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Pruning & Harvesting Tomato Plants

A simple guide of growing, pruning & harvesting Britain's much loved tomatoes!


For many of us that grow tomatoes each year this will be old news. For those who are in their first year of growing their own tomatoes then here are some basic and helpful tips on how to get the most out of your plants.


What type of tomato plant do you have?


Determinate

  • These plants (including bush varieties) will reach a certain height and then stop growing.

  • Within a month or two the majority of their fruit matures and appears at the ends of the branches.

  • If you are looking to harvest most of your tomatoes at once in order to store or make into sauce/condiments/chutney etc.

  • They will need a cage or a stake to prevent them toppling over from the weather.

  • Sturdier varieties such as Better Bush will not need much support.

  • Suited to growing in pots.

  • Minimal or no pruning is needed.

Popular Determinate Tomato Plants

  • Plum

  • Lemon

  • Nova

  • Micro Tom

  • Raspberry Ruffles

  • Red Alert

  • Red Profusion

  • Maskotka



Indeterminate

  • These continue to grow and produce tomatoes all along the stems throughout the growing season.

  • Supports of at least 5 feet are needed.

  • Due to the plant throwing out so many shoots. Gardeners often prune them for optimum-sized fruit or train them on a very tall trellis.

  • Prune or not to prune?! If you choose not to then do not worry, just be prepared for tomato vines of 10 to 15-foot tomato vines.

Popular Indeterminate Tomato Plants

  • Captain Beef-heart

  • Gardeners Delight

  • Apero

  • Apricot Dream

  • Golden Crown

  • Honey Drop

  • Orkado

  • Sweet Aperitif


Growing Tips

  • Tomato plant varieties - Always check the label to find out if they need side shoots pinched out or let grow. Those that need the shoots pinched out will produce too much leaf and not enough tomatoes if not pinched out. Especially for tomatoes in greenhouses in the early season stages where flowers first put in their appearance.

  • You can help by using a soft brush or even piece of cloth, to spread pollen between plants and flowers to help fruit set.

  • Plenty of water is essential, so do not let the plant soil dry out. That is where grow bags and other water retaining containers are invaluable.

  • Use tomato fertilizer as directed as often and regularly as advised for best results.

  • Plenty of light, direct sunlight is best, will be rewarded with healthy growth.

  • Remove any diseased leaves and fruits as they start to show problems, to prevent the disease spreading.

  • Always use Bypass Secateurs when pruning live green stems to ensure a clean, smooth cut to reduce damage.

Harvesting Tips

  • If you have many green tomatoes left and are worried about the cold weather, mould or disease killing them off. You can harvest them and place them in an open container.

  • Place the container indoors and the green tomatoes will ripen.

  • This of course applies to tomatoes that are turning to their chosen colour of red, orange or yellow.

  • You can of course make use of green tomatoes by making chutney.


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