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Sun May 19, 2013, 12:33 AM

Question about spindly tomato plants.

Sooo.... we bought seeding tomato plants back before Easter, but the weather got so freakily frigid we couldn't plant them until last weekend. Now they're all spindly. They're showing some new growth on the existing leaves, but they will never flesh out like a healthy tomato plant should.

Here's my question: there's some vigorous, healthy new growth at the base of the plants. Can I just pinch off the spindly upper plant and give them a kind of reboot from the new growth at the bottom?

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Reply Question about spindly tomato plants. (Original post)
intheflow May 2013 OP
nebenaube May 2013 #1
beac May 2013 #2
NJCher May 2013 #3
intheflow May 2013 #4
Gormy Cuss May 2013 #5
NJCher May 2013 #6
intheflow May 2013 #7
Retrograde May 2013 #8
NRaleighLiberal May 2013 #9
intheflow May 2013 #10

Response to intheflow (Original post)

Sun May 19, 2013, 02:55 AM

1. you could...

 

You could also just give them a good drink and leave them along for a few more weeks...

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Response to intheflow (Original post)

Sun May 19, 2013, 03:32 AM

2. I wouldn't prune them like that.

Give them some time to bounce back.

I had some sad cold-shocked toms one April that recovered beautifully by June.

Good luck!

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Response to intheflow (Original post)

Sun May 19, 2013, 10:21 AM

3. Just plant them sideways

Good diagram here.

http://earthworksgardens.blogspot.com/2012/04/how-to-plant-tomatoes-build-tomato.html

This way, any nodules (I think that's the right term) will root and your tomato will be bigger and have a better, more extensive root system.


Cher

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Response to NJCher (Reply #3)

Sun May 19, 2013, 11:38 AM

4. They're already 2.5 feet tall,

with a foot between the healthy new growth at the bottom and new growth by the top leaves. I don't know that planting them sideways is really viable. But that's an interesting link for future food for thought.

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Response to intheflow (Reply #4)

Sun May 19, 2013, 12:14 PM

5. That's exactly the type of plant that should be buried neck-deep

to convert all of that spindly area into roots. Either bury it in a deep hole or try to plant it sideways. I've done both with plants that tall and had success. Burying sideways is a little trickier.

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #5)

Sun May 19, 2013, 05:25 PM

6. should have mentioned

I've done it before with spindly, long tomato vines. They love it!


Cher

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Response to NJCher (Reply #6)

Mon May 20, 2013, 07:54 PM

7. I'm giving it a shot!

Buried them today, we shall see how they do. Thanks!

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Response to intheflow (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 03:01 PM

8. Plant them deep - tomatoes can put out new roots from the leaf nodes

Mine are still in their pots waiting to put on a few more inches, but here in the Bay Area I've found that no matter when I start them they don't produce until mid-September anyway.

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Response to intheflow (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 04:16 PM

9. You can do a few things.....see below

You can cut the top 6 inches or so and root it in water (takes a week or so, sunny window), the pot it up and leave it in the shade for a week - you will have a clone of the plant. You can do the same with the sideshoots growing lower down. Tomato plants are tough - as others said, you can plant it very deep, or sideways - if you do, root one of the lower sideshoots just in case to have a back up.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #9)

Wed May 22, 2013, 11:01 PM

10. I ended up rooting planting them sideways.

We had five plants. I was successful replanting four but broke the top off one just trying to move the tomato cage off it. There're some very vigorous lower leaves emerging from the stem, though, so I'm going to leave it there and see if it either recovers itself naturally or becomes another opportunity to plant it sideways. Tomato gardening is an adventure, for sure!

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