Anybody tried Mr. Wilber's "18 branches" technique ?
If yes, with what result ?
Several previous discussions about him over the years. Linked one of them below.
Here is a link that might be useful: Wilber's book discussion
Dave, thank you for the link. As you probably saw I posted a message in that link so I WAS AWARE of that link. Most of the messages in that link are from 2009.
So, anybody tried Mr. WilberÃ¢ÂÂs method errrÃ¢ÂÂ¦ recently ?
looks like nobody tried recently Mr. Wilber's method.
I don't think this is a technique but rather what Wilber figured on as a rule of thumb to get the foliage to fill out at the caged vine heights he was aiming for with the varieties (Better Boy hybrid VFN) and cage sizes he was using.
At those heights pruning becomes necessary to direct the plant growth upwards. Had he sprawled his vines on a trellis, the strategy would have been quite different, to get the right leaf density for proper aeration.
It sounds like no one in the forum has invested minimum in a 20 foot double sided stepladder to manage stacked 5 foot cages to need that. They can cost about $1000 and Wilber grew one Cherry Tomato plant almost 29 feet tall. If I had one to get up to the top of my Pecan trees which I don't have, I'd risk my neck once, since it sounds like fun ;-) But after that, growing giant tomatoes is a safer competition to enter... Wilber's miotivation was to get into the record book, and get formal bragging rights for recognition well-deserved. It takes a special person for that!
I dont see , personally, a good reason, to grow a HUGE plant just for the sake of having a HUGE plant. Some of the productive plants in my garden are compact determinants, that require much less garden space, fertilizer and water.
If I understood correctly, Mr. Wilber's technique is NOT about having a 29 ft. high cherry tomato. Is about the "18 branches method."
I don't think we can make generalizations about pruning and training without considering the plant's genetics and the infinite variation of tweaks employed by each grower. I'll never find out though because I'm pretty sure a 30 foot high cage would earn me a visit from the county lawn code inspector!
Anyway, if you want to look at World records, look at the overhead sprawl "technique". Wilber's record on pounds is long broken. 32,000 "golf ball sized tomatoes" were harvested by just one vine at Disneyworld. I would estimate a golf ball tomato to be an ounce, so that is 2,000 pounds from one plant. A ton of Cherry tomatoes on your plant. Different growing method and delicious enough to serve to guests of the theme park.
This post was edited by PupillaCharites on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 0:54
I don't see how you came to that conclusion from the link you posted. The "18 branches" is only mentioned once in the article and even then it is a minor mention, last on his list of pointers. There is far more info on how to build a cage, feed and water, and control pests than about any pruning.
The article focus is about growing world record tomatoes in a barrel and offers very little of value to the average gardener. That probably explains why the methods in the book, published many years ago, never really caught on.