Growing tomatoes with no leaves???

Blanchester, OH(Zone 6a)

Has anyone heard about a technique of growing a tomato plant with only three leaves? - a $20 ebook...(snake oil?) Apparently this is suppose to reduce disease and concentrate the plants energy on the fruit...Has anybody tried this and how do you safely remove the leaves? I have pretty good luck the "normal" Just curious about this & being a free member at DG I can't read the Tomato Forum....

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Jdaryl, yep, "snakeoil"would be a great description (in my opinion).

Were something like this system viable then all commercial tomato growers across the world would certainly be involved in growing that way.

If you think about it a plant with only 3 leaves would not be able to absorb much of the sun's energy and utilize photosynthesis. As for "concentrate the plants energy on the fruit" there wouldn't be much energy to concentrate, eh? Combine that with exposing the fruit to the sun's rays you risk the chance of it getting sunscald. I suppose we could go on and on and pick this 'system of growing' apart but don't think it necessary.

Should you want to delve into it more I would make sure there is a money-back guarantee before shelling over any money.


Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I would agree with Shoe completely.

I think I saw some snake oil at Walmart today. litttle bottle of 'vitamins' for plants! found nothing on the bottle telling what it was made from, just lots of exclamation- pointed phrases!!

Vancouver, Canada

Hello there,

I'm the owner of the site in question :) Kacper.

Not snakes-oil at all. What most people do not know is that tomatoes do not actually need a bushy amount of leaves but need to be properly pruned(more than you would think) to produce the best harvest.

My grandfather grew organic tomatoes commercially for 30 years and they were the tastiest tomatoes I've ever had in my life. To date I've never tasted anything closer to those tomatoes.

I'm not an expert scientist, but my grandfather researched this to the maximum, and there is a lot of science behind careful plant pruning.

As for commercial farmers... well, there are a lot of things which the "whole world" isn't doing even though they should be doing it... like electric cars for example :)

Commercial farmers are often more concerned with making money and making fruit last than getting a tasty result and experimenting. I do not want to stereotype, there are of course many great farmers out there, but most produce you buy in "Walmart" will not have the quality we're talking about.

Kacper M. Postawski

Brimfield, MA(Zone 5a)

This question has been brought up here a few times, but here's my measly two cents. The way tomatoes are generalized on that site, is very generic and doesn't take into consideration the variety of tomatoe seeds available, in particular heirloom tomatoes. I don't know if she will join, but I am going to ask Carolyn to add her two cents, since she knows more about tomatoes than most people. She wrote the book 100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Gardener which is a great resource for newbie and knowledgable tomato growers. Check out the Tomato Forumfor answers to every question you ever have on tomatoes. The people are friendly and you will learn more about tomatoes there than anywhere. Good luck and check out the mater forum with questions on growing specifics for your zone!! :)


Mchenry, IL(Zone 5a)

i cant understand how this would work. my friend and i both garden, plant at the same time, (igrow the seeds b cuz i have the time & give her the plants). she prunes her tomatoes and removes all the suckers. i let them sprawl. she has better soil. every year i have a much higher yeild than her and am giving her tomatoes. cant see how growing with three leaves would produce a lot of tomatoes. will check out the web site just out of curiousity.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

I'm not going into great detail here picking Kacper's "technique" apart (or rather his Grandfather's technique) as I feel it will just start an ongoing he said/she said dialogue (plus give free advertisement to Kacper's product, which is not what this site is designed for).

However, it is a hilarious read, Folks! Even the novice tomato grower will undoubtedly find flaws in some of the advice given.

No offense meant, Kacper. Some of your facts are correct, most others are not, even more others have nothing to do with growing tomatoes or any other plants. If you like you can contact me directly for more discourse; I'm sure we can find great conversation.

And as a last thought, perhaps you should contact Dave and see about running an ad on the website. That would give your product more exposure and once actually tried by customers they could then submit their successes on Garden Watchdog for you, eh?

Vicksburg, MS(Zone 8a)

I am extremely doubtful of this too. I agree that the tomatoes would scald once exposed to the sun. I will stick with plants with leaves on them. BTW, my tomatoes always taste wonderful to me. Sounds like Kacper is trying to compare his to store bought. ANY tomato tastes better than store bought. And mine are red all the way through.

Monmouth, IL(Zone 5a)

Well I have to add my two cents for whatever it's worth.
But doesn't nature find the most efficient way of doing whatever needs done,
whether is in the plant or animal kingdom?

I do not doubt that your grandfather had some awsome tasting tomatoes, I wish that I could have some now.

I love homegrown tomatoes but the one you buy in the supermarkets are just not "real" tomatoes, at least they don't taste like it to me.

This message was edited Apr 29, 2007 5:12 PM

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

kenanne...I'm not exactly sure what your point is?? Can you maybe expand a bit on your post?

Brimfield, MA(Zone 5a)

Hello again Pinger, how have you been?

As a fellow DG'er, I am curious on what your exact questions on Kennane's post are about, since in my humble opinion, it seems clear. I know you and I have similiar gardening experiences in DG and we have "bumped" into each other in certain forums and always had fun. :)

I'm sure Kenn will explain further, but what she is saying first "is that nature provides" without human intervention. Obviously, as Shoe said above, we can expand that point further, but it's not worth the "he said, she said" arguments since Nature, as we all know, provides.

On a different note, I believe that a DG membership is WORTH more than it's weight in gold since true gardeners love to learn about many plants and not just tomatoes. And, if you buy a DG membership, you will learn about all aspects of gardening. Here you will find good people, good friends, good and reliable info with a site that holds its standards.

Pinger, I know you would never mean any harm to anyone because that is not your nature, so I hope my message doesn't come out the wrong way. Looking forward to seeing you around DG as usual!!!!

This message was edited Apr 29, 2007 9:46 PM

This message was edited Apr 30, 2007 5:02 AM

This message was edited Apr 30, 2007 5:07 AM

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

Hi again lafko...I'm hanging in there but feel like I'm soooo behind with my garden. I haven't planted yet...ARGH.
I meant no "ill will" to kenanne's post at all. When the animal kingdom was referenced, I thought I had missed something, that's all. And as I quite often do...I may have tried to read too much into it, trying to grasp what was worries. And my sincerest apologies if I seemed to have "come on" too strong...I was just trying to understand.

And my "two cents worth" is that I don't think anyone was out of line in any of the comments made to this post. I thought everyone was gracious in their comments and at the same time voicing their opinions. Isn't that what forums are for? It can't always come up smelling like roses...
Please don't peg me as the "Rosie O'Donnell" of DG but I always say it like it is...good or bad.

Bottom line, no one is slamming Kacper...but the validity of the concept is going to peek some curiosity. And from a whole different aspect on the situation, they say marketing is everything.
Ok, I'm done. Who knows Kacper...maybe the pressure will be on me now....hee hee.

Monmouth, IL(Zone 5a)

Hello Pinger .... No offence taken here. Maybe I should have just left out the ref to the animals. (that would be another forum)

But my point is that nature seems to know exactly what it needs to do to continue life, not too many leaves, roots or .... And also not too few leaves, roots or....

You said it well lafko, nature provides.

Also Pinger, I know how you feel, I am also behind on my garden. And I would NEVER peg you as Rosie. Good luck

Mechanicsburg, PA

My comment is that it's a shame you are exploiting your grandfather and capitalizing on his idea by charging for his secret in your "book" when he was a good neighbor and freely shared it with anyone who asked. If it were my grandfather's idea, I would have freely shared it on my web page instead of leading the reader on and on, all the time thinking the secret will be mentioned in the article. Shame on you!

Warren, MI

I have NOT bought his book, but it does sound like interesting reading. I read what I could for free and applied what I thought he was telling me, and I've gotten good results.

This is my first year growing tomatoes (2008) and I planted BeefMaster pre-started plants in a plot of 100% free city compost and I pinched off lower leaves as larger ones developed based on what the book's advertising had said. I've been pleased. My plants grew up into the cage very quickly with very little vegetation near the ground, soon they were filling their cages, and growing a few feet taller (about 5' tall), then they started growing over the sides - back down to the ground, and out. I've got lots and lots of health tomatoes ripining. I think pinching back some of the early leaves helped the main stalk grow better.

Now (July 29, 2008) I'm thinking of selectively gettting rid of excess leaves since I would prefer the plants to concentrate on ripening the tomatoes rather than growing more leaves.

Big Lake, MN(Zone 4a)

I went to the site out of curiosity, one part I read made me grin, he states his grandfather left his friend in Florida with bare skinny stems, presumably with 3 leaves on it, yet 3 WEEKS later his friend had so many tomatoes, presumably ripe, that he was giving them away!! Maybe it was a typo because earlier he had stated ripe fruit in 3 instead of 6 months.

Big Lake, MN(Zone 4a)

Just had a thought, maybe the visit to his friend was a 4 month one. If so he had better clarify that statement.

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

THREE LEAVES? Oh boy! My half-dead bell peppers are really going to produce if that's the case.

Does this pruning work in humans as well? If you cut off a bald man's arms and legs, will he grow a great head of hair in three weeks?

Yes, I'm being an ass, but if a trusted DGer will do this experiment from start to finish and post pictures of the three-leaved produce-heavy plant, I'll will gladly eat my words.

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

indy_v wrote;"My half-dead bell peppers are really going to produce if that's the case."

Why, I hadn't thought of that.I'd best save room in the freezer after all, for they way they look now, I'll surely have a bumper crop off those pathetic plants. I'll only have to clip off one more leaf......

London, United Kingdom

Hi there,
This is my first post to these forums - so go easy on me (probably should have lurked a bit). But it was this discussion that brought me here. I saw Kaspers site today. I have been growing tomatoes a while, and have decided to take one of my plants, and trim the lower leaves away up to close to the top of the trellis. The other tomatoes (I have many plants) have been left. I want to see what kind of results, if any it produces. It is a mature plant.

If I remember, I will come back here and post what I find...

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Hmm... I always trim off the lower leaves of my tomato plants - up to the first "branch" that has flowers. I figure there's no need for the plant to be putting energy into those lower leaves when it could be using it to produce more tomatoes. As long as there are plenty of leaves further up the plant, there should be no problem with photosynthesis. Another reason - it stops "splash back" when it rains, which can cause fungus problems.

Cleveland Heights, OH(Zone 5b)

Buy the Dave's membership instead of the E-book with your $20.00.

Salt Lake City, UT, United States

On Kacper's website it mentions growing pickles. I'm a beginning gardener so I'm no expert, but as far as I know you can't grow pickles. You can grow cucumbers that can be made into pickles. I would hesitate to buy advice on gardening from someone who doesn't know that, even if it is his grandfather's advice.

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

wow talk about raised hoes and rakes lol.

My comment is M I C K E Y M O U S E

No cons allowed.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Pickles CANNOT grow with tomatoes in the same greenhouse mixed together for long.

I laughed.

I always trim off the lower leaves of my tomato plants - up to the first "branch" that has flowers. .....Another reason - it stops "splash back" when it rains, which can cause fungus problems.

I just finished doing this. But it's for preventing fungus and improving airflow around plants. Not because of any pruning practices.

Redondo Beach, United States

Although this is an old post I would like to chime in. I had a cherry tomato bush that I planted a little late (July) but started out very strong. After about 6 weeks it started to show signs of wilt. It wasn't in the typical pattern so I'm still not sure if it was wilt or blight or something else but eventually the leaves started to die and fall off. At the same time I started to get lots of green tomatoes which stayed green for a long time (weeks) until I started pruning the plant of all it's dead and discolored leaves. It ended up looking like the photo attached. Strangely enough all the tomatoes started turning red. When picked they were very sweet. They continued growing like that for weeks after with very little foliage and are still growing over a month later. So, do you need a lot of leaves on your tomato plants?

Thumbnail by tom0147
Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Interesting report.
I still would not prune off a lot of healthy leaves. I can see taking the bottom ones to avoid disease. And pruning suckers trying to reduce the overall load and force the plant to put more energy into a certain amount of fruit.

I just can't see a plant with few healthy leaves making as much quality fruit as one with few leaves.

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