Cage Grower's Question And An Observation

harryshoe zone6 eastern PennsylvaniaJune 30, 2013

I am new to this Forum and have to say I am quite impressed with the level of expertise found here. This is my second year direct planting plants purchased from a local nursery into my lasagna (layered compost) garden.

Its been a good start for my tomatoes. They are big and healthy with many fruits set. As they are well over the top of my cages, I wonder if pinching the leads at the top is advisable? Will this encourage new leads from the lower part of the plant? I worry that if I let them go and they flop over the top that the cage will eventually come down.

Interstingly, five plants (Grape, Super Marzano, Celebrity, Brandywine, Beefmaster) are all the same size.

My observation concerns Super Marzano. The performance has been outstanding with 45 fruits already set. I expect to harvest some by mid July. Looks like a winner!

.

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

I hope you don't mind if I link you to the same question just a bit further down the page. Saves re-typing it all again. ;)

As to your cages - most find those ring cages you are using to be of little value and full of problems. So you might want to review some of the many discussions here about the many better types of cages used for next year's benefit.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Topping and indeterminate question

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 12:07PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

Dave,
Thanks for your reply. I have read a number of threads here and don't see agreement on the prune issue. Most of my plants have strong new leads from the bottom. I would like to encourage more, if possible.

Yes, cages are not the perfect structure for tomatoes. However, they have worked OK for me for many years. My new garden is producing larger plants, and a new problem. Last year I pounded in two 6' steel fence posts at the ends of the cage row and ran a line through and above the cages. A make-shift trellis. Most of the alternatives I've seen here are quite elaborate. Maybe overkill for the small garden.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 8:46PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Sorry but you didn't ask about pruning, you asked about topping (pinching at the top) the plants rather than letting them drape back down over the cages.

I wonder if pinching the leads at the top is advisable? Will this encourage new leads from the lower part of the plant? I worry that if I let them go and they flop over the top that the cage will eventually come down.

That is why I linked you to the other discussion because that specific question is discussed in detail there. As I said in that thread:

"No. That's not the nature of vining plants. New growth, new production will always be at the top end of the vine and circulation is gradually reduced and then cut off from the lower branches. Which is why topping indeterminates isn't recommended unless you don't care if you lose all that production, Instead as most of us do, just support it to 6' and then let all the new growth drape back down over the support and continue to grow. The vines do fine and you get more tomatoes."

Pruning plants - the removal of new lateral branches (aka suckers) as the plant grows - is something else. While pruning is debated, there is a very clear consensus against it here as well as in the FAQ here on pruning. And of course if one has already pruned their plants and then try to top it they are really out of luck when it comes to production.

But it is your plant and your choice so why not try it on a couple of them and see for yourself what happens.

As to the cages being over kill or quite elaborate - that's debatable. :) I don't know what posts/pics you have seen but nothing is simpler than a Florida weave or a few CRW cages. But again it is your choice as only you best know your situation.

Dave

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 10:32PM
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