tomato plants

Kelly LeechJuly 17, 2012

This is my second year growing tomato plants in Charlotte. Any thoughts why they are over 10 feet tall? They are producing a fair amount of fruit, so I do not think they are overfed. Is this normal for heirloom indeterminate tomato plants in this area?

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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

See my post on the regular Carolina forum.
The unusual height I attribute to the weird weather. Warm then cool then hot.
If you're doing heirlooms, pick them a bit earlier than full ripe. Heirlooms don't have a long shelflife, have a thinner skin and if we get a mini drought of even a week then the birds are going to begin pecking them.

Indeterminate plants are like their fruiting..they can grow
for the whole warm weather season.
But, you might need some side feeding plus a dose of lime to keep away the blossom end rot.
If you want to invigorate the plant to set some decent sized tomatoes it's probably time to start your pruning from the bottom where those early leaves are getting fungus splashed up from the soil during these many hard rains we've had. Take off the excess of blossoms and leave just one or two to a cluster in an area where the pollinators can easily find them.

It's just not a normal year weather wise so take advantage of it.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 11:08AM
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Kelly Leech

Dear Dottie-
Thanks for the great information. It never occurred to m that I could prune my indeterminate tomato plants...
The height of them has sort of freaked me out- I have no idea how tall they are now, as I can't stake them any higher.
I was worried to feed them but now think that they need a late season boost.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 3:24PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

The ozone damaged parts to the orange and cluster tomatoes has prompted side shoots off the main stalks about a foot off the ground. Time to prune the dying uppper portions off and tie up the new growth.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 12:10PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

One of my plants, a Rudgers, has had a severe die off due to the ozone so I pruned it back and darned if it's sent off brand new stalks fromt the main stalk.
Nice and healthy.
So, die back is not plant death. I cut the plant back by 1/3rd and only trimmed off the leaf stalks that were browning. New growth at each of those removed leaf stalks.

Amazed to report I picked 16 2 1/2-3" tomatoes from the other red tomato plant this week.
The yellow is recovering from ozone again.

It's been the most remarkable year for tomatoes in this area that has received regular weekly (or more) rains.
And..I've not fertilized since first planting in early spring.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 8:47AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Here it is October 8th and I've just picked 11 mostly ripe tomatoes and a half dozen green peppers.
I've never let a summer garden go this long, ever.
It's cooling down so I might actually get some green tomatoes to fry. Once picked, the 'gettin' ready to ripen' ones ripen very quickly but remain hard (but also rot fast)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:22AM
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