Small Tomatoes


I live in Montreal Quebec and made myself a small garden outside my office. It's full of tomatoes but some are not too big and all of them are green still. I took off the branches with no tomatoes very gentily to give more power to the tomatoes. Did I make a mistake?


Hardiness Zone: 5a

Debbie from Montreal Quebec


Hi Debbie,

What a great idea for the office, and no, you didn't make a mistake. All varieties of tomato plants produce suckers. These are the shoots that appear between the main stem and the stems of the leaves (petioles). Removing them is a great idea, and encourages the plants to focus all its energy into producing fruit rather than diverting some of it unnecessarily to the production of leaves. Small suckers can be snapped off easily by hand, while the larger, fleshier suckers can be removed using a sharp knife. There are two types of tomatoes: Indeterminate and Determinate. Indeterminate types of tomatoes will continue to grow and produce more fruit for as long as the season lasts. To create a steady supply of larger (but fewer) fruit, gardeners use a technique on indeterminate tomatoes called early pruning. With early pruning, all of the plant's lower leaves and suckers are removed below the first flower cluster, creating one strong stem that maximizes the plant's food producing efficiency by presenting all of its leaves to the sun. It also helps minimize the risk of disease and maximizes garden space.


This type of pruning makes no difference to determinate types because they come genetically preprogrammed with a specific number of stems, leaves and flowers. Pruning off the additional stems on determinate tomatoes only causes you to lose out on potential fruit.


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September 1, 20060 found this helpful

I don't think so, I always pinch my first few buds back. They should be fine. You might want to feed them with some rapid grow or something like that. I water mine with sugar water as they start to ripen to make them sweeter.

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September 1, 20060 found this helpful

It's also good to pinch off those new sucker branches that grow in the crotch of the branches. How nice you have them at your office!

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September 1, 20060 found this helpful

Actually, you did right. I always pinch off the sucker branches. These are NOT the branches than grow in the crotch. I thought that for years because I read it somewhere. The ones that grow in the crotch will produce. It's the branch below the crotch that you take off. Also, in September, I pinch off all the new flowers. That way the plant will put it's energy into ripening the tomatoes it already has. The buds that produce in September aren't going to have time to really produce tomatoes anyway if you live in a cold area.

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