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#81299 Jul 2nd, 2007 at 06:18 PM
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Should the snappers that grow on the upper branches of tomatoes be snapped off as well? Is this to be continued while the tomato plants grow?


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Rosepetal #81411 Jul 3rd, 2007 at 04:27 AM
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what is a snapper---are you referring to the Suckers?/

and if you are--i have heard of them, but while I think they are the extraneous limbs that grow out of say the 90* angles of limbs--I am not totally sure---and i would love to know for sure---because i have heard it makes all the difference in the growth of the plant, & the size of the tomatoes. is any of this true--as I say--"I have heard this"


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JunieGirl #81522 Jul 3rd, 2007 at 07:31 AM
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I'm not a phd botanist or anything, just telling u what i've read here & what's been passed down to me from generations of gardening.

The main stalk & its branches for almost a 90 degree angle in relation to eachother. "Sappers" form at this angle, right in the armpit of the branch & mainstalk. THey grow at a wickedly fast rate, and from what i'm told SAP the energy of the plant (hence why they grow so fast i presume).

I have from day 1 of gardening plucked ALL of these "sappers" from my plants. I get enormouse fruits, ranging 3.5"+ and a bountiful amount of them. I DO beleive it makes a difference in the plants growth, I could logically see how these "Sappers" would suck the energy from the plant & put it towards its own needy uses.

In my opinion, i'm out every day looking for these, they grow several inches (6+) in a day's time so I get rid of them when i see them first forming at the armpit of the tomato plant.

Hope this helps!!

Danno #81619 Jul 3rd, 2007 at 09:47 AM
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Danno, boy are you ever right. Sometimes it seems they grow while you look for the next plants sappers.

My mistake, I called them snappers....not sure why.

I'll keep at it, the tomatoes that are hanging already are just gorgeous. I've tried to keep these sappers off but I've missed some and those that I've missed I find hard to snap off as they're so big already.


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Rosepetal #81638 Jul 3rd, 2007 at 10:47 AM
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yah due to the rapid growth of these, sometimes theyre big for my plants too. . but no fret I just bend them over & twist em off. They usually snap pretty easy if theyre even a few days old.

GL to you! I cant wait till I can start eatin some tomatas!!!

Danno #81660 Jul 3rd, 2007 at 11:57 AM
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so "sappers" and what I have always called "suckers" are the same thing, right??? and thanks for the lesson. I have been doing right--but I was ever sure---so, as I said--thanks!!


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JunieGirl #81741 Jul 3rd, 2007 at 03:37 PM
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Just got in from checking my tomatoes and I see I have a few that are getting mighty close to a tennis ball size.

Boy me too, I can't wait to eat some tomatoes mmmmmmmmmmm

Glad you know now Carol, it's been a real pleasure looking after my tomatoes with such good help right at my finger tips.


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Rosepetal #96283 Jul 24th, 2007 at 08:18 AM
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Hi there, new member. I'm growing a tomato plant in a container (barrel style) up against the back of my house, facing west. I've harvested about five tomatoes, the first three being the largest, about the size of a fist. I have roughly fifteen more green and growing. I feed with compost about once a month and water the base regularly. I'm very inexperienced. I try to research about gardening on the internet and I like to just try new things, the best way I can.

This is the first I've ever heard of a sapper. I think I know what you're talking about, but can anybody post a picture? Will these branches have any tomatoes on them, or are they all leaves?

blackberrygrl #96318 Jul 24th, 2007 at 09:18 AM
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Its best to snip off the sappers so the plant focuses its energy on growing tomatoes instead of more branches and leaves. (less sappers more fruit production) I have had toms on sappers I've missed but those plants had less and smaller than the others. I'll see if there are any on my plants when I go home to get a pic of.


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Wrennie #96792 Jul 25th, 2007 at 05:12 AM
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Here is one and a teeny one starting. See the main stem, then a branch on the left and in its node another branch coming out. So instead of a Y its more like a W snip that sucker off. See at the next joint down it looks like a little leaf is coming out in the same spot. Same thing starting there.
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Wrennie #96882 Jul 25th, 2007 at 07:41 AM
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Blackberrygrl welcome to a great forum.

Wrennie is right these snappers are tricky to keep up with, it seems they grow overnight.

Wrennie I have another question for you if you can help me. How green can I pick my tomatoes? Do I have to wait till they change to a lighter green? Or do I pick them off as soon as they're big enough?

Someone mentioned I should pick the older bigger green ones which will then give the next set more nutrients to grow.


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Rosepetal #97022 Jul 25th, 2007 at 09:43 AM
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Howdy howdy all you tomato lovin' neighbors to the north(and east)of me.
I might have a bit of wisdom(via trial(s)and error(s)),and hours of reading that I might pass along. Blackberrygrl barrel gardening is my preference so you have no worms invading; don't know why but never showed. There is no need to compost because you should using potting soil in the pots. Tomato Plant
food,miracl-gro,will suffice twice a month. When you say you water the base regularly I am curious, would you elaborate more please? Also there is a plant hormone called "SUPERthrive-50inone". I strongly recomend it.
As for the suckers the tomato plant produces so much sugar from the photosynthesis process.When the plant has an over-abundance of sugar it sprouts these shoots in where the sugar will be diverted to the new growth slowing down the maturation of other plant parts i.e. fruit size and hasty ripening. You also want to prune any leaves off below your first fruit cluster for they to will sap sugar and energy. No matter how large the suckers get you can always cut them off. Now with determinates you do not want to snip these off, seeing as more branches equals more fruit.
I have 3 plants that have been giving me an average of 9 tomatoes daily for the last 6 weeks varying sizes. One plant alone has 75 tomatoes and still producing. Green tomatoes can be picked, store in a brown paper bag,dark space, for a week or two. Color will be there but sugar content wont. Look for recipes green ketchup, chow chow, green chutney and utilize them that way also. Hope this helps.


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Rosepetal #97025 Jul 25th, 2007 at 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Rosepetal

Wrennie I have another question for you if you can help me. How green can I pick my tomatoes? Do I have to wait till they change to a lighter green? Or do I pick them off as soon as they're big enough?

Someone mentioned I should pick the older bigger green ones which will then give the next set more nutrients to grow.

why I never pick mine green, sorry I cant help with that one.


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Wrennie #97045 Jul 25th, 2007 at 02:15 PM
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chefbillruiz2004, thanks for replying. By the way welcome to a great forum, people like you have created this place into what it is today. We're here to help each other thro' our tests and trials.

What I need to know is if I leave the tomatoes on the vines till they ripen will that produce smaller tomatoes with the next ones beside it?

Thanks Wrennie, I did not want to pick mine green either so that's why I'm asking.




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Rosepetal #97110 Jul 25th, 2007 at 08:10 PM
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I am so confused--why would I want to pick my tomatoes while green??
I have had then crowd out one another, and so only get so big, is that the reason??

Now I will say that we like to pick green tomatoes, slice them thin & bread & fry them. YUM! They are one of my health conscience DD's few vices.

Wrennie, thanks for the picture of the suckers. Now I know for sure.



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JunieGirl #97152 Jul 26th, 2007 at 04:31 AM
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I find as I pick my red ones the green ones near it arent done growing yet and will catch up in size a bit before ripening.
Carol I think people pick them green for the recipes like fried green tomatoes. I dont know why ya would otherwise. Its not like your picking the green ones to make room for the red ones lol {Sorry Ooooold joke}


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Wrennie #97265 Jul 26th, 2007 at 06:40 AM
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You can make chow preserves with green tomatoes as well. Our growing season isn't long enough to ripen tomatoes on the vine, well unless you grow cherry tomatoes.

Hmmm, I know an over ripe cucumber stops the rest of the cucumbers from growing on the vine, not sure if it's the same for tomatoes though, good question.


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Sunflowers #97351 Jul 26th, 2007 at 08:06 AM
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Rosepetal I hope this will help your quandary... going back to one of the original ???s. Yes you can pick a tomato when it is green, or when it shows hints of red, however, if the fruit is not left on the vine til it is at least 75% ripened it will not contain the brix that we die for in the summer , hence growing our own tomatoes.
The tomato plant has a predetermined genetic sizing, for lack of better terms, as to how large a tomato will grow- be it in a cluster or hanging solo. That is where the research on tomato recipes come in handy...Segue... A couple years back I had a plethora of heirlooms that I was canning for the off season. Because the tops of heirlooms get a little leathery I was slicing those off and reserving for later useage. I then decided to make an heirloom ketchup, more along the India(n) style ketchup and it turned out wonderfully.
Most importantly is harvesting-the more you harvest the more the plant will produce. Simply put, the plant is not producing fruit for our consumption, it is producing it so the species will survive and flourish for the next year. When it senses loss of 'seed' it will keep putting more out...
...hope this helps.


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chefbillruiz2004 #97358 Jul 26th, 2007 at 08:12 AM
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Indian ketchup...??...do tell.....


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Wrennie #97583 Jul 26th, 2007 at 01:49 PM
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Hey thanks everyone for your comments and questions. I had beautiful cherry tomatoes last year and they ALL ripened on the vine.

That's why I asked the question, since someone told me to pick them green, it had me confused as well.

The only time I feel green tomatoes need to be picked is if the plant is dying or maybe frost or something like that.


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Rosepetal #97643 Jul 26th, 2007 at 06:15 PM
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Wrennie: Thanks for the sapper pic! That really helps me.

Rosepetal: Thanks! I look forward to all the trials and tribulations, sharing and celebrations :)

Chef Bill: I water about every 2 days, but I hold out a little if it's been raining. I've been waiting until the leaves wilt a bit. Sometimes I don't get to them in time, though, as I work 12 hours and don't get to look at them until 8pm. Can you explain more about the tomato food and hormone? I feel strongly about not adding any...unhealthy?...products to plants I'll be ingesting. How do you feel about it?

I was just talking to the girls at work about when to pick my tomatoes. They have had a lot of seeds (and that pulpy stuff) and the flesh has been soft. I'd perfer them to have a slightly firmer texture. Does picking time affect this?

Great discussion! Thanks for all the input.


Rosepetal #97776 Jul 27th, 2007 at 08:09 AM
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Wreenie and Blackberrygrl, just wanted to let you know I will get back to you both later today. It is gonna be a scorcher today and there are some tomatoes outside that need tending prior to the heat of the day. I'm sure y'all empathize and thank you if you do. Apologies all around for the delay(s).


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chefbillruiz2004 #100167 Jul 30th, 2007 at 11:14 AM
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Good day all you tomato lovers...I trust everybody had a lovely weekend.
First and foremost I would like to apologize for the delay i had to pay an overdue visit to a friend's tomato garden and we were dealing with the tomato- horned worm as well as tiny pale green (inch)worms inside the fruit. Has anyone experienced these before? The horned worm feeds on the leaves, that I know. But inside the fruit and lacking a tiny horn is a worm that I am not familiar. Anybody???

Blackberrygrl,yes it does matter at what time you do harvest...you want to pick later in the afternoon; highest brix content present. Yoiur friend's toms which are seedful and pulpy sounds like she is over-watering. As far as your watering your's make sure you do it prior your leaving for work. The plant can dry off as the sun comes up...unless your feeding the plant. Then you can do it at night; most plants feed at night. The best suggestion I can make to anyone is invest in an $8.00 H2O/PH indicator and a 2 gallon, "spray" tip, watering can. After a week or so you will know pretty much how oftewn and how much H2O your tomatoes require. Plants wilting prior to watering I feel is an open invitation to blossom end rot.
As far as food and hormones a great one is compost tea.. Just make it as you wood a "Spot o' tea" but on a larger scale in a trash can. Let it sit for a few days and h20 with this brew. Plants utilize liquid much quicker than solids.

Wreenie I have to look for recipe that I wrote(finally) for the Indian ketchup. I will get it to you prior to your bountiful harvest...if you can give me an ETH that would be great.

Rosepetal, I couldn't agree with you anymore on the color at which time to harvest. I also follow one other rule; "the plant will relinquish the fruit when it is time." You should really only have to gently twist the tomato in other words. If it doesn't pop off in your hand then it is not ready.



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chefbillruiz2004 #100174 Jul 30th, 2007 at 11:32 AM
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My ETH... well lets just say theres no rush. I'll guess the very end of August or beginning of september. My Oregon Springbush plant has a couple teeny fruits, none of the others yet. Is it a spicy ketchup? More curious than anything.


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Wrennie #100964 Jul 31st, 2007 at 10:13 PM
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It all depends... it's entirely up to you. As I tell people recipes are just guidelines; You tweeking(sic?) it makes it your own. Ketchup originated in India years ago. So keeping that in mind when I was making it I tossed in some indian spices and out came something wonderful.


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chefbillruiz2004 #101293 Aug 1st, 2007 at 01:51 PM
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Chef....Wrennie I picked my first almost ripe tomato this morning. clap
The only reason was the birds or a mouse got the first bit. bop

But they're coming along just great, many are starting to show the ripening colors, I can't wait to have my first fully ripened tomato off the vine. luv


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Rosepetal #102217 Aug 3rd, 2007 at 09:20 AM
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What causes a tomato plant to bloom but then not produce any fruit? The bloom just disappears.

chefbillruiz2004 #102324 Aug 3rd, 2007 at 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by chefbillruiz2004
It all depends... it's entirely up to you. As I tell people recipes are just guidelines; You tweeking(sic?) it makes it your own. Ketchup originated in India years ago. So keeping that in mind when I was making it I tossed in some indian spices and out came something wonderful.


I tweak everything!
So it was spicy then?


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Rosepetal #104380 Aug 6th, 2007 at 10:26 AM
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Kudos Rosepetal!!! I share your joy and exuberance with you...I am beaming ear to ear as I "write." Enjoy. As far as the birds and meeses go, you might try putting a "foil tape" hanging around the garden as do grapegrowers aka vintners do in vineyards.


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Steveg #104388 Aug 6th, 2007 at 10:32 AM
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Steveg it could be a number of things...soil ph; blossom end rot which derived from soil ph or mineral deficiency due to lack of consistent moisture.
Even before checking out those avenues; at this time of year it could be temperature. Blossoms will not set fruit if it is 90 degrees F daytime or above or if it is 55F or below at nite.
As noted a while back you might want to give it a pinch of epsom salt as well.
Good luck.


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chefbillruiz2004 #105033 Aug 7th, 2007 at 03:48 PM
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Bill, I've been picking tomatoes every day now, sure am glad I did as you said and waited for them to ripen. If we can't eat them I blanch them and stick them in the freezer till I have enough to make what I want.


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