Well, as the garden season in my area is approaching its latter days, I decided to do a little experiment this year with my tomato plants. It is something that, for whatever reason, I never thought about doing, but it involved a technique that I used to use for houseplants. It involves a simple process, often referred to as “stem tip cuttings” and/or what I like to call “growing from trimmings,” and it works like a charm. Anyway, all you have to do is cut a healthy portion of your plant off from one of the tips, set it in a container of water, and within a few days, roots will start to develop and you can transplant back into the soil when the root structure is decent, and presto; you have a new plant!
You can use whatever type of container(s) you like, but the way I did it, involved me placing a 5-gallon bucket near my garden that was full of water. I added several trimmings from my tomato plants (as I was topping them for better yield) into the big bucket of water. Of course I lost a few, but since I was already topping my plants anyway, it didn’t matter. Also, it is a good idea to cut back a few leaves from the stem that you are placing in the water. This will help more energy be focused on growing a root structure as opposed to the strain of keeping all of its foliage hydrated. Most of my stem tip cuttings from my tomato plants, were anywhere from 16 to 24 inches long. You will most likely have a higher success rate from shorter trimmings, but I had plenty of tomatoes and took the chance. I have a few transplanted as of now and they are doing great at the moment. I just hope that there is enough time for them to fully develop.
Outside of this method saving you 4 to 6 weeks or more (depending on how large your cuttings are) in time, since you are not starting the plants via seeds, there is also another benefit to this, which is the fact that you can select your healthiest plants to clone (which is basically what it is). I find this to be an excellent late season option, for the ones who still want tomatoes for several more weeks. Just think, some places in the world grow these suckers all year long!
This brings me to another option, which is something I haven’t tried yet: Growing Tomato Plants Indoors.
If I decide to buy some fluorescent grow lights, I may give it a GO this Fall/Winter, but I’m still not sure. However, if I do decide to grow these self-pollinating tomato plants inside, you can bet I’ll be using the new plants I got from my prior trimmings/stem tip cuttings. Anyway, if you’re interested in such things, you may need to check out a nice selection of fluorescent lighting and/or growing lights, below:
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