Tomatos - pinch suckers? Let them sprawl?

I have some tomatoes growing like crazy - including putting out healthy suckers. Is there any generally agreed on "best" way to grow tomatoes? Pinch suckers? Tie to trellis? Let sprawl? Any voices of experience here that would like to comment?
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On 2006-06-11 23:52:46 -0400, "Matthew Reed" <nospam at zootal dot com nospam> said:

Personal choice. I pinch mine mosto of the time.
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I always pinch out the suckers. They produce no fruit and take energy from the rest of the plant.. I made "cages" out of 4 ft wire fencing which they have just out grown. I used long pruned tree branches and stuck them inside the cage, used twine to wrap around the plant and fencing for extra support. Should have tomatoes ready to pick by next week unless I want green fried tomatoes....umm, that sounds yummy. Elaine in Ga Zone7 "Matthew Reed" <nospam at zootal dot com nospam> wrote in message

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elaine snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net says... :) I always pinch out the suckers. They produce no fruit and take energy from :) the rest :) :)
Tomato suckers produce fruit.....
--
Lar

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Yes Lar they do produce fruit. I stand corrected. I should have said the suckers are the growth that occurs between the main stem and the leaf axil of the flower stem. Eventually, if allowed to grow, they branch out into their own plant. By leaving these on, the plant expends much of its energy into the new growth rather than producing tomatoes. You end up with more tomatoes over the long run, but sacrifice size and space. So it is really up to the indidividual if they want more smaller fruit or less larger fruit. I like mine on BLT's or a side dish so the bigger the better:) Elaine in Ga Zone
says...

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yup.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List at http://weloveteaching.com/puregold / sign up: http://groups.google.com/groups/dir?hl=en&q=puregold&qt_s=Group+lookup www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I receive no compensation for running the Puregold list or Puregold website. I do not run nor receive any money from the ads at the old Puregold site. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Zone 5 next to Lake Michigan
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"Matthew Reed" <nospam at zootal dot com nospam> wrote in message

whole plant is held upright by the cage.
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It's a trade-off between your time and your garden space. Pinching suckers and tieing to a trellis will give you the most tomato for your space, but will take up your time. Letting the plants sprawl will take less time and give you more tomato per plant, but the large plants will take up more garden area.
Variety of tomato matters too, but it's too late now for you to choose. It's also too late for you to change the spacing in your garden. Bush tomatoes are good sprawlers, the others are better tied.

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If we let tomatoes sprawl, even over mulch, they always get diseased. Too much humidity and heat all summer. Keeping them off the ground and in the air helps. We rotate them from one area to another but sprawling doesn't work.

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This sounds quite likely for some areas. Where I live summer heat or humidity is not a problem.

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highly individual. basically, pinch and stake for BIG tomatoes, dont sucker and sprawl for LOTS of tomatoes. up and off the ground = less bugs. Ingrid (I let em sprawl, is easier).
"Matthew Reed" <nospam at zootal dot com nospam> wrote:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List at http://weloveteaching.com/puregold / sign up: http://groups.google.com/groups/dir?hl=en&q=puregold&qt_s=Group+lookup www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I receive no compensation for running the Puregold list or Puregold website. I do not run nor receive any money from the ads at the old Puregold site. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Zone 5 next to Lake Michigan
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I start seedlings and put one in a half-barrel beside the porch early (using those walls of water to prevent freezing). I baby this plant, weeding and watering it often, and pinch off the suckers.
The others I plant in the garden once the weather is warm. I don't baby them, just water twice weekly, and don't pinch off the suckers.
Both methods produce equal crops, at the same time. I don't know why I bother with the barrel, other than its too heavy to move and looks funny empty.
Matthew Reed wrote:

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"Matthew Reed" <nospam at zootal dot com nospam> wrote in message

Generally we cut all the suckers, and last years cause of lot of rain we leave only one or two branches the most, cause conditions for diseases and it shows the most effective and we don't change it.
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On Sun, 11 Jun 2006 20:52:46 -0700, Matthew Reed <> wrote:

Sprawled on cardboard or other clean mulch... better yield per plant.
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Matthew Reed wrote:

If you want bigger tomatoes you should pinch those suckers. If you let the suckers grow you may or may not get tomatoes from them. Some varieties do better that others when it comes to producing tomatoes from sucker growth. I do know some people that cut off the suckers and stick them (deeply) into the ground and grow additional tomato plants from them. Once cut off the mother plant they seem to produce normal growth and a normal crop of tomatoes.
I use tomato cages or stake my tomatoes. That keeps the tomatoes off the ground and keeps the tomatoes cleaner. Staking also seems to produce tomatoes that ripen more evenly than ones left on the ground to ripen. This page from my web site (third picture), http://members.iglou.com/brosen/page13.htm shows one row of my tomato plants. I usually grow over 100 plants each year. All the extra tomatoes we grow go to the neighbors.
--
Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)

Gardening for over 40 years
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