Seed Savers Exchange Forum
 

Go Back   Seed Savers Exchange Forum > Gardening > Tomatoes

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-26-2012, 04:41 PM   #1
espring
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Broomfield, CO
Posts: 20
Default Can I prune tomato starts?

I started tomatoes indoors as I normally do, but this year I kept them on heat mats longer, and fed the plants with diluted fish emulsion on a regular basis. This was all an experiment to see if that's good or bad for starting indoors. The plants were extremely healthy and looking great, but now they're huge! They have exceeded the height of my grow lights and are stretching up above them now. The tops are leggy and reaching for light (in my basement), but the lower portions still look good. Can I prune the tops to be under the lights? That would mean cutting the main stem anywhere from several inches to more than a foot on some of the plants. They're way to big for Wall-o-Waters when I go to transplant them, which will not be good in my harsh Colorado climate. I still have another week or two until I'm safe enough from frost to transplant.

Also, anyone know why they shot up so vigorously? Was it from the fertilizer encouraging growth?
espring is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2012, 09:41 AM   #2
SallySec
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: New York
Posts: 19
Default

I would expect its the ideal environment you created with the heat plus regularly feeding them. I use fish emulsion on my seedlings but I cut it back and dilute it more than necessary. Ive never done heat mats, but I have a friend who uses them alone without fertilizing and her plants get huge too, she plants under row covers and plastic when they are really big. Good Luck
SallySec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2012, 12:20 PM   #3
espring
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Broomfield, CO
Posts: 20
Default

I wound up trimming the tops. As a result, they are putting more energy to the lower growth as I suspected. They're sending out a lot of suckers which isn't great. We'll see how it goes.
espring is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2012, 03:44 PM   #4
hydrohort
Junior Member
 
hydrohort's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 13
Default What type of light?

What type of light(s) were you using for your tomato starts/seedlings?

In my experience, if the topmost portion of tomato growth was stretched and leggy, the most-likely cause would be that the light wasn't adequate enough to produce compact, stocky growth.
hydrohort is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2012, 03:46 PM   #5
espring
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Broomfield, CO
Posts: 20
Default

4' dual bulb fluorescent fixtures, with standard bulbs, not grow bulbs. I have three fixtures all giving light to the plants, so I don't think I have a lack of light. Plus, I didn't have this issue last year, but last year I started a little later, didn't fertilize as much, and didn't keep the heat mats on for very long.
espring is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2012, 04:19 PM   #6
hydrohort
Junior Member
 
hydrohort's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 13
Default

Well, fluorescent bulbs aren't necessarily the best lighting for the setup you described. Sure, you didn't have the stretching issue last year, as you already stated you didn't fertilize as much, started later, and used the heat mats less. So you increased those three factors while holding the lighting constant (I'm just assuming).

I start seedlings under T5 fluorescent grow bulbs and increase the lighting from 400W-1000W Metal Halide bulbs before transplanting to my greenhouse, otherwise I get stretched plants.
hydrohort is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:57 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.