The importance of tomato training is as good as the planting itself. This is because an untrained tomato plant is likely not to survive the perils of growing into the production stage. It is necessary to ensure a proper growth of your tomatoes due to their exposure to infections, animal pests, insects, harsh weather and other conditions available enough to stop every tomato plant. Tomato training is a legal means to harvest big and juicy fruits at the harvest stage. It will also grant you easy access to your garden apart from allowing you have a view of all your tomato plants swiftly. It’s important to note that the training method to be adopted is chosen before the planting. It could be caging, staking or trellises each with its unique benefits and challenges.
Materials required for tomato training
8 feet long 1 x 1 – inch stakes
Steps to training your tomatoes
Peg in your wooden or metallic stakes at about 6 foot deep with an interval of about 15 inches between each stake in rows. Tomato plants without an established height require about 25 inches intervals between the plants.
Beside each stake, plant your tomato seedling at a space of about 3 inches and allow the tomato plants to grow to a height of about 15 inches
Using the twine, tie each tomato stem loosely to the stakes
Remove all shoots and suckers between the leaf and the stems. Well developed ones may be removed by pulling the shoot backwards while the small ones can easily be removed using your index finger or thumb. It’s true that these suckers are capable of producing fruits but growing at the bottom of your tomato plants has a lot of disadvantages since the fruits would be very close to the ground. Poor air circulation and too much moisture from your irrigation make them prone to diseases.
In your tomato training, let the strongest sucker below the first truss be groomed into main stems while other suckers are pinched off completely.
You may consider adding addition stake for more support to the second stem of the plants
Monitor and guide the vine to their respective stakes each time they grow one foot taller
Check on the plants every week, at least once and nip off developing suckers to stop any additional stem in the future. Too many stems diverse the plant energy to the production of flora for more support instead of fruit production.
Remove every tip growing from each main shoot once the plants reach the top of the stakes. This will prevent the formation of more fruits that would not have enough time to mature.
Avoid planting your tomatoes in a garden where tomatoes, peppers or eggplants were previously planted. At least two years gap need to be observed before planting again.
Tomato training is not required for determinate tomato plants
Do not prune leaves that shade fruits if you suddenly expose the plants to bright sunlight in a hot and dry weather. This can cause them to develop light brown patches.