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How to prune your tomato plant into a fruit laden vine

July 24, 2012
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Left to its own devices, a vigorous indeterminate tomato plant can easily cover a 4- by 4-foot area with as many as 10 stems, each 3 to 5 feet long. By season’s end, it will be an unsightly, impenetrable, disease-wracked tangle. – Fine Home Gardening

Yup, that sounds about right! We had four “tomato trees” last years that produced tomatoes in a tangled thicket of leaves and branches that looked awful. I ran into this article early enough this year to apply the technique to our plants – and it worked! We now have 6 foot tall single vine tomato plants. They are basically dripping with fruit which will hopefully ripen soon.

Check out this video below it explains how to prune your plant while it’s growing to make a single strong vine, with alternating leaves and fruit. It also tell you how to properly support it (because tomato cages don’t work all that well). You can even apply this to your tomatoes now to prevent them from getting wild and out of control.

BAD VIDEO WARNING: I HAD MAJOR TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES EMBEDDING THIS VIDEO BECAUSE IT USES FLASH, AND WORDPRESS HATES FLASH SO I TAPED IT AND UPLOADED IT TO YOUTUBE 😦 The source for the video is here.

Basically, lack of pruning = more leaves. The more energy the plant puts into making leaves it doesn’t need, the less energy it puts into making the tastey fruit you are waiting for.

Oh yeah, it is true, tomatoes are a fruit, not a vegetable. I thought I would throw it out there in case you have been living under a rock.

Last years tomato plants:

This years tomato plants:

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2012 10:05 AM

    Wow, my tomato plants and myself are now red faced. They’re so puny compared to yours, pruning isn’t even necessary! I hope they take off as yours have!

    • July 26, 2012 11:41 AM

      I don’t know that I understand your comment. I cheked out your blog and you mentioned that you have lots of growth, but not a lot of tomatoes. Pruning targets the plants growth into producing fruit…hope that helps!

  2. July 25, 2012 7:38 PM

    wow, your tomato plants looks so much better now. That is a really informative video too. I was just on youtube trying to find a good video that would tell me how to divide and transplant the banana trees in my yard because they are overgrowing on the side of my house, and I found a really good video, and I was really impressed because a lot of videos don’t really tell you much. That tomato video you found is a good one too 🙂

    I never realized that it’s better to take some leaves off to give the plant more energy to grow more tomatoes 🙂

    • July 26, 2012 11:40 AM

      I don’t know why we didn’t think about it before, because we dead-head, or pinch-off other plants to get them to produce more flowers. It’s such a dramatic difference since we started pruning. There is a branch of fruit alternating with the leaves all the way the plant. 3-4 times more than we had last year.

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  1. Recipe: Seasonal Vegetables and Shrimp Over Pasta « A Home In College Hill
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