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13 Tips for Growing Better Tomatoes


How to Grow Bigger, Better Tasting Tomatoes

Learning how to grow bigger, better tomatoes... Whether you are a beginner at growing vegetables or a Master Gardener, these tips for growing tomatoes will help you increase your yield and produce better tasting tomatoes.

Seed packets and plant packs tell you how to plant tomato plants but they do not tell you how to care for them properly. Nor do they provide you with tips for growing tomatoes that have been discovered by experienced gardeners for hundreds of years.

Many gardeners search for tips for growing tomatoes because their plants do not produce high yields as they assumed they would. The main problem is usually caused by improper growing techniques. These tips will help you to grow bigger, better tasting tomatoes in no time.

Image Credit

planting tomatoes

planting tomatoes

Create a Stronger Root System by Planting Your Tomatoes Deeper

Growing Tomatoes Tip #1

When planting tomato plants you should always plant them as deep as you can without any leaves touching the ground. By burying the plant deeper, the stem will have more contact with the soil and produce more roots.

The increased root system will help increase the moisture content by having more roots to take in more water. The larger root system also helps the plant 'anchor' into the ground preventing it from bending over and being damaged by storms and high winds.

Image Credit

tomato tips

tomato tips

Prune the Bottom Leaves to Encourage Growth and Prevent Diseases

Growing Tomatoes Tip #2

After your tomato plants become well established remove the lower leaves to promote new growth at the top. The lower leaves will be shaded out by the upper portion of the plant and therefor render them useless since they will not be getting enough sun to actually produce photosynthesis.

Once your tomato plants reaches two feet high remove all of the leaves on the bottom half of the plant. Use snips or pruning shears to prevent damage to the stalk. Removing these leaves will also prevent soil born diseases by preventing the leaves and stems from touching the soil.

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Pinch Suckers to Produce Increase Tomato Yields

Growing Tomatoes Tip #3

Suckers are the stems that grow between the stalk and a mature stem. On mature plants that are over 3 feet high they should be pinched out as soon as they begin to develop since they will not produce fruit, cause over crowing and will cause increased shading. The increased shading will decrease photosynthesizing and reduce production and quality of taste.

Some tomato growers do not prune suckers. It is not required but do know that doing so will allow more energy to the main portion of the plant, more sugars to the tomatoes, and better shape.

Want to turn those suckers into more tomato plants? Check out How to Grow Tomatoes from Cuttings


How to Grow Tomatoes from Cuttings
Growing tomatoes from cuttings is an effective way to extend your garden without having to purchase store bought plants. They are often rooted by cuttings to...

Mulch Your Tomato Plants to Conserve Water and Prevent Diseases - Growing Tomatoes Tip #4

mulch around tomatoes

mulch around tomatoes

Mulching around tomato plants will conserve water and help to warm the soil and promote a healthier root system. Mulching will also prevent soil born diseases by minimizing plant contact with the soil.

Prevent Snails and Slugs with Copper

Growing Tomatoes Tip #5

Snails and slugs can quickly take over a tomato bed without the proper prevention methods in place. To avoid using harsh chemicals near your tomatoes simply lay copper strips or copper pipes around the perimeter of your tomato garden. The copper will create a chemical reaction that will prevent slugs and snails from invading your tomatoes.

Tomato Cages - Growing Tomatoes Tip #6

Using tomato cages around your tomato plants will prevent your tomato plants from toppling over. Cages support tomato plants and protect them from high winds. Upright tomatoes have less stress on their stalk allowing them to move more energy and nutrients to the tomatoes creating bigger, better tomatoes.

Give Your Tomatoes Plenty of Space

Growing Tomatoes Tip #7

When growing tomatoes from seed or planting new tomatoes plants in your garden give them plenty of space. Allowing 2 to 3 feet of space between each plant will allow plenty of sunlight for to reach the lower portion of your tomato plant. This will increase photosynthesis and give you healthier plants and better tasting tomatoes.

How to Prevent Tomatoes from Cracking and Spliiting - Growing Tomatoes Tip #8


During hot temperature tomatoes will sometimes split and crack open rendering the tomato useless. This is a sure sign that the tomato is not getting enough water. Refer back to the tips above on properly watering tomatoes.

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Use Epsom Salts to Prevent Yellowing of the Leaves and Extend the Growing Seasons

Growing Tomatoes Tip #9

Epsom salts have been used for generations to promote growth, stronger stalks, prevent yellowing of the leaves and to extend the growing season. Epsom salts can be applied to the soil at planting or watered in during the growing season.

When adding Epsom salts to the soil, scratch in one tablespoon in the hole prior to planting. To water in Epsom salts you will want to add one tablespoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water and apply to young plants.

After the initial application at planting, continue to water in Epsom salt using one teaspoon per gallon of water every two to three weeks. Doing so will had magnesium and sulfate which will produce strong, healthy plants.

You can save a ton by using Epsom Salt vs Magnesium Sulfate....check the prices next time your are at the store!

Books for Growing Better Tomatoes

Water Your Tomatoes Properly!

Growing Tomatoes Tip #10

Watering tomato plants often seems pretty obvious. We all water our tomato plants and think nothing else of it. However, you may be watering them wrong. Tomato plants should be watered from the bottom first of all. This prevents water from splashing and spreading diseases.

Next, when watering your plants water them slowly so that the water seeps into the ground instead of producing run off. Water them deeply by extending your watering times. The deeper you penetrate the soil the more water the roots will be able to take in. It will also allow the soil to stay moist longer preventing the tomato plant from drying out.

After watering your plant use a spade or shovel to dig back a portion of the soil and check the soil. You want to have at least 6 inches of wet soil but more is better. If the soil is not wet enough continue watering and check another spot shortly after. Once you have done this for a week or so you can get a pretty good idea of how long you need to water your tomatoes to make sure you watered deep enough.

Prevent Nematodes With Marigolds - Growing Tomatoes Tip #11

prevent nematodes

prevent nematodes

Planting marigolds near tomatoes create a lovely contrast of colors and height in your garden. Besides adding beauty, marigolds have another benefit- they prevent nematodes.

Plant marigolds of any variety near the base of your tomato plants and keep them tended. Their smell and foliage prevent nematodes from attacking your tomatoes allowing them to be healthier and produce a better crop.

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Improve the Taste of Your Tomatoes with Garlic

Growing Tomatoes Tip #12

Want to improve the taste of your tomatoes? Use garlic. Planting garlic bulbs near your tomato plants will not only improve the taste of your tomatoes but will also reduce fungi and improve the overall quality of your tomato plant.

If you have no desire to plant garlic in your flower bed you can still get the same effect by mixing a few crushed garlic cloves to a gallon of water and mix into the soil.

Image Credit

Alternate Your Planting Area

Growing Tomatoes Tip #13

Like most field crops, the planting area for your tomatoes needs to be alternated every few years. Tomatoes should only be grown in the exact same spot for up to three years. You can rotate them yearly if you have the space, if not every three years will be fine.

After three consecutive years of growing tomatoes in the same spot, the soil become less fertile. Less fertile soil will grow less productive plants.

Tomato Fertilizers

More Tomato Tips from Stephanie - How to Grow Tomatoes from Seeds


Growing Tomato Seeds
Growing tomatoes from seed is a great way to start your own plants and save money. Tomato seeds are usually the only way to get new, rare or heirloom variety...


Tomato Pruning
Tomato pruning is one the most forgotten tasks of vegetable gardening. Pruning tomato plants will help promote healthy growth, produce better tomatoes and cr...


How to Grow Tomatoes from Cuttings
Growing tomatoes from cuttings is an effective way to extend your garden without having to purchase store bought plants. They are often rooted by cuttings to...

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Have questions? Tips? Ideas? Share them here!

Share Your Own Tips for Growing Tomatoes

Tom on May 24, 2020:

My main problem is neighborhood cats urinating and digging up the soil to cover their business. I've heard cats don't like citrus or lavender. I'm going to plant a lavender plant and sprinkle some lemon oil on the outter parameter of the bed. We'll see what happens.

Robert z. on February 09, 2018:

Can you use pine needles as mulch

V. Sheppard on June 09, 2017:

Always check the following, days to maturity of fruit, cold set or hot set for pollination, determinate or indeterminate. Short seasons require short days to maturity such as 50 to 60 days. Cold set varieties will set when night temperatures are below 60 degrees but hot set varieties won't. If you live in a cooler climate this may require only cold set for your garden. Determinate plants use less space. If your space is limited you may not want the longer vines of indeterminate which will require taller cages and much more support as well as more watering, attention to removing suckers, and greater protection from winds.

Fuchsia gutay on May 31, 2017:

My tomatoes is grow taller but still it does not produces fruit..can you help me pls

Amy on April 12, 2017:

So many things that I didn't know. Thanks!

tdm21 on April 02, 2017:

These tips are amazing. My tomatoes last year had a lot of issues, this year im going to use these tips and grow some award winners!

Only question, is overwatering the only thing that makes tomatoes split? I read somewhere that the Epsom salt helps t he skins to expand without splitting?

Matthew on August 14, 2016:

somewhere. Finally I remove a third spade deep section of usually subsoil type and move it to start a third pile somewhere out of the garden.

I move down the length of the bed moving the top third of the soil to the bottom of the section removed. I add composted loam, hardwood leaf mould, worm castings, composted rabbit and or cow manure. I move the second third of the soil from the next section of the bed onto this and mix together well. I next remove the third spade depth from the garden. I continue like this to the end of the beds length using soil componets moved to that end to finish the bed.

Yes this is very labor intensive but only needs to be done once every decade or two if beds are maintained well. After my beds in an area were completed I moved the top two spade levels of soil from the 2-3ft walkways left between the beds onto the beds and replaced it with subsoil removed from the beds. I finish by adding sand and limestone chert sized gravel to the walkway. Over time as i have added chert gravel this has produced a solid stone like walkway. I protect the edges of my beds with used brick and safe borate treated white oak, sassafrass or eastern cedar planks.

2. I drive steel fence posts every 2-3ft (depending of variety size) in the center of the bed. I attach 2"+/- safe borate treated debarked sassafrass, white oak, eastern cedar or dogwood sapling poles to the steel posts with #12 to #10 copper wire. To grow larger earlier crops I plant tomatoes between the posts and train them to the posts removing all the early suckers and removing fruiting buds from later suckers. I also have also sometimes attached steel fencing or reinforcing wire panels and trained the tomaotes through the fencing from small later crops like canning tomatoes. On these I remove early suckers, but after plants are three feet or so tall I simply train sucker through the fencing.

Me on August 10, 2016:

Plant thyme in the garden deer can't stand the smell

Mary on August 02, 2016:

Very good article, thank you.

Catherine Wambui from Kansas City, Missouri on May 25, 2016:

Excellent tips. I just put some tomatoes in my raised beds and will be trying some of these tips.

Elenir Cezimbra on December 18, 2014:

I`ve started my own vegetables and these tips for growing better tomatoes are very good. I`ll surely be following them. Thank you.

SimonLNZ on May 21, 2014:

Girlfriend will love this. She has had a bunch of problems with splitting tomatoes.

PaigSr from State of Confusion on May 17, 2014:

Tell the wife as she is the one who is the gardener in our house. Seriously I will pass this one onto her to take a look at.

Lou Cannon from British Columbia, Canada on May 13, 2014:

Splitting tomatoes has been an ongoing thing in my property and though I am an avid research kinda gal for some reason this is just something that I never gave much mind to... Now I will! Thanks for the info!!

asereht1970 from Philippines on May 02, 2014:

I just love tomatoes. I love to eat it raw. Had a single plant before but now it has died because of the heat.

Rick King from Charleston, SC on April 17, 2014:

I did not know about the benefits of using epsom salts or planting marigolds or garlic around your tomato plants. We plan to try this on our upcoming growing season.

rukmini-chilakamarri on April 14, 2014:

I started my tomato plant (nursery bought) with initial preparation of the pot which is about 35 gallons with mushroom compost, two handfuls of fish meal, couple of aspirin tabs, crushed egg shells plus one cracked egg, handful of bone meal, veg and herb fertilizer (4-6-3), baking soda pinch, coffee grounds on top to work as a mulch, 1 tsp of sugar, limestone, horse manure and some Epsom salt. I read a few articles on tomato growing tips and I hope the crop will be as promised.

clouda9 lm on March 29, 2014:

We have decided to dedicate an extra large area in our garden for a variety of tomatoes so I thank you for all these growing tips!

Maggie42 on March 17, 2014:

Thanks for the tips the epsom salt one was new for me.

Laura Hofman from Naperville, IL on February 14, 2014:

Thanks for the tips! I want to try epsom salts... never tried on tomatoes. I give my roses a dose and they love it!

ghall91077 on February 13, 2014:

Crushed egg shells mixed with used coffee grounds to add calcium and prevent blossom end rot poke a few holes with something round, like a pencil, down to the roots and pour in the egg shells and coffee grounds. Feed with liquid fish fertilizer too for huge healthy plants and tons of sweet fruit.

hosibinh on February 12, 2014:

look healthy, thank you so much for your share

Donna Cook on February 08, 2014:

The tomato planter is now on my wish list! I really don't want to get big heavy terra cotta pots.Terrific lens!

chrisilouwho on February 07, 2014:

these are some great tips, thanks!

kanza-ali on February 03, 2014:

u rock

EllieHarper on January 28, 2014:

Does the copper around the garden have any effect on the plants?

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on January 11, 2014:

This is a great lens. I already use many of the tips but I'll be using the Epsom salts as well now! I'm putting together a lens about growing tomatoes in small spaces and really would like to link this lens to it if i could. Would that be OK?

growownfood6 on January 04, 2014:

Anyone who has ever tried growing tomatoes knows it is one of the most satisfying things about gardening.

growownfood6 on December 20, 2013:

Thanks for tips for growing tomatoes because their plants do not produce high yields as they assumed they would.

MCCaffrey13 on October 04, 2013:

You want some really easy treatment for your tomatoes get some Sumagreen Ag on you tomatoes. Best tasting with very little work needed. A spray bottle and three treatments and you're done. Just make sure you have TALL wires for your plants as these babies will GROW! Bigger and better.

anonymous on October 01, 2013:

Wow great ideas!

Thanks for share

Dawn from Maryland, USA on September 27, 2013:

Nice lens. Good tips. thank you for sharing!

Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on September 23, 2013:

Thanks for the great ideas here, I'll be using these next planting season in my daughters garden

anddzimm on September 16, 2013:

Thank you for the great tips. I've never been able to keep my tomato plants alive for very long; now I can't wait to give it another try hopefully with better results!

anonymous on September 13, 2013:

One thing that I do that wasn't mentioned is to add humis/ manure mix that I pick up at Home Depot. I add it to the soil before putting the plants in the ground. I also use the epsom salt solution. It really works! I am getting more tomatoes than the 2 of us can eat in a week.

anonymous on September 09, 2013:

Is it better to grow tomatoes in the fall in southern Arizona?

Snakesmum on September 07, 2013:

Found this lens at exactly the right time, as I've just planted a few tomato plants. I hate them, but my partner loves them, so we always plant some. Didn't know about the copper wire tip.

Greathaul2013 on August 21, 2013:

Interesting. I didn't know about the copper trick.

anonymous on August 20, 2013:

@anonymous: Could you please tell me what type of tomatoes you grow? I want very much to try your method . Thank you

sbconcepts on August 15, 2013:

What's your favorite variety to grow?

LeslieMirror on August 14, 2013:

Nice tips. I am interested in planting some vegs on the windowsill.

LeslieMirror on August 14, 2013:

Nice tips. I am interested in planting some vegs on the windowsill.

dperry1 on August 04, 2013:

Dan , great informative lens, thank you for sharing this informations!!

BlowDryBar on August 03, 2013:

I've been looking for help to get my tomatoes growing better. Thanks!

JonasP on July 30, 2013:

Tobacco, growing near the crops, also helps prevent pests, check my lens about growing it out.

JonasP on July 30, 2013:

Tobacco, growing near the crops, also helps prevent pests, check my lens about growing it out.

Heidi Vincent from GRENADA on July 28, 2013:

I am ecstatic about these tomato tips! I hope this sure ends my frustration with low yield, yellowing leaves and nematodes. Thanks for these very useful tips!

anonymous on July 26, 2013:

How do you grow tomatoes without getting tough skin on them.

anonymous on July 25, 2013:

Grow the best tomatoes with SumaGreen. 100% chemical free. "Liquid mother nature".. microbes that feed your soil, and improve the quality and quantity. I use it and it's unbelievable! contact for more info.

k4shmir on July 16, 2013:

Interesting topic. thanks for sharing

anonymous on July 07, 2013:

I'm experimenting with tomatoes this year. I have some in planters, some in the garden and a couple in those topsy-turvey things that hang them upside down.

I think I planted the ones in the container too close together, but they're growing well so far. I wish I'd known about the garlic companion planting earlier though. Nice tip!

anonymous on June 27, 2013:

We have been having so much rain and my plants look so yellow and wilted. I planted deep, removed suckers and have kept soil loose. I have not mulched yet because it was not recommended for the mid-Shenandoah Valley until the end of June. I just heard about the Epsom salts and bought some. Since we are having a tremendous amount of rain, I do not want to add more water to my plants. Can I just sprinkle the Epsom salts around the base of the plant and work into the soil? Many thanks for any help!

chat2vishakha on June 27, 2013:

Very valuable post.I really like all the tips.Thanks for sharing this post.

Klinetka on June 26, 2013:

There is nothing like home grown tomatoes. They taste delicious

Valerie Smith from New Zealand on June 22, 2013:

A really nice lens with very helpful information.

johnonsquidoo on June 21, 2013:

I've just bought my first home with a garden, and am looking to grow my own veg. Thanks for the info! Great lens.

Sukeydoo on June 19, 2013:

Great info and tips here - have only grown once or twice - like your idea of growing beside garlic!

craftblogger lm on June 18, 2013:

Very valuable advice. Just what I needed. I am just a beginner when it comes to gardening, and I will take all the help with growing tomatoes I can get.

anonymous on June 17, 2013:

Rather than planting our tomatoes deep, we prefer to trench plant them. Just dig a trench as long as the plant is tall, lay the tomato plant down in the trench and cover all but the top 3 or 4 inches. You get a great root system and healthy strong tomato plant.

GameHelp on June 16, 2013:

These are some great tips, thank you very much for the awesome lens.

Erin Mellor from Europe on June 15, 2013:

Great list - I've only been using about half these ideas, so hopefully I can double my crop!

toshia lm on June 12, 2013:

thank you for this lens.

LUMOSE on June 10, 2013:

Thank you for your great lens. A lot of good information. I plant my tomatoes on Saturday for the first time , and your lens will help me for sure.

Love-Juice on June 04, 2013:

Thank you for your share. Nice!!

Love-Juice on June 04, 2013:

Thank you for your share. Nice!!

anonymous on June 01, 2013:

Large tomato plant from the farmers market came with a metal cage around roots. Should I remove that or leave it on?

Amiraquel on June 01, 2013:

Thanks a bunch for the tips! have been trying to grow tomatoes for some time now but after the first harvest the others come out smaller. Will try the out asap.

jemacb on May 28, 2013:

Great tips. Tip #1 was a revelation to me. Haha. We take things for granted.

anonymous on May 24, 2013:

@anonymous: Try non fat powdered milk for calcium too. 1 tbsp per plant.

LandscapeAssociatesLLC on May 22, 2013:

Awesome tips! Can't wait to try them out. I'm really excited about using the garlic

Muebles de exte on May 22, 2013:

nice lens, congratulations, thank you for all the info

anonymous on May 20, 2013:

? with the epson salts in the one gallon, do you feed each plant the whole gallon

FERRELLROOSTER on May 17, 2013:

I have 10 plants that are no more than 3 feet tall and each has at least 12-18 tomatoes on each of them. I fertilized 1 time when I tilled the soil, then planted in rows. Bury them deep. Even bury up or over the first leaves of saplings. Remove suckers. I like to let the plant split so I have 2 branches so I do not remove the 1st sucker but start from there. Use mulch. It is a must. Make sure after rain that your soil has enough potassium or the fruit will make a black spot at the bottom of the tomato. If you are in the south then the plant does not need to be in direct sunlight. Morning sun only. If not they will burn up quick. When plant stops producing in mid summer, woop the plant with a broom or a switch. breaking a few branches. It stimulates the plant to start making blooms again new growth. Old trick from me grandfather. It works.

iceantia on May 12, 2013:

@anonymous: I saw a tip on the TV about using the copper wire scouring pads you can buy for cleaning dishes, stretching them out and putting them around the rim of your pots, you can normally pick up large packs of them cheaply if you know where to go!

TapIn2U on May 06, 2013:

Thank you for the tips! Will surely keep those in mind. Sundae ;-)

jura on May 05, 2013:

I am growing tomatoes my self and i like this lens .

anonymous on May 03, 2013:

@anonymous: Raw milk or dry molasses

anonymous on May 02, 2013:

Loved the marigolds and garlic tip. Great lens!

Carmen2kids on May 01, 2013:

Awesome tips! I'm still a beginner and will try out your tips this year!

anonymous on May 01, 2013:

@anonymous: It could be blossom end rot which is caused by low calcium. Check your pH and use Lime to bring the pH up to 6.5 to 7.0 (ideal) 7.5 is ok. If your pH is already in this range, I use a liquid calcium fertilizer several times throughout the year. I have heard of people using ground egg shells, about 6 / plant, mixed in the soil at planting.

RichardRajotte on May 01, 2013:

Using Epsom salts on plants isn't always a great idea. It is a gardening tip passed down for eons and many gardeners simply toss in a handful of Epsom salts . It really is better to TEST THE SOIL FIRST. Epsom salts contain magnesium but they shant cure an extreme deficiency. It also contains sulfur

Edith Rose from Canada on April 30, 2013:

going to use some of your tips this year.

anonymous on April 29, 2013:

@anonymous: make sure they are pre 1983 pennies,and they also work to keep your birdbaths clean

GreenMind Guides from USA on April 28, 2013:

Nice work! Who doesn't like big, ripe tomatoes?

Sweetbunny LM on April 24, 2013:

Thanks for great info!

anonymous on April 23, 2013:

Last year the ends of my tomatoes would go brown. Any tips on how to prevent this. This will be year two of my garden so I'm sure it's an easy fix, but I'm still learning. Thanks!!

anonymous on April 21, 2013:

@anonymous: Nancychef--use pennies around your plants for the copper instead of spending money on new copper :)

anonymous on April 21, 2013:

Nancychef...use pennies around your plants instead of buying copper! :)

anonymous on April 21, 2013:

@ShariBerry: Companion plant with basil..never had one since

anonymous on April 19, 2013:

You said copper to keep away slugs - where can I get copper? It's very expensive! I haven't found a really good solution for slugs that doesn't take a lot of time - I've used sand, diatomaceous earth, beer, slug bait. When it rains, you have to apply it all over again.

junkcat on April 18, 2013:

I'll have to try some of these tips for tomatoes when I plant my garden this years,

Rodaussie on April 17, 2013:

Great Lens.... I have learned a lot and I will try to apply it to my tomato plant. Great

liny-tan on April 15, 2013:

thanks for the very useful lens. my young dragon fruit seedlings and young orchid shoots will now be slug and snail proof!

Giovanna from UK on April 14, 2013:

I knew about the marigolds but I'd never heard of planting garlic with toms. I'm going to put our toms out as soon as the frost has gone and I'll do it then, since I love growing garlic anyway. Very interesting lens.

hotsquid on April 13, 2013:

I tried to grow tomatoes ever year. Didn't go very well :).

diyaquaponicstips on April 11, 2013:

Very nice lens. Thanks for all the great tips. Tomoatoes are pretty delicate and require high level of nutrients. I've tried growing tomatoes in my aquaponics garden and they require a denser population of fish to provide sufficient wastes.

BennyTien on April 10, 2013:

For those who interested in veggies gardening, growing tomatoes is a must.

dalsun on April 10, 2013:

I didn't know about the marigold and garlic tips. Great information!

Cynthia Haltom from Diamondhead on April 10, 2013:

Great tips, thanks for the info, I really enjoyed reading your lens

becskar on April 09, 2013:

There is nothing in the world better than a home grown tomato. I'll have to refer back to these tips this year as I am working on our garden. Thanks for sharing!

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