Tall tomato varieties are also known as indeterminate and cordon, and are traditionally the most popular – not least because of the huge choice of shapes and sizes of tomatoes that they produce.
For the beginner, perhaps the most difficult part of growing tall varieties is knowing which bits to remove. The side shoots are the bits that are usually pinched out – also known as suckers.
Here’s a short video that explains where they grow and how to remove them.
Tall varieties can be grown in containers of a large size, but the most popular is the grow bag. Grow bags are ideal for tall varieties and can be adapted and improved upon using grow pots and other added extras.
Here’s one method of using large pots sunk into a grow bag and a pot in the middle for watering.
Feeding is done by applying diluted nutrients around the bottom of the stems where the fine roots grow.
Perlite and other extras can also be added to grow bags which can be used in the greenhouse, around the patio and even sunk into the garden border.
It is important to remember that tomatoes are best grown in compost/soil that is new and bought from the garden centre. Grow bags are containers that come with disease free soil – perfect for growing tall varieties.
All sorts of diseases and bugs lurk in the garden soil that will kill the sensitive tomato plant.
Tall varieties also need to be stopped.
This is done by pinching out the growing tip of the main stem after a certain amount of trusses have formed – how many trusses you have on your plants depends on a number of situations.
- Whether growing outside or in a greenhouse
- The length of the growing season in your area
- The variety of plant that you are growing
If you are growing outside you would normally allow four trusses in the UK and five or six in a warmer climate.
In the greenhouse, between five and seven trusses is fine.
Some varieties take longer to mature than others – especially some of the larger, beef stake ones, so if you allow too many trusses you may find that the tomatoes on the lower trusses take longer to mature and also their size may be reduced.
Removing the lower leaves is a good idea because it helps air circulation around the base of a plant and old decaying leaves can encourage bugs and disease.
As lower leaves (below the first truss) begin to yellow, remove them as you would side shoots.
Leaves may be removed gradually up to the first truss, then above the first truss after the first truss is producing ripe tomatoes.
Deleafing a plant to quickly and removing too many leaves can result in a poorer harvest – not a better one as some ebooks recommend.
However, I’m a great believer in testing for myself – so if you like to experiment, test it out and see the results on one of your plants.