Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Suckering Tomato Plants

I was always taught to sucker my tomato plants. What are suckers, you ask? Well just look at my little tomato here. The sucker is the shoot in the elbow of the plant, where the branch and the main stalk come together. How do you sucker? You just pinch that little shoot off. That's it. Now, there are pro's and con's to suckering. I generally sucker once, then let the plant go. Inevitably, my plants will have some suckers that progress, but when the plant is beginning to develop, I like to sucker so that it can give more energy to nice development rather than being just a big plant. What do I mean? Well, my mother-in-law hasn't always been a sucker remover. She grows gorgeous tomato plants. Unfortunately, in years past, the huge plant that she grew yielded very few tomatoes. It was an enormous plant.

Suckering seems to have helped some tomato yield whoas that I've had. I've also suffered from overwatered tomatoes (in a planter box) that developed blossom end rot. I've had an underwatered tomato plant that, when the blooms developed, an elbow formed and the plant dropped the bloom along with about a 1" "arm" of plant. Give the tomato enough water and it doesn't do that. After the underwatering was corrected, that same plant (an heirloom non-GMO Brandywine) had to be supported by 5 tomato cages and gave me 66 tomatoes from one plant. No, I'm not kidding.

Suckering tomatoes? Works for me. Others will argue against it. It's all good. Whatever makes your green thumb happy.


Rach said...

Oh, I'm a "suckerer", for the same reason you gave. I'll do it once and then be done with it. (At least, that's what we did in my childhood--both families, my mom's and dad's--and it worked beautifully.)

And, yes, don't worry, when I'm at home in possession of my scanner, I'll be posting that photo of GF on the roller coaster. :oP

Jolanthe said...

I'm off to de-sucker my plants right now. :) Thanks for the tip!


ilovemy5kids said...

Wow 66 tomatoes. That is awesome! Mine are not looking so great right now.

I totally forgot about those suckers!

Great tip!
Blessings to you!

Tracey said...

This post was very helpful for this new tomato grower! Thanks also for stopping by my blog and offering advice on my plant!!

Jamie said...

Never heard of it or done it.

I'm ok with not having too many tomatoes though because I am the only one who eats them and I'll give away more than I keep.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

I've heard it works really well. I've been wanting to try it, I just never knew what to do. Thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

I have been suckering for years and it really works! I have been working with plants for years with a 75% good rating. I am into zeroscaping at this time. What a new experience!
My father grew his tomatoes hydoponically when I was a kid and found that it was really fascinating! His produce was amazing. He taught me so much!
Suckering does work. Do it!