This is a guest post by Theresa B
Every year we get so many tomatoes from our garden that friends wonder what our secret is. There’s no secret but you must know a few essential methods to have tall, mostly fruit vines.
A couple of years ago we planted 12 small (pony pack size) tomato plants in a 4 x 8 foot grow box and ended up canning 119 pints after using all the fresh tomatoes that we wanted. When frost came we picked all the green ones and put them in a box to ripen in the garage.
Choose non-determinant plants (or start your own seeds). A non-determinate variety such as a beefsteak or better boy will continue to grow and produce until frost. This method does not work with determinate varieties.
If planting in grow boxes you can plant them only 1 ½ feet apart.
Place a sturdy 6- 7 foot stake next to the small plant.
Water and fertilize as needed. As the plant grows you will need to support it using twist ties to anchor it to the stake.
The most important step: As plant grows you want to have just the main vine with no off-vines. From this main vine will emerge leaf shoots and fruit shoots. These are good. Keep them.
Here’s the “secret”. After a leaf or fruit shoot has formed off the main vine, another vine will start to form at the base of the shoot between it and the main vine. It will look at first like little leaves. PINCH THIS OFF! That’s all there is to it. Eventually the vine will reach the top of the stake and beyond. It may sound labor intensive but it really isn’t. I find that if I go out about once a week it only takes about 5 minutes to “pinch”, depending how many plants you have. If your watering is consistent you will have bushels of tomatoes and a very neat looking garden. It’s very rewarding. Have fun!