Here’s a method of growing that is frequently used in greenhouses to grow more tomatoes without the plants growing through the roof – they will if you let them!
Double Stem Technique
Double-stemming is when a side shoot is allowed to grow (on a tall variety) and become a second main stem. This has the advantage of growing more trusses at a lower height.
Hybrids and plants that have been grafted are usually more vigorous and ideal for this method of growing tomatoes.
Allowing more than one stem to grow on a tall variety is also most successful on cherry varieties where plants find it easier to bring tomatoes to maturity.
It’s possible to grow more than two main stems …
This photo shows a Sungold (tall variety) that had an accident and lost its main stem – I dropped a sheet of plastic on it!
I’ve allowed three side shoots to grow – one either side (as marked) and one behind. From each new side shoot stem, you then grow one or two trusses.
For example, if I have one main stem and allow two side shoots to develop, I will end up with three stems.
I then grow one truss from each stem making a total of three trusses and hopefully end up with the same amount of tomatoes as if I had grown one stem with three trusses!
You may ask why only three trusses – why not six?
If you live in an area where the growing season is short, and summers are often disappointing, then the fewer trusses you grow, the more chance there is of success. I usually grow more than three though!
It is best to do this in the first part of the season (during June) as side shoots can take a while to grow and produce trusses.