Single Stem , double , or cage

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Volvo
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Single Stem , double , or cage

#1

Post: # 27141Unread post Volvo
Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:05 am

Or even let your plant sprawl and do its own thing ??.
Think most may trajn their plant to single or two stem to allow airflow for deseases and might be something to do with type of region one lives in.
Know first year of my Heirloom Tomato growing most plants were in cages and think it was one of the best crops ever but after that cages were a disaster due to climate issues.
Would like to know how most plant out their plants just for interest really.
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ponyexpress
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#2

Post: # 27142Unread post ponyexpress
Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:18 am

This year, I’m trying to use single stem for my indeterminate varieties. A few plants do have a second stem or three because I was busy with other stuff and didn’t get around to pruning the suckers.

The determinates are all in cages.
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goodloe
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#3

Post: # 27144Unread post goodloe
Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:33 am

20200310_144656 (2)_LI.jpg
20200310_144656 (2)_LI.jpg (5.07 MiB) Viewed 330 times
I use 5 ft CRW cages elevated on 3 T-posts, for a total height of 7 ft. I put 3 plants around the outside of each cage, and TRY to keep them to no more than 2 stems. Currently, my Big Beef are over 8 ft and starting to flop over the top of the cages...
*CRW=concrete reinforcing wire*
I have 2 seasons: Tomato and pepper season, and BAMA Football season!

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brownrexx
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#4

Post: # 27151Unread post brownrexx
Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:34 am

I use 5', cages for all of my tomatoes and they do get a bit unruly but I harvest lots of tomatoes which is my goal.

All of my plants are indeterminate and I only grow 17 or 18 plants to serve my needs.
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karstopography
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#5

Post: # 27154Unread post karstopography
Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:53 am

I like bamboo stakes. Big and tall indeterminate plants I believe need a couple of stout stakes per plant. I like them best when I stay on top of removing suckers until maybe once there are lots of fruit, then I might let the suckers grow a little for shading the fruit then pinch off the growth tip of the sucker. Here in the spring season, there’s a fruit setting window or time period due to climate and it becomes more about shading the fruit from sunscald than getting new fruit set. Sucker foliage at the top can help add some shade and the growth tips can be pinched off whenever you want.

Some plants naturally will fork, not like a sucker, and produce 3 or 4 main stems. I let that happen. Some seem to just have one stem. I had three different Carmello tomatoes, one did one stem the other two forked. They all produced similar results.
Zone 9a/b, right on the line, in the heart of the Columbia bottomlands. Heat zone 9, Sunset Zone 28, annual rainfall 52”

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Sue_CT
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#6

Post: # 27162Unread post Sue_CT
Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:34 am

I use Texas Tomato cages, I never prune. At all. I personally find that my plants stay healthier longer with more foliage. I remove any diseased leaves but usually have plenty of foliage left to support the plants and shade the fruit.

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PlainJane
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#7

Post: # 27174Unread post PlainJane
Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:05 am

I also use Texas Tomato Cages but prune to about 2-3 stems, depending on the foliage.
In N. Florida it’s a balance between sun protection and maximum air flow.
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#8

Post: # 27191Unread post FarmerShawn
Sun Aug 02, 2020 12:44 pm

In my hoophouse I keep them to two stems, supported with tomato twine and clips. Outside I start off with two stems, then give up and just pinch off small suckers when I see them, but let a few more grow. They are trellised on Hortonova netting, hitched with a Max Tapener.
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#9

Post: # 27212Unread post Sue_CT
Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:06 pm

I find my Texas Tomato cages work better with fuller, unpruned plants, because they fill the cages better. Pruned plants are too narrow and the tomato cages are too wide to give them much support. So in addition to location, the type of support you use can dictate what works best for you.

This was a recent photo of my garden. You can see the plant that isn't as full does not get as much support from the cages. I really need to take another picture since this was before I watered in 95 degree heat and they are looking pretty wilty:

ImageGarden 7-25-20 by Susan Albetski, on Flickr

rossomendblot
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#10

Post: # 27217Unread post rossomendblot
Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:42 pm

Indeterminates trained to a single or double stem up string, determinates/dwarf tomato projects in 3ft tall cages. I've given up growing indeterminates outdoors since we live on the North West coast of the UK and without fail the plants get battered by summer storms and often fail to ripen. The greenhouse is 10ft long and I can just about fit 8 indeterminates in there, with a couple of the more well behaved varieties double stemmed, though it does still get very crowded and good ventilation is imperative to prevent disease issues.

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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#11

Post: # 27318Unread post ponyexpress
Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:25 pm

Sue_CT wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:06 pm
I find my Texas Tomato cages work better with fuller, unpruned plants,
I never heard of Texas Tomato cages so I did a search. Was shocked at how expensive they are. Something like 4 for $160. Do you feel that they're worth the investment?
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Sue_CT
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#12

Post: # 27321Unread post Sue_CT
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:12 pm

I do. Mostly because the others didn't work and didn't last as long. I think it is 6 for that price but I could be wrong. I used to buy new cages and stakes every couple of years and was always trying to keep them up as they outgrew the cages. It partially depends on how you garden and if you are likely to continue gardening with tomatoes long enough for them to give you the pay back. They are heavy duty, fold flat to store and are tall enough to hold a full unpruned plant 6 feet tall. If you grow smaller determinates or grow in bags or pots, they would not probably be worth it. I did the math and figured out how long they would have to last for me to break even and I decided I was just paying for the next 6 or so years of cages up front. But I put them up and let the plants go and they work great for me. I do tuck in the growing branches occasionally that are growing through the cage, but that is about it. If you like to prune your plants, I would also not recommend them. I would not recommend the wider ones. They have two sizes and I think the smaller width works with more plants. The wider ones are too wide to offer support for a lot of varieties. There are also folding, heavy duty cages made by other people, like Gurney or Burpee. Those are pretty good but not as tall, not as heavy duty, and only less expensive because you can buy them one at a time. If you figured the price of 6, the TTC are the better buy. The 6 pack is a better buy at 169.00, that is about 28,00 each. Burpee and Gurneys want 39.99 each and while better than average cages, they don't come close in size or sturdiness to the TTC. There are certainly cheaper ways to support tomatoes. But none I have found that are as easy and they are all more work, including building your own with fencing, using string (you have to keep up with winding it around the plants as they grow), etc. Once again, if you like to prune or grow determinates they are probably not for you. Oh ya, if you grow 50 plants each year, you better have a deep pocket for those, lol. If you have a local tomato buddy maybe split a 6 pack and see how you like them. The 4 pack are too expensive for my pocket.This is the package I get: http://tomatocages-com.3dcartstores.com ... _p_15.html The regular cages are 2 pieces, without any additional extensions, and that is what you see in my picture above. It easily handles a 6 foot plant. Before I got a second set I would plant the cages farther apart and put a plant in between two cages that also had plants in them and I would tie up the other plant to the cages on each side.

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Sue_CT
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#13

Post: # 27406Unread post Sue_CT
Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:05 pm

Huh. We got hit a bit with the tropical storm, formerly hurricane. No electricity, I am on generator, but somehow I have internet. Lots of tree branches down, some power lines, etc. Not a single tomato cage moved. Plants are fine. Even in the dark, I could see tomatoes still hanging from the vines. I won't know if I lost any tomatoes at all until tomorrow, but not having a single plant topple over is pretty darned good, lol. I will take it.

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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#14

Post: # 27424Unread post ponyexpress
Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:54 am

Sue_CT wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:05 pm
Huh. We got hit a bit with the tropical storm, formerly hurricane. No electricity, I am on generator, but somehow I have internet. Lots of tree branches down, some power lines, etc. Not a single tomato cage moved. Plants are fine. Even in the dark, I could see tomatoes still hanging from the vines. I won't know if I lost any tomatoes at all until tomorrow, but not having a single plant topple over is pretty darned good, lol. I will take it.
I was wondering how they did. That's great. About 3 out of my 5 untied/unstaked cages were leaning over about 30deg. The other 4 cages (total of 9, 4 tied, 5 untied) were tied to my fence so they didn't move. I also have two structures where I train the tomatoes along a vine. No damage there.

In past years, I use to put a t-post with each cage but didn't do that this year. I'll have to look into the texas tomato cage for my determinate varieties.
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#15

Post: # 27440Unread post Sue_CT
Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:44 pm

Went out and picked about 10 tomatoes in various stages of ripening, I didn't go through all the plants yet, but I didn't see any laying on the ground, so I think I escaped pretty well. I am just into getting to prime time for my tomatoes and they are starting to come ripe more at one time. Still hoping to have enough to be able make sauce and do some canning. I am not sure how the super hot July will affect the production of fruit late in the season.
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LK2020
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#16

Post: # 27468Unread post LK2020
Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:32 pm

I also have never really pruned my tomatoes, and also like Sue_CT, I also cage my plants and they do need to bush out a bit for the cages to support them. I use the Burpee cages primarily, and they are $40-$50 but that's for three (3) cages. They make Pro size which is 14-inch square, which is actually fine for a lot of tomatoes, and XL Pro which is 18-inch square for bigger varieties. Both sizes have extenders available, again adding to the expense, something like $40 for 3 extenders, which take the height up to 64-72 inches for the smaller cages, and 82 inches for the 18-inch ones. If you buy them at the same time, you can get 3 14-inch cages with 3 extenders for $75. So $25 each for the extended cages. I know, I sound like an ad, but they are lovely, and make my gardening life so much easier.

I have a lot of these because I was lucky enough to get some gift certificates from friends and families, and I loaded up. They fold up, and they last magnificently. I've had them for years, leave them outside all winter, rain, snow, whatever, and they are good as new. Easy to stick into the ground.

Just weathered this awful tropical storm that has left us with power outages, downed trees, roads still closed, and it knocked over my pole beans and snapped one of my peppers. But my tomatoes were just fine, the cages did not BUDGE. And I just put them up 2 days ago, thank goodness!!! If I had not done that, it would be a tomato wasteland now.

As a bonus, it you plant them in the ground all around your squash plant, it seems to keep the $#@& groundhog at bay. Now if I can just keep him out of my yard, and my garden, so he doesn't trash all my grown-from-seed heirloom tomatoes (grrrrrhhhh).
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#17

Post: # 27482Unread post Sue_CT
Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:24 pm

Sorry, I did not realize that was for 3 cages. They are definitely better than standard cages, and I like to use them for large pots and peppers, and will also use them for smaller tomato plants, like determinates, and save my TTC's for my indeterminates. My determinates never really get more than 4 feet tall so the TTC's are over kill. The Burpee pro ones at 25.00, I would definitely upgrade to TTC, because for 3.00 more per cage I think it is well worth it. Also, sometimes at the beginning of the season you can get nice sales or coupons for Gurney's and not sure about Burpee. That is probably how I got some. I have played with the idea of getting one more order of the TTC because I am always just a couple short of what I need, but I really don't need 6 more. We will see. Maybe next year.
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LK2020
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#18

Post: # 27525Unread post LK2020
Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:00 pm

I think any good solid cages are a godsend. I was put off by the TTC prices. Burpee does have sales that apply to the cages, and I look also for their Free Shipping sales - that helps a lot.

Supporting our tomatoes is a perpetual challenge, isn't it?
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Re: Single Stem , double , or cage

#19

Post: # 27575Unread post Sue_CT
Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:29 pm

The price of the TTC IS off putting.
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