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Thread: Another tomato question

  1. #1

    Default Another tomato question

    So we've been growing tomotoes for a few years now (in a greenhouse). We start them inside, then transplant to the greenhouse. So far, they have ALWAYS been "leggy"...even the determinate type. We have yet to get nice bushy plants and they always need extensive support....again...even the determinate types.

    I have an idea what our problem is. The room we start them in is easily a constant 75-80 degrees and I may have the light too far above them. I'm making provisions this year to keep the light 1-2" above the starts and we plan to put them in the greenhouse as soon as we're sure they've takn off. We put a heater in sthe greenouse so we can keep it warm enough at night time temps. earlier in the year.

    Oh yeah, we've also had a fan running on them to try and get them to thicken up. Last year, even our determinate type plants esceeded 6' inheight and needed to be supported in a big way. Basically just 2 stems per plant that kept getting longer.

    I'm wanting this year to keep the height in check and am wondering about the effects to the plant if I cut the main stem once it reached the height I don't want it to exceed. Sort of prune it as you would a the shape you want.

    I'm hoping that by being exposed earlier to the cooler air and fan coupled with what I would consider aggressive pruning, we'll be able to have "normal" appearing bushes. Do you think I'm on the right track or do I need to look somewhere else to address my problems....maybe I have a fertilizer issue?

    Thanks in advance for any ideas or advice you'd be willing to offer.

  2. #2
    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Alaska, Mat valley


    Artificial light just don't have enough umph to give off enough strong full spectrum light.
    The metal halide are the best, I now there are some real bright 4 bulb 4' fluorescent but
    are pretty expensive but work better than the older ones.
    Leggy toms,, I plant in a trough with just the to 2 or 3 leaves above the soil.
    The stalks will develop more roots, & the plants grow well.
    I call it planting them up to their necks.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    I do the same MB with all my plants. They all seam to be leggy but once I transplant all that leg is buried.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Interior Alaska


    Light deprivation, too much nitrogen, too little potassium, or a ph issue are all potential culprits.

    For our 'maters, we try to keep a ph of 6.2 to 6.5 in those flats and beds. Some nutrients aren't as available if outside a certain/specific ph range, and while you may have plenty of a specific nutrient, if the ph is outside of the range that allows the plant to take up that nutrient, it may act as though there's not enough there.

    Tomatoes don't typically like a whole lot of nitrogen. A modest amount is usually more than enough; especially when first starting out.

    Potassium will help with your stalk development, and aids in keeping the plants more compact, too.

    Think of plants like you would people in some form of supervised care; infants and the elderly rarely receive a huge five course meal. They're not ready for it. They can't digest it. You can literally make them sick with such a regimen. Both very young or older (sometimes diseased) plants are very similar. Give them what they need, WHEN they need it..

    Too much love is a lot like too little love; same results a lot of the time. Treat them more like the room mate that you kinda' like, but who you tend to give lots of space to. Don't ignore them, but don't over-do the interactions either.


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