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Tomatoes: Should I pinch off the buds before planting?

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toni5735
Chicago, IL
(Zone 5b)

May 16, 2011
12:48 PM

Post #8567302

My tomato plants are forming buds already and I can't wait any longer to plant them. I thought I would have them inground two weeks ago but weather has been too cold. Tomorrow they go in. Should I pinch any buds that have already formed or just leave things be?

Toni
nancyruhl
Dearborn, MI

May 16, 2011
2:27 PM

Post #8567491

I wouldn't pinch blossoms. Obviously, your plants are ready to bear fruit. With the way this season if going, we will be lucky to see our first tomatoes by August. I wouldn't take a chance on pushing that back farther.
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

May 16, 2011
2:41 PM

Post #8567521

There's always an alternative opinion, and so here you go. LOL

You're in a 5b area. Most folks in a zone 5, as I am as well, wouldn't be putting out plants until about the first of June after hardening them off for the week previous to setting them out. Putting plants out in cold soil just makes them sulk and do practically nothing

I think it's best to remove almost all buds and blossoms from plants to be set out b'c you want the energy the plant makes via photosynthesis to go into forming a great root system as well as lots of foliage.

That's called the vegetative stage of growth. If energy is diverted to the sexual stage of growth as in blossom formation and fruit set and maturation, then the plants won't have a chance to grow well at first.

The blossom cycle is about three weeks, so not only will you have a few early fruits from the few buds/blossoms you left on the plant, but you'll have new ones after about 3 weeks.

If truth be told i take off ALL buds and blossoms before plants are set out.

Carolyn
nancyruhl
Dearborn, MI

May 16, 2011
3:24 PM

Post #8567617

You know Toni, on second thought, I'd go with Carolyn's advice. Nancy
toni5735
Chicago, IL
(Zone 5b)

May 16, 2011
4:32 PM

Post #8567759

Ok, I've got two Yay's from the pro's so I'm gonna do what I'm told.

Thank You!
marvelle
Los Gatos, CA
(Zone 10a)

May 16, 2011
6:39 PM

Post #8568025

Yes, as Carolyn said is how I was trained when I took the tomato class. Energy into the roots. I think I am in Zone 9a or 9b (California) so I have another question for the pros out there. I took all the buds/flowers off when I planted two weeks ago. Now do I NOT PINCH that any more flowers/buds that I see coming up since this is a 3-week cycle? Or should I pinch current buds/flowers that are forming now to give the roots more energy??

Thanks,
Marvelle
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

May 16, 2011
6:50 PM

Post #8568054

If they've had two weeks to settle in and grow well I wouldn't bother to remove any more buds/blossoms.

And that 2 week cycle turns out to get randomized. It's not like you get a flush of blossoms all at one time, and then none for three weeks more, it's an average randomized process.

Aren't you late it getting plants out in that zone 9 growing zone? All my tomato friends in that zone sowed seed back in late Dec/early Jan and are now harvesting fruits before the high heat/humidity sets in which shuts down tomato production like a brick wall.

Carolyn
pirl
(Arlene) Southold, NY
(Zone 7a)

May 16, 2011
6:54 PM

Post #8568066

I agree with Carolyn.

We are in zone 7 but it's been such a cool spring and tomatoes want 55 degree soil so we won't be planting until June.
marvelle
Los Gatos, CA
(Zone 10a)

May 17, 2011
7:47 AM

Post #8569019

Got it on the random cycle. Thanks, Carolyn. I put the tomatoes in April 24 as we are in Sunset's Zone 9 and USDA Zone 10a I think. Started the seeds March 4. We have many micro-climates around my area in No. California. We are currently 20 degrees below normal and a few nights ago, it was down to 42 at night here. Ground registered 60 at 10AM at the time I planted and they went in deep so they are looking good now. There was a growth spirt when it was warm about 2 weeks ago but, like you said, they are sitting there now doing nothing. I understand the whole country is having weird weather now and our local weatherman said it is the weirdest, by far, that he has seen since living here in 20 years. I figure we are at minimum 1-1/2 months behind schedule for "Spring" here and, if the warm weather is pushed later into summer, should have tomatoes for Christmas!

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