How to Deshoot a Tomato Plant

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Deshooting a tomato plant is a process that varies depending on the season and the lifespan of the plant in question. Deshoot a tomato plant with help from a classically-trained chef with experience in both world-class restaurants and private dining companies in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: The Chef's Garden
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Farm to Table Chef, Teca Thompson, at And today we're talking about how de-shoot a tomato. So, here I have a potted tomato plant, but this can work with any tomato plant in your garden. You do however want to make sure, what kind of tomato plant your plant is. There's determinants, which is a shorter, bushier plant and there's indeterminate, which will continue to grow throughout the lifespan of it's season. So, however warm it is, if it's warm, if it doesn't frost, it'll continue to grow and sprout and it can be very big and out of control, if you don't trim it. So, the really good thing about trimming, is not only will you maintain control of your plants, but it's also going to give you a higher yield, if you trim off parts that, if you de-shoot it. So, these shoots are called suckers, and the sucker usually sprouts from the terminal, the terminal stalk ad the leaf. So, you can see it's right in between here. And they'll grow flowers and they'll grow tomatoes, but it just sucks too much energy from the main part of the plant. And the plant just scatters, and it needs to organized and have it all clumped in. So, it can really make an impact in the fruit, in the right areas. So, this is where you de-shoot it and you're just going to take your thumb and your fore finger and you're going to just gently wave it from wave it from side-to-side like this. And I hold the main stem when I'm doing it, just to make sure you don't have any breakage or anything. So, when you're de-shooting a plant, you never want to de-shoot past the top flower, otherwise the plant will stop growing. So, this happened accidentally on this plant, as you an see right here, this is the main shoot and the top flower is no longer, it should be like this. So, the good thing about the shoots that always come up, is that now, even though this is going to stop growing. We have this little sucker right here and he is going to now take the control and be the terminal shoot of the plant. So, that is a very good thing and you kind of want to leave them, if they're going to be beneficial to you. But like I said, even parts you can see, where this is missing it's leaf, this is still a sucker because it's in between where the leaf should have been and the main part of the stem. So, you're just going to remove that, like so. And that is generally how to de-shoot a tomato plant. You'll want to continually do this throughout it's growing season, probably check it about once a week because they sprout pretty fast. So, that's how to de-shoot a tomato plant. I'm Farm to Table Chef, Teca Thompson, at, thank you for watching.


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