Calling tomato gardeners: four trusses or five?

swee'pea99

Legendary Member
Last year I nipped my tomato plants to leave each with four trusses, but I ended up feeling I'd acted too soon, and could have got at least another truss per plant, so I was planning this year to try five. But the weather's been so gloomy, everything's behind. I just looked back at the pic I posted hereabouts almost a year ago - on the 29th July to be precise - at which time they looked like this:

1626080795546.png


(The bigger ones are about the right size...just waiting to redden up.)

Ok, that's still a fortnight away, but I can't see these catching up...

1626080778141.png


(Biggest one maybe 1/2 the size they'll eventually be.)

Should I err on the side of caution and stick to four trusses, or go for broke and stop them after five? (The fourth trusses are just appearing now.)
 
I always think that if you can feed them enough, support them and get them enough light then they can carry a lot more fruit than we normally allow them - but the sticking points are the support without injury and - in much or even most of the UK - enough light.

What's the variety? Some varieties are better for lower light situations than others ... but even those won't do well in some summers when even though we might have appropriate temperatures, cloud cover reduces the light levels.

Why not stop half of them at four and let the others go to five? Then you're covered either way ...
 
OP
swee'pea99

swee'pea99

Legendary Member
Thanks everyone. To answer K's query, they're Gardeners Delight. We're down south (London) so I guess that might make a difference? (Incidentally, I can't go half & half, 'cos I've only got three :laugh:.)
 
Thanks everyone. To answer K's query, they're Gardeners Delight. We're down south (London) so I guess that might make a difference? (Incidentally, I can't go half & half, 'cos I've only got three :laugh:.)
You get better light levels in the east and the south of the country generally, but I don't know about London. I was young and foolish when I lived there. Air pollution probably cuts light levels, but Gardener's Delight is very vigorous and should easily support more than four trusses. You could try three different ways - stop one at four trusses, one at six or seven and let one grow on into a tangled bush without pruning, and tally up the total yield of each one by weight. If you let one go unpruned it should extend the harvest by a couple of weeks at least, with any luck.
 
OP
swee'pea99

swee'pea99

Legendary Member
You get better light levels in the east and the south of the country generally, but I don't know about London. I was young and foolish when I lived there. Air pollution probably cuts light levels, but Gardener's Delight is very vigorous and should easily support more than four trusses. You could try three different ways - stop one at four trusses, one at six or seven and let one grow on into a tangled bush without pruning, and tally up the total yield of each one by weight. If you let one go unpruned it should extend the harvest by a couple of weeks at least, with any luck.
Thanks, that's really helpful. I'll do exactly as you suggest. An interesting experiment as well as tomatoes. This could be a gala year!
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
I never really know. Our issue has been watering, but I've got automatic watering rigged up now to keep on top of me forgetting. I never know what to nip off, so my wife is doing it this year. We've quite a few outside as well.
 

mudsticks

Obviously an Aubergine
Full on, non organic commercial growers will often untie the plants from the top wire, lay down the bottom stem, horizontally and let the top trusses go on growing up and forming.

This does require a decent regime of feeding and watering though.

We just let ours go on fruiting higher and higher, but don't do the laying down..

Whilst sideshooting and liquid feeding, they're planted in well composted soil in a polytunnel, SW UK..

The limiting factor being harvestable height - about 8' high
 

PaulSB

Legendary Member
I pinch the growing point out of mine when they reach the greenhouse roof. I never remove trusses as it's a waste of fruit. We often pick until mid- November and a couple of years ago December. The plants do look pretty shabby by then.

The laying down @mudsticks mentions was standard practice on the nursery I worked at.

As above I find feeding and watering is key. Tomatoes will suffer badly from inconsistent watering so I always measure the amount of water each plant receives. Very simple to do.

Cut the bottom off a two litre plastic drinks bottle. Make three holes in the screw cap and then screw back on. Sink a 10cm pot in to the compost so the upper lip is just above the compost surface. Invert the bottle and place the screw cap end in the pot. Fill with water from the open end.

This allows one to easily measure the amount of water/feed given to each plant. As the water drips slowly in to the compost it's easily absorbed thus avoiding run off and wasting water - a precious and limited resource on my allotment.

As a general rule I give each plant one litre at each watering when the crop is young. Now the plants are at 6 feet and full of fruit this increases to 2,3,4 depending on the weather - 2 litres being the usual amount. At this point watering is every evening - till the rain comes :sad:
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom