When left unchecked, tomato plants will sprawl and fill up vast expanses of space in your yard or garden. The fruits’ hefty weight is enough to snap off branches. Because of these characteristics, it is essential for gardeners to control the way the plant grows.
Training tomato plants to grow is not complicated. Here are a few easy steps that can show you how to train your tomato plants properly.
Tomato seeds can fall under one of two possible categories: determinate and indeterminate.
Determinate tomato plants have been specifically bred to grow up to a specific length. A large number of the hybrids or the more modern types fall under this category.
On the other hand, the more traditional or heirloom varieties are considered indeterminate. This means they can get unruly if they are not controlled in some way. They are even known to continue growing or spreading until extreme cold temperatures puts a halt to their growth.
If you buy tomato seeds from a reputable garden, you should be able to see the type indicated on the back of the packet.
An essential part of training your tomato plants involves the use of supports. There are many types of support you can use. You can buy the materials or ready-made supports from a nearby hardware or garden shop. It can be as simple as stakes stuck to the ground, wire cages, or even trellises.
Choose a support that is suitable for the variety of tomato that you intend to plant. For instance, for small determinate varieties of tomato plants, you can use a 2.54 cm x 2.54 cm stake measuring 121.92 cm tall. An alternative is to buy a standard wire cage from the garden center.
On the other hand, for the unruly types, a wider 5.08 cm by 5.08 cm stake with a height of 213.36 cm tall may be necessary. When it comes to wire cages, you can make one yourself using fencing or reinforcing mesh measuring 152.4 cm on all sides.
In terms of trellises, these can be used for both determinate and indeterminate types. However, you will need to combine the trellises with stakes to make the tomato plants easier to control.
The training has to begin at an early stage. This has to be done no more than four weeks after you have transplanted the tomato plants.
To train your plants, tie the branches loosely to the supports once they reach 20.32 cm. You can use plant tape or even pieces of fabric. Place the ties above the flowers so that once the tomato fruit develops, the ties can act as additional support.
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