Monday, June 18, 2012

Creating New Tomato Plants

      Often in a gardening season you could use more tomato plants.  Rabbits may snip them off, or ground hogs, or new space may open up from the harvest of a different crop.  You could buy some plants, put in some seed, or create new plants from your existing plants.

Marglobe Tomato,  6/7/2012
      Most tomato plants will benefit from having suckers trimmed off.  More light will get to the remaining foliage, and air circulation will be much better.  The bottom five or six branches can usually be cut off, and most plants put out new suckers at leaf junctions.  Those stems you really want to cut out, or you can get a huge bush with little tomato production.  Early in the season, the flowers are carried along the main stem, the one that you want to encourage to grow tall for light and air.  This next picture is the plant above after having been trimmed.

Much more breathing room

      I got six nice stems from my trimming work.  These were put into dirt in a six cell pack, soaked in a water bath, and put in a shady area.  For the next few days, the stems may be quite droopy, and you will think this is a stupid idea.  Make sure to keep the soil quite damp, and in a few days you will be amazed that the stems are perking up.

June 16th, and all is well

      In this picture you can see the new roots.  No chemicals, no rooting hormones, plain old garden compost.  Just helping Mother Nature to do her thing.  I planted these starts in the ground yesterday, and will make sure to water them well for a few days.  Miracle of miracles, new plants in ten days!
      I started a tomato this year called Glacier.  It is supposed to be very early, and the plants are now loaded with decent sized green tomatoes.  I am thinking that if Glacier does well at the beginning of the season, it might also do well at the end of the season.  So I am planning to start some stem cuttings now and a little later in the season.  Maybe that will extend these faster growing plants to the end of the season.  The plants don't get as big either, so maybe they could stay stuffed in a taller cold frame.  Anybody have thoughts on extending the tomato season?  I have been promised some plants of Burpee's Long Keeper and also the Red October, both varieties that are supposed to ripen after being picked off the vine.  Pick them green in October, and they are supposed to ripen into November and December,  And still taste better than store bought tomatoes.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing the great information! I have never tried this before, but would love to in the future! Happy Gardening! Mindy

  2. I never have enough tomatoes. I'll have to try this! I usually remove the suckers too early, though...we'll see if I get around to it. I also planted my tomatoes in a low spot in my garden, and I think the soil doesn't drain well there. Maybe if I start some new ones I'll try them in an area that drains better.

  3. I am going to try this with my plants this year. Great idea!