tracy111 Soil Stomper

tracy111

pinching tomato seedlings?

I have always started my tomatoes inside because out growing season is short here in Montana. My question is, I know there is a way of pinching back the seedlings so you get a nice thick stalk on the tomatoes, a bushy plant. I am tired of having these little teeny skinny things. How many true leaves do I need to have on my plant before I start pinching. I want some plants that look like the ones you buys from the garden centers.   Has anyone ever grown these "Dwarf" tomatoes, I just ordered 4 varieties from Heritage Tomatoe, she could not tell my why they are called Dwarf as they reach 4 ft, nothing Dwarf about that.......

Views: 6298 Replies: 11 Date: 2013-01-16T16:14:20.000Z
Result Count: 11
 
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FlyingVGoddess

Re: pinching tomato seedlings?

I can't really answer the pinching question. I don't pinch back my tomato seedlings unless they are touching the lights in my grow box...which at that point I cut the first couple of inches and then replant the cutting (as tomatoes have this ability to make roots where ever their stems are burried). Though they did get a little bit bushier afterwards now that I think about it.


What I do for stocky tomato plants is to have a fan running a gentle breeze on them. It creates this faux wind that they seem to adapt to by making a stockier stem so they can brace the wind. But the plants cannot support a fat stem without a strong root system. I plant my seeds in indivual containers (small ones) and after they have two or three sets of true leaves I transplant them into bigger pots and bury them up to the first set of leaves (don't forget to remove the leaves). Then I'll transplant them again a few weeks later and bury them up to the bottom set of leaves. Bury them up to the first set of leaves again when they go out to the garden.

 

2013-01-18T04:26:45.000Z

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  Soil Stomper

tracy111

Re: pinching tomato seedlings?

I would have never thought about the fan idea, I will give that a try. I read about this grow coir with worm castings in it, they say that because there is nutrient in the soil that you are able to plant your seedling in a larger pot and not have to transplant into a larger one before placing them in the garden. The recipe for the starter soil also said to put a little bonemeal in it, which I forgot so I sprinkled some on top of the soil and figure when I water it, it will make its way down. The second set of grow coir I remembered to mix it in, so I will see if it works.  I remember when I worked in a nursery and they handed me a pair of scissors and told me to prune the petunias, it just about killed me to cut all those blossoms off but I did and holy cow, those things got so thick and bushy with way more blossoms. Not leggy at all, so I thought maybe it might do the same thing with tomatoes.

2013-01-22T17:10:42.000Z

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  fredstir Soil Stomper

fredstir

Re: pinching tomato seedlings?

Been strting my tamatos indoors on and off for years.  The only pinching I Ever did was the suckers on maturing plants outdoors.  I have never heard pinching seedlings.  If you want thick stemmed transplants (like I do)  Just gently replant your small seedlings up to the first leaves.  You can do this over and over again eventually laying the plant down horizontally because you pots are not deep enough.  YOU WILL get stems really thick and plants super hardy. They won't be very tall but they will eventually blow right by the  store bought spindly weak transplants!!

2013-01-30T19:54:17.000Z

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  Soil Stomper

tracy111

Re: pinching tomato seedlings?

Well I went ahead and transplanted 8 of my tomatoes yesterday up to the first set of leaves, so I will see how they do before I do anymore. These seedlings had not gotten any true leaves yet so it is just the stem buried deep in the dirt, thats why I only did 8 because I have never repotted that deep when there were no leaf axils to root. I transplanted them early yesterday and they all still look nice and perky, so lets cross out fingers.  Thanks for the advice.....   Tracy

2013-02-01T17:55:32.000Z

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  fredstir Soil Stomper

fredstir

Re: pinching tomato seedlings?

Don't worry   You'll end up with short little squat seedings  with thick strong stems (wind resistant)    Plant in a pile of walmart composted manure a big scoop of bone meal and garden gypsum and look out!!!

2013-02-01T20:46:00.000Z

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  LindaC

LindaC

Re: pinching tomato seedlings?

I always thought that tall skinny tomato seedlings meant they were not getting enough light. They're "stretching" to reach more light. My skinny seedlings do just fine when I plant them deep in the garden after I  take off the bottom leaves. You're right about the plant sending out roots all along the stem that's under ground. I always get excited to start planting this time of year, but here in New England it's too early. I'm just planning my garden on paper and making my seed and plant list. It's the perfect time to repot house plants anyway!

2013-02-05T03:29:58.000Z

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  BCgardener

BCgardener

Re: pinching tomato seedlings?

I have tried running a gentle breeze on them in a previous year. The plants were a little thicker, but were still very leggy and spindly. From the research I have done, poor lighting can cause the legginess, because the plants are straining to reach more light.  I was using a double T12 or T8 light

This year I purchased a growing light with four T5 bulbs and should know in about 6 weeks or less on how the plants do.

I have not read anything about pinching seedlings.

2013-02-15T05:11:27.000Z

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  fredstir Soil Stomper

fredstir

Re: pinching tomato seedlings?

really I've tried all the garden bulbs except those potent halogen or whatever  those super bulbs are called??   Pot growers love them. I still got stringiy but healthy stems. BUT repeated replanting and burying the darrn things even laying the stems horizontally in your potting soil  causes the stems to get thicker and thicker.!!!  they will look like stubby little runts but have a tremendous root mass.  I understand the new t-8 bulbs  rated at 6500K  (full sunlight) are pretty good. Nowadays  I'm to lazy.  I grab nursery transplants as soon as I can  bury them about a month earlier than normal but  cover them with  agribon 15 or a heavier agribon 19 row cover which will protect against light nightime frosts  let 80 % sunlight in and keep the bugs off.  don't forget a heavy scoop of bone meal and garden gypsum.  No blossom end rot etc.

2013-02-15T05:52:21.000Z

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  Soil Stomper

tracy111

Re: pinching tomato seedlings?

As for putting the tomatoes out in the garden a month earlier and covering them at night, I was wondering if you have ever heard of the idea of cutting the bottom off of the milk jug and covering the tomato plant with the top part. I have been saving my milk jugs like crazy because I want to try this. I won't set all of my plants out just in case the jugs don't insulate enough. I am also going to use the milk jugs to bury then in between the tomato plants and fill the jugs with water and fertilizer when needed. I was told to just put pin holes in the sides of the jugs to release the water a little at a time, so we will see how this work.  Happy gardening.   Tracy

2013-02-20T17:50:09.000Z

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  fredstir Soil Stomper

fredstir

Re: pinching tomato seedlings?

YUP Absolutely!!  Free and effective   BUT can be too effective.   Very small air circulation.  A sunny  day can cook your plants from heat build up. And depending how opaque the jugs are not enough light transmission.!!  Am I making this difficult?? LOL  Go for it.  Thay sell all kinds of little towers like this (like Kozy coats) for ridiculous prices.  Just semi clear giant Baggies with water liners to capture and store daytime heat.  On sunny warmer days pull your off for awhile and pop back on in afternoon.   Good idea that's why companies are selling fancy dancy ones!!!  It's a simple mini greenhouse and they use plastic all the time. tomatoes are tough just watch em.   They wilt with not enough light, water (among other things) but bounce right back.      Now if someone would help me with  tomatoe cracking.??

2013-02-20T18:59:14.000Z

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montana3802

Re: pinching tomato seedlings?

Skinny seedlings is caused by poor lighting, use a "Grow" light and keep it close (within 3 inches) of your seedlings for at least 16 hours a day  until they have at least four true leaves.

2013-02-22T00:05:11.000Z

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