When to thin

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Once upon a time on usenet ~misfit~ wrote: [snip]

I'm thinking that a tamarillo plant might serve the purpose of a perrenial tomato rootstock. I used to grow them but gave up due to mobility issues and space constraints, gave the plants to goodwill. I never thought of grafting tomatoes onto them then. Now I see a neighbour has one growing, I might have to wander over and ask if I can take a cutting of it.
--
Shaun.

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@misfit your experience with tomatoes from cuttings is interesting. It seem s like this may only be possible in temperate, long season climates. Every winter I envy my NZ friends, one buddy sends me photos with surfboards and santa hats every christmas. I know what you mean about fake tomatoes at the grocery, I shed a little tear every time I pay money for a mater.
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Once upon a time on usenet Michael Evangelista wrote:

Hi Michael. I think that it's likely worth trying growing toms from cuttings removed from your earliest plants even with a shorter growing season. Nothing to lose but a bit of time and potting soil. (Or with my current method Jiffy peat pellets.)
Tomato plants have two distinct growing phases dictated mainly by the age of plant. The first is the vegatitive phase; The new plant grows leaves and gets up to about a foot and a half or more over a month to six weeks before entering the fruiting phase. The beauty of using laterals from a plant that's already in the fruiting phase for cuttings is that the plants will start fruiting right from ground level when planted - they don't go through a vegatitive stage so you save a month or more compared with growing from seed.
If your growing season is shorter than mine you don't need to wait to select cuttings from the best plants if you have good seed. Just take the first lateral from above the first flower cluster as soon as it's at least three inches long. Using the peat pellets I use cutting three or four inches long, strip any leaves from the bottom half then trim leaves on the upper half so that I'm cutting the larger leaves back by half. Then I just leave the cutting in it's peat pellet sitting in a quarter-inch of water out of direct sunlight.
You can do the same using a small pot and a bit of seed raising mix. However I like the peat pellets as you just plant the whole thing in the ground which maximises growing time by eliminating transplant shock. If I'm not using peat pellets then I go with a bigger cutting, up to six inches. I've seen people use even bigger cuttings but they tend to go through a wilting stage and, unless you're growing them in a 'humidity dome' are no faster than the smaller ones as the take longer to be ready to plant out.
Often by the time the donor plant's first fruit is filling out the cutting is in the ground, producing it's first flower bunch and is six to eight inches tall. That should work for all but the very shortest growing season and I find it easier than growing more plants from seed. I have a 99.9% success rate with the cuttings 'taking'. Tomatoes are so vigourous they don't need much coaxing at all to grow from cuttings.
As I was telling my friend the other day; Supermarket tomatoes varieties are chosen for several things. Mainly resistance to bruising and 'holding' well between picking and reaching the shelves. Secondly most important thing is appearance - shoppers buy with their eyes. Lastly if they can sit on the shelves for a few days without going soft or rotting then they're deemed to be a good tomato. Nowhere in that equation is taste or nutritional value.
The last few times I've been silly enough to buy some over the last couple of years I've thrown them out after trying one. All of which explains why, when I had a good crop last year and gave kilos of them away to neighbours (I only grow slicing tomatoes these days) they all came back to me saying how delicious they were and asking my 'secret'. It seems that a lot of non-gardening people have forgotten what a tomato should taste like.
Cheers,
--
Shaun.

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Absolutely. I hated tomatoes as a kid. Then I realized i wasn't actually ea ting tomatoes all that time : )
Thanks for the info about the cuttings, right now my tomatoes are about 1" tall so i have a while to read and learn. I've had great success in our bac kyard garden with tomatoes and peppers every year, but haven't paid much at tention to the plants, more of a set and forget mentality. Now I'm getting more into different ways of trellising, cutting the plants, determinate vs. indeterminate, so much more to learn!
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Once upon a time on usenet Michael Evangelista wrote:

Do youself a favour - remove a lateral from a tomato plant and stick it into moist.... anything really! Seedraising mix is good but potting mix will do, a container of ~200ml size is enough to start a cutting. Just make sure it's not in direct sunlight but gets reasonable diffuse light and trim back any large leaves so it doesn't demand water that the nonexistant roots can supply. Before very long roots will form to fill that need for water and nutrients and you'll have a new plant.
You can do the same with the peppers, they grow well from cuttings too. Not as well as the tomatoes so maybe try those first?
Best of luck with your gardening endeavours. :)
--
Shaun.

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Reading the thread, I seem to be an outlier.
I typically start tomatoes in 4" pots (2" for everything else) with about 3 seeds per pot (4 if the seed is extra old). I thin (by cutting) down to 2 plants sometime after 2-3 sets of true leaves. I leave them as 2 plants until after I set them out.
Once I see what has survived the great outdoors (and any freak cold spell), I thin to one plant.
Last year's yield was pretty good despite leaf spot. Now that I know how many ways I brought that on myself, I hope for a less stressful season this year.
I should have planted the tomato seeds by now, but haven't. Hopefully this weekend.
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Drew Lawson | What you own is your own kingdom
| What you do is your own glory
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@drew

how did you bring that on? Love the signature btw.
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I did the opposite of just about every "how to prevent leaf spot" list you can find.
While I've been gardening for decades, I also moved around a lot. So this is the first garden I've had in the same place for over 3-4 years. Sloppy habits caught up with me. The relevant one is that I've been lazy about fall cleanup. I'd leave debris on the plant cages and let winter weather strip it off. That made a great refuge for spores.
Also, while I mulched the bulk of the garden early, I left the space right around the tomatoes bare until they got some height. So infection from the soil was easier.
I wanted the tomatoes to have the best chance, so the prior year's compost pile went where I was planning to plant them. And the pile wasn't fully finished when I spread it in.
I also probably had the cages closer together than I should have, so plant-to-plant spreading was easy. (This was definitely part of the mildew problem on the cucumbers.)
On top of all that, I mistook the leaf spot for sun scald. So I didn't start treating it until it was established for weeks.
This time I cleared the cages in the fall, and gave them a pass with the propane wand for good measure. I will probably flame them again in the spring, just for paranoia. And I intend on having a load of mulch on hand when I set the plants out, so spores in the soil don't get splashed.
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Drew Lawson And I know there's more to the story
I know I need to see more
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