Tomato plant too tall

geotrin69September 1, 2014

Hello everyone/anyone,

I'm new to gardening as my name indicates. Currently I have three indeterminate, big boy tomatoe plants growing in separate containers. Two of the larger ones are in 6 - 7 gallon containers. First off, is that ok? The taller of the two is approximately 8' tall. The other approx 4 feet. Should I prune the 8 footer so I can build a cage around it? I've been able protect them from insects but now as of last night or early this am, two of the most ripe tomatoes became victims of what I'm assuming was a squirrel. Need help! Thanks.



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May I suggest you to ask your questions in the Container Gardening ? You might have more luck.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 4:28PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

No containers that small are not recommended for indeterminate varieties - double the container size at least. As to pruning/topping - that is your choice if you don't mind losing all the fruit production it will cost you.

The plant is just growing normally so the problem isn't the plant but the way it is being grown. If you don't want plants that tall then grow determinate varieties and cage them from the day of planting so they can grow into the cage.

You don't indicate where you live or what your garden zone is but in most of the country it is too late in the season to start trying to train the plant now. Just take what you can get from it and use the lessons learned this year to plan better for next year.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 5:51PM
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Hi Greenhorn,
As Dave said it is probably too late in the season to worry now. Just harvest what you can. But for next year consider a few things. I am by no means an expert. I have been gardening and growing tomatoes for a long time, but am a newbie with only 3 years experience in container gardening. This is what I have learned. Nothing under 10 gallon containers for tomatoes. I go to the landscapers recycling yards and get #15 nursery pots for free. They hold about 13 gallons of potting mix. The container forum is an excellent place to learn about potting mixes. I mixed my own last year as I grew so many more tomatoes as is it is more cost effective, but this year I didn't grow as many so just used Miracle Grow, NOT the moisture control potting mix. Container tomatoes need to be watered daily, twice daily if you are in a hotter area. They need to be fertilized with a water soluble fertilizer once, sometimes twice a week as watering so often washes out the nutrients. Get a fertilizer with micro nutrients in it as well. start a fungicide preventative spraying from the start every week if you are in an area prone to fungus diseases. I use a timed drip irrigation system with micro sprayers from Mister Landscaper that spray down in a 360 degree circle that wets the entire pot. Lastly, good support from the start. All sorts of posts on support, just do a search. I had a squirrel problem and a bird pecking problem also. I set up a bird feeder on the opposite side of the yard to feed the birds and squirrels and they now leave the garden alone!!!!! This is what I have learned over three years and I am sure there is lots more I have to learn. Good luck in your gardening and enjoy.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 8:33PM
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Jennie, do you fertilize using the drip irrigation ?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 5:56AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I believe bigger container sizes have advantages:

-- Less frequent watering, fertilizing.
-- Provides stability against tipping over.
-- It is easier to stake or cage
In short it is less challenging and offers more convenience.
As far as the root system and plants nutrients need are concerned, it can be done in small containers ( 5-7gal.) too. But it will need ongoing attention. As the size of container gets bigger and bigger, it becomes similar to growing in the garden (relatively speaking). I have 4 tomatoes growing in about 5 gal. containers. But i water and fertilize them maybe 3 times as often as those in the ground. They are doing fine but I have to work 3 times harder. NOT very convenient. Ten gallon container could have reduced my work load by more than 50%, I estimate.

What are the disadvantages of bigger pots?

1- container cost
2- potting soil cost: They are costly !

I roughly estimate: $2/gal for both container and potting mix.
So if a 5 gal. arrangement cost $ 8 - $10, a 12 gallon will cost about $20-$25. If you are willing to pay the price , you will get a lot of payback in convenience.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 7:41AM
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