Comparison

bigpinksMay 18, 2012

I have two Better Boy plants in containers on the drive. Similar size buckets. I seeded these in Feb and had them in and out since early April. I suckered them carefully but one still ended up with two stems. It has 4 bloom clusters and six or 7 tomatoes. The single stem plant right beside it has three bloom clusters but at least ten tomatoes. Go figure!

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Okkaaaay....and? Just not sure what your point or question is?

Dave

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 5:42PM
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bigpinks

Just thought it odd that three bloom clusters on a single stem plant had twice the tomatoes as the one with two stems and four bloom clusters. Make your own conclusions. Same cultivar, same soil mix in same size containers with same weather, fertilizer etc.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 6:40PM
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Djole(6)

Yep, that's why indeterminate varieties should be trained to a single stem.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 9:53PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yep, that's why indeterminate varieties should be trained to a single stem.

Sorry but how does that follow? There are several variables at play here including differing types of growth. One plant is expending more energy on developing more stem and leafy growth right now. That energy displacement can lead to less bloom clusters early on but more bloom clusters later on. More nodes equals more bloom clusters.

And fruit-set variables are many even on identical plants so something as simple as a passing bumble bee or misshaped bloom or a change in wind direction can explain that. Not to mention that more fruit set within the same bloom cluster equals smaller fruit.

One plant has a singular circulatory system the other has a double. What happens if the single stem plant gets damaged? One plant has 2x as many leaves for photosynthesis than the other so what effect is that going to have on production? On brix?

And none of that means that plant A (the single stem plant) will produce more fruit or even larger fruit than plant B with its double stems will. In fact the odds favor the opposite result.

Two stems are better than one and earlier fruit set doesn't equal more fruit, it usually means less. So without even getting into factors like sun scald, pruning stress, disease, injury, and pests, one can just as easily say about this comparison - that's why indeterminate varieties should never be trained to a single stem. :)

Dave

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 10:17PM
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Djole(6)

@ Dave

Good point and well explained, although i think that the length of the growing season is one of the major factors in play. For someone with short growing season, growing multiple steams can lead to plant setting a lot of fruit too late in the season (because of the energy being used on developing additional stems), without enough time for the majority of fruit to mature.
That been said, i now realize the OP bigpinks is from Ohio, so Dave has made a good point considering the climate there.

On the other hand, UK has a very different practice which i tend to follow here, with some changes to adapt to my climate - they train to a single stem and stop growth (pinch the top off) after 4-5 trusses.
I usually let mine grow to 6-8 trusses depending on variety, then pinch the top off, and when the final truss starts ripening, i pull the whole plant out and replace it with another that i've planted a bit later during the season, which is about to set fruit. It can be a bit tricky to get the timing right and it does involve more work, but last season i got better yield this way (i experimented on sungold plants, 1st was trained to two stems, and the other was treated like i said above, then pulled out and replaced). It is actually 2 plants vs 1 plant but those 2 occupy a single spot throughout the season so space-wise it does produce more. The two-stemed sungold had set a lot of flowers/fruit in early - mid september, and none of them made it since the season came to an abrupt ending in october.

Also i should point out that the total difference between those plants in the amount of fruit gained at the end of the season made sense to me, since at the time i had a lot of free time and didn't mind the extra work involved. It doesn't necessarily mean it is the way to go.

Cheers,
Djole

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 10:26AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

although i think that the length of the growing season is one of the major factors in play

I agree. And thus my original post's question and point.

There are so many variables involved in this "comparison" that it is anecdotal info only. No conclusions of any kind can be drawn.

It is 'happenstance', what has happened at this particular time to these 2 plants in these 2 containers in this particular grower's drive, in his zone given his particular weather that past couple of weeks, etc. etc. etc.

Interesting to observe but no valid methodology conclusions result.

Dave

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 11:38AM
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