How Do I Get A Better Yield From My Tomato Plants?
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Tips for getting bigger yields from your tomato plants

Question
I would like to get a better yield from my tomato plants this year.  I bought my tomato plants at your State Street store and your tomato fertilizer which I have applied a couple of times now.  Last year, I pruned the plants to try and focus fruit growth.  This did not work.   My yield of tomatoes was pretty spare.  What should I be doing?  To prune or not to prune, that is the question?

 

Answer
In growing tomatoes for a high yield, continue to fertilize during the first part of the growing season for plant growth.  Use a fertilize with a low first  number on the bag.  This is the nitrogen number.  I usually prefer a number in the range of 5 or lower.  the second number should be equal or higher than the first.  this is for productive of your tomato plant.  the last number will usually be lower than the first.  Once the tomato starts to have a high number of blooms , I will switch of a different fertilizer with a very high middle number.  My favorite is to apply Thrive Bloom once every two weeks as a foliar spray. This will increase your pounds of tomatoes per plant.

   
Pruning or suckering your tomato plants is a issue of choice and the method of growing.  I sucker my plants as they grow.  I use the suckering for one reason only, to increase the number of plants growing the the space I have for tomatoes.  Most people will space the tomato plant in the garden with a space of 4 or more feet apart.  They do this because of the way tomatoes grow.  I will stake my plants and prune plus tie the plants to the stake.  Suckering will allow more plant per square foot of space.  In the area most gardeners have for two plants, I will have five plants. 
   
The yield per plant by suckering will drop by about 10 to 12 pounds.  In the research I have done for yield, a plant that is grown by the usual method should produce about 50 pounds of fruit during a normal growing season.  Pruning will drop the yield to about 40 pound per plant, how ever in the space that two plants grow, I will have five plants.  In other words instead of having 100 pounds of tomatoes, I will yield over 240 pounds of tomatoes.  As you can see pruning is a personal choice and the way you want your garden to grow. 
   
The only issue I have is the difference between what some gardeners call pruning and suckering.  For me pruning is removing excess growth to keep the plant under control.  While suckering is the selective removal of side suckers to control the growth of the plant for productive value.
 
Mike Stanton
Zamzows Nampa
1518 Caldwell Blvd
Nampa Idaho
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