Pruning and training

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Modern tomato cultivars grown as greenhouse crops retain the characteristic weak stem of their wild ancestors and therefore require support when grown with a single vertical stem.

Prune greenhouse tomatoes to a single stem. Remove all side shoots or suckers at least every week. Support the plants by plastic twine. Tie one end of the twine loosely to the bottom of the plant with a small, nonslip loop. Attach the other end to an overhead wire supported 1.8-2.5 m above the plant row. As the plant grows, it is wound around the twine in one or two easy rotations for each fruit cluster. Use twist ties or plastic snap-on clips to attach the plant to the twine when the plant becomes larger and carries a lot of fruit. For the spring crop, use an additional 1.5-2.0 m of twine at the top wires when initially tying the plant. As the plant reaches the wire, untie it and release some of the reserve twine, allowing the plant to be lowered and its lower section to lie on the ground. Pinch off, or top, the growing point of the plant about 6-7 weeks before harvest ends.

It is not certain whether removing the lower foliage from the plants is always necessary for better air circulation. However, the lower foliage usually must be removed and the crop laid down when the plants eventually reach the overhead wires. When the overhead wires are low (less than 2 ml, the early removal of the lower foliage, sometimes exposing more than one cluster, raises concerns about how this practice affects yields. In general, 1.2 m is the minimum recommended length for a stem that bears leaves. This problem can be avoided in new greenhouses by fixing the support wires higher than 2 m.

Fig. 12 Types of grafting for tomatoes; R, rootstock; S, scion (continued).

Type A. Bare-rooted plants (bench graft).

Step 1

Select a rootstock and a scion plant of similar size. Make an upward cut in the stem of one and a downard cut in the stem of the other.

Step 2

Join the two stems, which are then held together by the flaps of tissue, step 3

Bind both plants together with adhesive tape and plant them in a pot with the graft union well above soil level.

Step 4

Remove the top of the rootstock and the adhesive tape when the graft union has healed.

Fig. 12 Types of grafting for tomatoes; R, rootstock; S, scion (continued).

Type B. Rootstock and scion-plants grown in same pot; immediate detoppingof the rootstock.

Step 1

Make an upward cut in the scion and remove the rootstock top with a diagonal cut.

Step 2

Place the top of the rootstock stem into the cut of the scion stem. Step 3

Remove obstructing leaves and bind the two plants together with adhesive tape.

Fig. 12 Types of grafting for tomatoes; R, rootstock; S, scion (concluded).

Type C. Rootstock and scion plants grown together in same pot; delayed detopping of the rootstock.

Step 1

Plant scion and rootstock 10 mm apart in the same pot and grow them until they are ready for grafting. Makeanupwardcut in the scionandadownwardcut in the rootstock.

Join the two stems, which are then held together by the flaps of tissue.

Step 3

Bind both plants together with adhesive tape.

Step 4

Remove the top of the rootstock and the adhesive tape when the graft union has healed.

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Building Your Own Greenhouse

Building Your Own Greenhouse

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