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Leggi

I just need a little advice, this year is my first growing these tomatoes (and outside open to the elements too), how much cutting back can they take? I have lovely big green tomatoes on them but obviously the sun and warmth need to get in to ripen the fruit, but at the moment they're sheltered under a canopy of greenery. I've been a little scared to cut back, apart from the bottom stems of course, how much should I lop off?

The Alicante are looking delightfully promising too.

Dovefromabove

They can take quite a bit of pruning so don't worry about taking some of the leaves out - I take it you've taken the tips out by now?  

They're lovely tomatoes - I grew them last year and they produced well even in awful conditions outside, although they did need a big windowsill to help them to finish ripening.

Italophile

Leggi, it's pointless cutting back foliage to aid ripening. Ripening is down to temperature alone, not exposure to sunlight. It's why toms will ripen inside on a kitchen bench. Optimum temps for ripening are low-20sC and above. They will ripen at lower temps but take longer.

Leggi

Thank you both, should I ripen the biggest fruit on the windowsill now then? There's a wet spell coming and I'd like to have one year where blight didn't ruin the entire crop.

Dove, no I haven't removed the tops yet (oops), but there aren't many new flowers so I haven't been too bothered about that. Have taken your advice and only fed every two weeks though.

Next spring the greenhouse will be going up so I hope to pester you both with a whole load of new dilemmas, if you'll humour me!

Italophile

It's only worth taking the toms off the plant to ripen if where they're going is a lot warmer than where they currently are. What are your day and night temps like at the moment?

I wouldn't worry about the rain. Rain, per se, doesn't necessarily mean blight. Fungal spores like damp foliage, but there's less chance of them settling if there's plenty of air circulation. Besides, this late in the season, blight isn't going to have time to create any problems.

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Leggi

That's good to know, daytime temps are around 20c with nighttime falling to 13 or so. If they're needing more warmth than that I can bring them in to a small but sunny propagator, or inside of course. 

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