suckers on or off the tomatos?

Okay you pro's....pull the suckers or no? I have read arguments both ways....any consensus here?
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in the cage throughout the growing season. Been doing this for decades and always get a great harvest. There's my two cents. Ken
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norma briggs wrote:

I do it both ways. I grow a few plants in cages and the others I stake. In the cages, I let everything just grow. The staked plants are kept to a single stem by pulling out the suckers. Sometimes I'll let a stake carry one sucker to make a bigger plant.
I find the advantage to the ones that are staked is that they ripen their first tomatoes a little earlier. The ones in the cages have the potential to produce a larger, if later, crop. Here, I'm usually better off with the staked plants because the season is so short.
Steve
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suckers but the fruit is smaller. Olin
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So I guess the correct answer is: It depends...lol Thanks for the feedback.
I will most likely do some of both since I only planted 15 plants of different varieties but (I am guessing it was the compost) as of yesterday I had 87 plants sprouting.
They are everywhere....its crazy. I even called my daughter and asked her if she thought I might have a multiple personality and my alter ego planted all those plants without telling me. You can guess what king of response I got. I thinned out about 50 plants and gave them away, but no way do I see me pulling off that many suckers. I for sure can't afford that many cages. We have a really long growing season here so maybe I will have good results. In fact the plants last year were still producing in November.
These renegade plants may or may not produce I have no clue, I figure I will let them grow and see what happens.

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On Sun, 25 Apr 2004 00:40:10 GMT, "norma briggs"

I staked plants one year, and I'd say if you don't have a great deal of time to keep an eye on them for hornworms, you may not want to stake too many. Staking is fiddly too in that you had to be out there all the time tying up the new growth and pinching out growth. I used cloth torn into strips..cotton so it would rot. Old t-shirts work.. stretchy enough not to damage the stems. If you have enough, plant 2 of each variety, stake one and cage one.
There's BT now to help keep the hornworms down and get they when they're smaller. On staked plants, they eat the leaves, and the fruit.. or did here. On the caged plants, later in the year, the hornworms kind of acted like pruners to keep the foliage back a bit so that the fruit ripened sooner and they didn't eat up as many of the actual fruit. So I decided that staking was a lot of work, didn't give me much fruit, was more prone to sun scalding fruit, insect damage and was too much work. I could cage them, or do what my dad did build something like a rail fence down either side, and put cross pieces between the plants.. make it taller than you think you'll need it with a good deal of space between the "rails" so you can reach in. 2 x 2's is a good size... the same size as I'd used for the stakes ;-)

Oh, they'll likely produce, but *what* they'll produce.. that's the question! What did you grow last year? Hybrids? Open pollinated? If they were hybrids, you'll have tomatoes like one of the parent plants or the other.. and a few that may be similar to the original plant, but not the very same. Even open pollinated could have crossed with others.. and what grows this year from the seed could be a hybrid this year ;-)
If you have the room, let some grow if you're of the curious sort. If you had cherry tomatoes that you cleaned up and tossed into the compost.. good number of the volunteers may be just that.
So long as you didn't have any disease problems with plants last year, shouldn't be too bad. Just make sure to rogue out and get rid of any plants that look disease right away and don't put it in your compost bin.
Enjoy. I have no tomato plants yet myself. need my helper and it is a bit early here. Usually it's not safe to plant tender plants you can't keep protected until all the snow is off Schaeffer Butte .. a mountain above town.. which is usually around the end of May for me. It's been warm for a month though.. in the daytime. If I had a bunch of Wall o' waters I might have planted several weeks ago just to see how they'd do, since there'd always be time to plant again later.
Janice

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snipped-for-privacy@removethistoreply.yahoo.com wrote:

I knew someone whose front yard was completely taken over by volunteer tomatoes, started from random seed dropped by sloppy people <g> The plants were fairly tough, a uniform 2 feet tall, didn't mind that they were in deep shade most of the day, and produced normal enough fruit and an endless number of descendants as they reseeded themselves everywhere. Made a mighty strange-looking lawn, tho :)
~REZ~
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wrote:

There is no clue what these plants are...Last year I grew Better Boys and Early Girls, but when I have to buy them from the store I buy that kind still on the vine. I figure I got nothing to lose letting them grow, esp since I found 3 new ones about 6 inches tall today.
Now...the renegade potato plants--are they supposed to get 4 feet tall? I had to stake them to keep them upright. This will teach me to till the whole compost pile into the garden.
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You'd think they'd have weeded all over the near neighbourhood too, but they didn't. Of course, everyone else had grass <g>

The insane tomatoes of last year were whatever my tenant dragged home from Walmart. She forgot to water them and I rescued them from death's door (wilted baby tomatoes will literally re-inflate right before your eyes as soon as you water them) and it's a wonder they lived at all.
This year we have whatever they were giving away at the home and garden show -- one is "Champion" and the other is.. something else that starts with a C. They're still in pots, just starting to bloom. The old garden spot got eaten by bermuda grass, and I'm not sure where to put 'em -- might try the overly-hot area behind the house, since last year's plants didn't mind being roasted alive in the direct desert sun.

Four FEET? I've seen 'em over a couple feet, but not THAT tall!!

LOL!! Just call you Frankengardener :)
~REZ~
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I have heard about this happening as a result of using sewage sludge. Another another reason to use, or not use, humanure?
Olin
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I think this is the prevailing sentiment. One thing I've found about suckers is that they root easily. I've broken off fairly vigorous suckers in mid-season, rooted them, and actually gotten a second crop of tomatoes. (There's usually a long growing season here.)
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No need to mess with the tomatoes. Just guide all branches up into the tomato cage, keep them watered and weeded, and enjoy them when they ripen.
When I was a kid, we didn't have tomato cages. They still gave us lots of fruit -- it was just harder to pick.
Ray
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