Tomato Advice

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Hi folks

I have three tomato plants doing okay (I think) outside now in a tomato gro zone (polythene covering).

Couple of things I wanted to check on though:-

I'm zipping it shut at night but there's a lot of condensation on the leaves in the morning (see pictures). It disappears during the day once it's open but is this bad for the plants? Not sure if I should just leave open overnight now (even although it's still pretty cold) to avoid or whether it's better having some moisture but overnight protection?

Also, re the branch lengths. Some of these are getting quite long and they're overlapping with the other plants in the limited space. Should I be pruning these back or will that limit potential fruiting?

Any help / advice is much appreciated. Thank you.
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A little condensation shouldn't hurt in the mornings, as long as the leaves have the time/sunlight to dry out and aren't sitting wet for long periods of time.

I would leave the greenhouse doors shut to keep the cold nights warm, as the cold seems to bother my plants more than the morning dew.

In regards to branching, you can trim off/trim back any of the sun leaves, as fruit will come from the main growth leader plus any suckers you let turn into leaders.
 
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A little condensation shouldn't hurt in the mornings, as long as the leaves have the time/sunlight to dry out and aren't sitting wet for long periods of time.

I would leave the greenhouse doors shut to keep the cold nights warm, as the cold seems to bother my plants more than the morning dew.

In regards to branching, you can trim off/trim back any of the sun leaves, as fruit will come from the main growth leader plus any suckers you let turn into leaders.
Thanks for your reply.

I'm a complete novice here so you've got me wondering about something - I read that you were supposed to cut off suckers, so I've been doing that. But how can I tell them apart from fruit clusters when they first grow off the main branch? I'm worried now that I may have been cutting off flower / fruit clusters before they've developed.
 
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Fruit clusters will grow off of the main leaders/Suckers.

Suckers will grow from the "armpit" between the main stem and the sun leaves at a 45ish degree angle. The biggest thing to make sure you are NOT doing is removing ALL of the suckers. Namely the highest most sucker, or the main growth point.

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When the high humidity moves in this area, which isn't much longer, the fungal problems start to take off. My number one gripe about growing tomatoes is high humidity, whether the temps are high or low. Raining on them all the time is #2. There is no way I would start or grow mine in a grow tent because of that.
 
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Judging from the slight purplish color of the stalks, those plants are a little cold.

They're also going to need bigger pots or transplanted.

I've had better results with heavy pruning than with free range growing. Tomatoes need sun and dry to prevent fungus. Too much overlap prevents them from drying. In my experience it's really hard to overprune a tomato. Just leave a couple suckers and the leader.

As for humidity in the tent, how wet is the soil? Tomatoes don't need as much water as people think. Less water in the tent, less condensation.
 
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Judging from the slight purplish color of the stalks, those plants are a little cold.

They're also going to need bigger pots or transplanted.

I've had better results with heavy pruning than with free range growing. Tomatoes need sun and dry to prevent fungus. Too much overlap prevents them from drying. In my experience it's really hard to overprune a tomato. Just leave a couple suckers and the leader.

As for humidity in the tent, how wet is the soil? Tomatoes don't need as much water as people think. Less water in the tent, less condensation.
Hi there, thanks for your comments - We've had some pretty cold wet weather of late so that could explain the purplish-ness you mentioned.

I'll definitely prune back a bit further based upon what you were saying. I did trim back those lower branches a bit but didn't fully remove them and do have some overlapping I can reduce.

These grow bags and the tent said they could house three plants but I'm not sure if two would have been better and given them more space.

It wasn't my intention to repot them again though. These are halos sitting atop the tomato grow bag. So the green halos aren't pots in themselves, it completely open at the bottom and the roots develop on into the grow bag
 
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When the high humidity moves in this area, which isn't much longer, the fungal problems start to take off. My number one gripe about growing tomatoes is high humidity, whether the temps are high or low. Raining on them all the time is #2. There is no way I would start or grow mine in a grow tent because of that.
I'd love to swap places with you, even although by the sounds of things it would cause me problems with my tomatoes. There's no chance of any high humidity here, ever!
 
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Ah, thanks for the clarification on the potting situation.

I may have missed it but what variety of tomatoes? Are they a determinate type or indeterminate ? A single indeterminate could fill your shelter by itself. I assume the shelter will be removed once the growing season starts.
 
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They are moneymakers, which (having just looked it up!) are indeterminates. Apparently they'll reach 5-6 feet.

I don't think I'm supposed to remove them from the tent. I think I just leave it unzipped as it gets hotter here (which isn't really that hot anyway). Just hoping we get some better weather / sunshine in the coming days as we've pretty much just had downpours for over a week now!
 
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What temperature do you see in summer? If it's warm enough, I would definitely allow the plants to get sun and a breeze. While tomatoes do like warmer temperatures they can still grow in cooler air. I'm thinking 50f to 70f.

Overcrowding is going to be a problem. At least one plant needs to go. You have an opportunity now to transplant one into say a 5 gallon pot and see how it does compared to the enclosure.
 
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They definitely get breeze and sun (when it appears!) for a good few hours. They're against a south easterly wall and I have the enclosure open during the day. So theoretically they could get full sun from 8-9am until about 3pm.

It doesn't really get too hot here. 20-25c here in peak summer and we're very lucky if we get any sustained spell of sunshine with that!
 
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Hi, I am a lot further south than you and I already have some of my tomatoes planted out outside, I usually grow moneymaker, an old fashioned variety, but I like it, reliable, also Alisia Craig and Outdoor girl, both good.
Tomatoes will survive at temps. down to 10C and grow at temps above 16C, 18 to mid 20's is best. I am talking daytime temperatures, they won't mind lower at night so long as you don't get down to freezing, and you should be okay now.
We don't have the weather America has, I have seen them talking about growing huge plants with multiple stems, I take off all the side shoots, and that is pretty normal in Britain. I try to catch them when they are just a couple of leaves in the leaf node, but they occasionally escape me. I still take them off and stick to a single stem. When I have four trusses (Some people say three) I pinch out the top and stop them going any further, otherwise you can get a lot of very small tomatoes.
Start feeding as soon as you see small tomatoes, Tomarite is good, and it is a good basic feed for anything else as well. Like YumYum says fungal disease is the commonest problem with tomatoes, wet and overcrowded side shoots won't help with that.
Moneymaker will breed true from saved seed, I know a packet of seed is not dear, but it is fun to grow your own. Scrape out the seed and a goo around them and leave for a few days in a warm place to start fermenting, then wash them through a sieve and dry out the seeds. Mind, one old boy I knew used to just drop a tomato on the greenhouse floor and tread on it, then prick out the resulting seedlings :) maybe not quite as reliable.
Good luck.
 
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Thanks for your comments.

I took some advice from the earlier posts on here and thinned out some of lower side shoots and cut back branches. They now look like this:-
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Slightly worried I've thinned the one on the right out too much but hopefully it will grow back some leaves facing out the way.

I guess that's other thing I'm not too sure about - this is against a wall and all the sunlight will strike these plants from the front, so I'm not sure if it's worth thinking out more at the back, where they'll never get direct light. Or maybe I should put some reflective material at the back? Although maybe that would scorch them if we ever do get hot weather!

This is my first year of trying, so I might try saving some seeds as you suggested for next year - that's if I get any fruit in the end!

Thanks again.
 

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