Every four to five months or so (give or take a week or more), it’s time to remove a tomato plant and replace it with a new plant because the ‘older plant’ simply outgrows the grow space, blocks sunlight for other plants, stops producing maximum blossoms, and it’s root system becomes so complex (under the gravel) that it impedes proper water flow through the gravel grow trays. When that day comes, it’s time to pull the tomato out of the grow tray.
Given the choice between ‘determinate’ tomatoes and ‘indeterminate’ tomatoes, I vacillate between the two. Maybe it’s just me, but I think ‘indeterminate tomatoes TASTE BETTER and I have spent years searching for a short, bushy tomato that delivers on FLAVOR. So, I continue planting delicious, leggy tomato plants that require replacing because they outgrow my space and stop flowering.
Determinate tomatoes bear their crop all at once and have more compact bushy vines. Indeterminate tomatoes bear fruit over the course of a season and have long vines that require staking.
Even when the tomato plant is bearing fruit (or, vegetable if you prefer calling tomatoes that), it’s necessary to take the plant out of the farm to replace it with a younger plant to begin it’s tenure in the grow tray for maximum production.
These photos show you the steps we took yesterday to remove a tomato from the grow tray (if the images are too small or too blurry for you to see, just click on them and they’ll enlarge – I have a new camera and they images look great enlarged, but a bit blurry below so I have much to learn):