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This link with its pictures might help;
The thing that is not covered here is whether or not to remove some of the actual large leaves as well as pinching out the shoots that appear in between the large leaves and the main stem. I've been told by one person to take off most leaves because the energy then goes into the fruit and by someone else to leave them on because they are acting as an energy absorber.I'm up to two trusses of fruit now so any advice would be gratefully received.
The only real reason to remove foliage from a tomato plant is to aid air circulation to help against fungal problems. Cluttered foliage and no air circulation are the fungal spores' friends.
Nipping off the laterals - the side shoots - can help the anti-fungal cause. It used to be said that removing the laterals increased production. Testing has proved that it doesn't.
It's also possible to remove some excess foliage on the same basis. It's a matter of striking a balance. Foliage is essential to the plant for (a) photosynthesis; and (b) protecting the fruit from direct, hot sun and the chance of sunscald (sunburn). On these bases, removing all the foliage is the last thing you'd want to do.
I place 2 grow bags on top of one and another and make holes in the top bag so the toms can be planted Before planting the seedlings, using a dibber I punch through the base of the top bag into the one underneath (room for the roots to grow through). I find my toms dont split then as I cannot water the same time every day. I also remove my leaves so that there is more air circulation but only because my plants are tightly packed into the greenhouse. I tried growing up strings last year, and found it really easy, so I will be doing the same this year for both toms and cucumbers.
This is how I grow my Tomatoes - I always get a good crop Flower buckets with the bottoms cut out are placed over holes in the grobags
Nibsy, Dig out around six inches of greenhouse bed, put down a heavy liner and put your garden fork through it in several places. Now cover with pea gravel.
You will need to use 10-12 inch bottomless pots or rings made from stiff plastic, place them on the gravel, it is best to put some plastic or thin wood under the pot first, this keeps the compost in place until you compact it a little. Fill the pot about half way with good compost, you can use glow bag compost for this and then slowly withdraw the plastic or wood under the pot, let that settle and warm up keeping it slightly damp.
My way is to put the small pots the tomato is in untill it has set the first fruit (tiny green lumps behind the flower) into the rings on the gravel and let them aclimatise, a few days later drop the plant out of the small pot and into the ring, water in and leave.
When all around me had blight I had tomato's right up to October, they need a bit of care. The bottemless pot allows the water through to the roots in the gravel where it is needed though the main pot still needs to be slightly damp. When you have a few trusses set then top up the pot with fresh compost, do this a couple of times as the plant grows. Tie the plants to canes or strings with loose ties, take out the side shoots that grow from the leaf axle and when the first trusses are fully ripe then remove some of the bottom leaves. When it gets late in the year if you still have fruit remove the leaves on the sunny side so the fruit will ripen.
I hope this answers some of your queries but come back if in doubt, I have grown tomato's for many years mostly with success although saying that Money Maker are prolific but I do not grow them as I think they are not very tasty.
hi marion,your tomatoes are splitting because of irregular watering...