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When can I start snipping new blossoms?

Posted by plantslayer 8 (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 1:07

Hello,

Like a lot of people, I don't really believe in pruning foliage since photosynthesis is an important part of making fruit.

However, it seems reasonable to me to not let the plants set fruits for longer than they can actually ripen them. I don't like to use unripe tomatoes for anything, and I don't really want to end up with bags full of runty green fruit at the end of the season. Surely the plant could put the energy it uses for setting fruit and growing some of them to make the other ones grow better and ripen sooner? Am I wrong about this?

In Seattle where I am, tomato plants can sometimes live into mid October or later even, but let's assume that the growing season is over at the end of September. I have some big green fruits and the first one (on Sophie's Choice) will probably be ripe enough to pick tomorrow. At what point should I assume any new fruit is not going to ripen by the end of my growing season, and start clipping new blossoms?

I have some sophies choice (dwarf or determinate habit), and a bunch of different indeterminates including Big Beef, Kosovo, Black Cherokee, Indian Stripe, Malachite Box, etc. etc. Any idea about how to handle this would be appreciated!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: When can I start snipping new blossoms?

There was a similar topic last year.

You are right, after a certain time into the season any new fruits set will have no chance to get ripe. Here are some thoughts and facts :

It takes 40 to 50 days from flower to ripe tomato.
It probably takes 35 to 45 days from flower to color break.

All that is during early and mid season that the temps are high and the days are long. So later in the season it should take even longer for the fruits to ripen.

So , if you take Sept 30th as the end of your practical growing season, then by late August you should snip all buds/new flower, As they will stand NO or slim chance to produce any ripe tomatoes.

Just My Opinion.


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RE: When can I start snipping new blossoms?

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 10:33

I don't understand what you think this accomplishes, what benefit it provides for the plant? If you don't want the late green fruit that might set just pitch them with the dead plant. Nothing says you have to save/use them.

But a zone 8 climate, assuming that is accurate for your location, can often harvest well into late November. Even here I harvest ripe fruit until end of October.

I am assuming you aren't interested in trying any of the season extending options available that would let you have ripe fruit months later in the season?

Dave


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RE: When can I start snipping new blossoms?

But a zone 8 climate, assuming that is accurate for your location, can often harvest well into late November. Even here I harvest ripe fruit until end of October.
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Zoning number have a high co relation to frost free season and winter hardness issues but not meaningful for summer growing/gardening. I have gardened in ATL, GA, zone 7b/8a and I am in Seattle area also zone 7b/8a. The two climates , as far as summer growing is concerned have no resemblance. Even in July( one of the warmest months) our nigh temperature are in mid to high 50s

On the snipping issue: Here is my understanding and view point.

Everything has a cost. In tomatoes, plant direct a lot of energy to fruits production(seeds). That is the ultimate goal and mission of the fruits bearing plants: PRODUCE SEEDS TO GUARANTEE THE SURVIVAL OF ITS GENE, as much as possible. Where does the energy come from to grow from flower to fruits? It is part of the limited resource of the plant. So it is logical that if new flowers are snipped the plant will spend its energy somewhere else, like the existing fruits. What do we do with BER affected fruits ? We pitch them as soon as we find them, because we do not want the plant spend/waste any energy on them. It is also widely believed that unpruned plants may grow more fruits (in terms of numbers) but generally they will be mostly on the smaller size side. So then by preventing any new fruit development, more energy should be directed towards the existing fruits.
This, in my view, is a PAT OF the concept called "pro Active Gardening"


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RE: When can I start snipping new blossoms?

The plants might make it through October, but in my experience around here is that they'll be diseased and wont ripen much fruit. Also, I need to get the plants out and put some cover crop in, or the soil will be in bad shape next dpring. So regardless the plants come out by end of September.

Thanks for the replies.


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RE: When can I start snipping new blossoms?

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 12:40

Also, I need to get the plants out and put some cover crop in, or the soil will be in bad shape next dpring. So regardless the plants come out by end of September.

Ahh that makes sense. Of course you still don't have to snip off blooms to accomplish that. :)

Your OP implied that by snipping the blooms off the plant you would speed up the ripening of the existing fruit. That belief simply hasn't held up to any research. The plant genetics are the primary factor that ripening rates, not the number of. fruit or blooms on the plant.

In actuality what happens when one snips blooms is very similar to what happens when one aggressively prunes plants late in the season - new growth is stimulated.

And yes, I am well aware of what the zone numbers mean and yes, when properly understood and applied they are very applicable to summer gardening. I am also well aware that numerous micro-climates exist within those zone numbers. Because of them many Seattle-area gardeners report they successfully grow tomatoes, disease-free tomatoes, well into November or even later with minimal protection. Seattle-Tilth, a well respected gardening organization based there (whose many members participate here regularly) is well worth investigating if interested.

But needing to plant a cover crop easily explains the reason for terminating the plants earlier.

Dave


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RE: When can I start snipping new blossoms?

But a zone 8 climate, assuming that is accurate for your location, can often harvest well into late November. Even here I harvest ripe fruit until end of October.
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I have lived in the area now for about 3 years and don't know of such climates.
Seattle metropolitan ares to the north, has a similar temperature to April, in the month of October : 46F to 60 F.(per Accu Weather). Sure, nothing will be killed by the frost but things like tomato can just sit pretty at best. On top of that it will be rainy 2 out of 3 days.

Snipping flowers is a personal option.
So, back to subject: OP's decision to call a season by the end of September (as far as tomatoes are concerned) make sense to me. I will do the same.


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RE: When can I start snipping new blossoms?

My my, I look forward to the smal unriprnd green fruits, they make the best pie! And green tomato relish.

Slim


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