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High Tunnel Tomatoes - Early Pruning Pays off

Amy Ivy, Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

May 2, 2018

greenhouse

May is an insane time around any NY vegetable farm and it's a challenge to prioritize the mountain of tasks each day. But a little time spent pruning and training your high tunnel tomato plants now can really pay off later. Not only will they yield better, your labor will be more efficient during harvest since workers won't be plowing through a dense tangle of leafy stems to get to the tomatoes.

Here's a quick review:

Remove lower leaves up to the first fruit cluster. Bend the leaf up, then down and it should snap off cleanly, making quick work of this simple but important task. Why? It increases airflow around the plant to discourage disease and makes the plant easier to work around.

Strong Y - whether you are training determinate or double leader indeterminate (see below) start both with the Strong Y. See the photo to locate the weaker suckers to remove and the co-dominate sucker to keep just below the first flower cluster. Allow only the main leader and co-dominate leader to develop, removing all the other suckers and leaves up to this ‘Y' junction on the plant. Why? The lower suckers are less productive. Removing them sends the plant's food energy to the remaining stems, shoots and fruit.

Determinate tomatoes - train them to the ‘stake and weave' aka ‘Florida weave' system. Set a post between every 2-3 plants and start the horizontal twining early so the plants can grow up through the support. Why? This level of support will keep the aisles open for efficient worker movement and will keep the fruit up off the ground for easy harvest.

Indeterminate tomatoes - For large slicing tomatoes some growers prefer single leaders, some prefer double. When in doubt, the double leader system works well in most situations.

In our cherry tomato trial we found the double leader system was the best option in terms of labor efficiency and yield, compared to a single or multi leader system.




Check out these helpful factsheets for more photos and details:

 

tomato2


 

 

 

 This article is from the May 3, 2018 edition of ENYCHP Vegetable News.  To read the full newsletter,CLICK HERE.



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Cabbage

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Cauliflower

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Cherries

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Cucumbers

Dry Beans

Dry Beans

Eggplant

Eggplant

Ethnic Vegetables

Ethnic Vegetables

Garlic

Garlic

Grapes

Grapes

Horseradish

Horseradish

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Leeks

Leeks

Lettuce / Leafy Greens

Lettuce / Leafy Greens

Melons

Melons

Nectarines

Nectarines

Onions

Onions

Parsnips

Parsnips

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Peaches

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Pears

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Peas

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Peppers

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Plums

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Potatoes

Pumpkins / Gourds

Pumpkins / Gourds

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Radishes

Raspberries / Blackberries

Raspberries / Blackberries

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Rutabaga

Rutabaga

Snap Beans

Snap Beans

Squash - Summer

Squash - Summer

Squash- Winter

Squash- Winter

Strawberries

Strawberries

Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

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Upcoming Events

October Last Monday Grant Webinar for Fruit and Vegetable Growers

October 28, 2019
4:00 pm

Are you curious about what grants are available to help your farm business?

To help disseminate information on grants on a consistent basis, ENYCH is offering a "current grants" webinar on the last Monday of every month at 4:00pm

Each month's webinar focuses on 1 grant.  The October webinar topic is TBD but might feature Ag Labor Housing Grants.
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Produce Safety Alliance FSMA Grower Training Course

October 30, 2019
8am - 5pm
Canajoharie, NY

A grower training course developed by the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) that meets the regulatory requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.  At least one person per farm producing more than $25,000 worth of fruits and vegetables must attend this course once.  Participants will receive a certificate of course completion by the Association of Food and Drug Officials. 

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Tarping for Reduced Tillage Workshop

November 2 - November 19, 2019

Are you a vegetable farmer already using tarps? Or are you wondering if and how tarps could work best on your farm?

The Cornell Small Farms Program is excited to announce a series of workshops on tarping for reduced tillage in small-scale vegetable systems, to be held in Maine and New York this fall. The Reduced Tillage (RT) project of the Cornell Small Farms Program supports farmers in adopting scale-appropriate RT practices that can lead to healthy, productive soils and greater profitability. Through the evaluation of novel tools and methods using systems-based field research and on-farm trials, the project helps farmers learn about the approaches that can work for their farm. This work is accomplished in collaboration with the University of Maine, and with support from Northeast SARE.

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Announcements

Resources from CCE ENYCHP!

We are developing new ways to connect with the CCE ENYCHP team this year! We have a Youtube page located at this link. Check out videos on Table Grape Production, Pest Updates and the 20 Minute Ag Manager - in 4 Minutes series

We have a Facebook Page here as well as an Instagram page. We keep these places updated with current projects, events, and other interesting articles and deadlines.

There are also text alerts available. Fruit and vegetable farmers in 17 Eastern NY counties can now receive real time alerts on high risk disease and pest outbreaks texted directly to their cell phone. The Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture program, which is supported by local Cornell Cooperative Extension associations, will now offer text alerts to those that enroll in our program in 2019. 

The text alerts will be reserved for important crop alerts that could impact management decisions immediately. For instance, if there were an outbreak of Late Blight in the area, this would be transmitted to vegetable growers.

Farmers can choose the crop for which they wish to receive updates. Additionally they can request that Ag Business Alerts be sent to them. These alerts might include due dates for crop insurance deadlines, market opportunities etc.

If you have questions, please contact enychp@cornell.edu


Podcasts

Climate Change Adaptations

September 30, 2019
In this episode regional vegetable specialist Elisabeth Hodgdon interviews University of Vermont PHD student Alissa White about a series of interviews with growers in the north east concerning climate change adaptations.

Listeners can access Alissa White’s climate change adaptation survey report and additional information on the project by clicking on the following link:

https://adaptationsurvey.wordpress.com/results/
Alissa’s project was sponsored by a Northeast SARE Graduate Student Grant (GNE17-163).

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