way of training them, which, at times can be a headache.

There are of course some types that don’t require any formally training. These are normally the small bush forms, hanging basket and dwarf forms.

But others like the cordon and tall bush forms, do best trained with one main stem and the flowers/trestles coming off this main stem, with all the side branches removed. It’s an easy way to train them and needs just a little time and effort. Apart of the reason we do this is firstly to reduce the amount of fruit, why reduce this? It means you get better size and tasting fruit, less chance of a fungal disease spreading though the plant as the airflow will be better, a stronger plant too and it will be supported and have less branch weight pressures on it. It needs less food and water as there are less branches on the plant. These are just some of the advantages

Tools and ease

  • Ease of task. 2, pretty easy just needs a little bit of time and a steady hand
  • Bamboo canes, yes you can tie them onto string, but I find the canes better
  • String/ties I tend to use either 2ply string or raffla
  • A knife or secateurs, I prefer a knife as you get a nice clean cut
On this picture you can see the branches and side shoots coming from the branch unions. These are what we need to cut away to produce a single main stem and lots of great tomatoes
First of all I push the cane into the soil just behind the main stem on the plant
Then I gently and carefully remove the side shoot with a knife
If they are very small, I just break them off using my finger and thumb
Then I just tie them back to the cane using raffa and a figure of 8 knot
I keep going until the whole plant is tied up. I will take the plant up as high as 6 sets of flowers before removing the main leader and keeping it at that hieght. As the season goes on, I will also remove the lower leaves if they start reducing in size

One key thing to remember is to sterilise you knife if you are moving between large groups of Tomatoes. This helps to reduce the spread of disease. It can be done by heating the blade slightly, dipping in it bleach, solution or using mentholated spirts.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    That is much more work than my indeterminate tomatoes get. I just plant them at the base of a juniper hedge, and lay them back onto the hedge. They are so weedy and so productive, and make good use of the otherwise useless junipers. Although the junipers are not impressive yet, I want them to stay and grow into a more presentable hedge. For now, they work well as tomato cages. Anyway, I think that the lack of humidity makes tomatoes easier here. Disease is uncommon.

  2. David S. says:

    I was given some young plants recently and am following your method of training for the first time. Success guaranteed??? Nice to see you using raffia. The ideal tying medium for tomatoes and other plants with tender stems – so much better than string and completely bio-degradable. Let’s hear it for ‘Raffia’ !

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