Bobberman
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Putting all my tomatoes in this week with my deep funnel shapped holes using a 1 inch steel rod or shovel handle. I usually make it a foot down and move it in a large circle so that the top of the hole is like the top of a funnel. I feel the top of the hole with some good soil and my tomato is planted about a foot deep. It seems that the one inch hole below the tomato holds water and stays wet for a long time with my type of soil! It is so easy and fast that I can plant 20 tomatoes in 15 minutes! The top of the hole is about 4 inches in diameter! Try it you will never do it any other way once you master it for even other plants like peppers!
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i wasn't able to watch the local PBS "Garden Line" a couple of weeks ago (hosted by SDSU horticulturists). DVR'd it and watched it last night. one of the hosts showed what to do if your tomato plants happen to get a little "leggy" before you are able to plant them in the ground. she actually put the tomato plant in a horizontal position in the ground (maybe couple inches deep) and gently bent the area so to expose that part above ground. not sure if there would be any benefits to that, then say "burying" it straight into the ground and leaving top exposed.

just thot i'd pass that along.

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If you bend a tomato over and touch any part to the ground it will grow roots there! You can take the top and bury it and have to ends of the tomato growing roots! Tomatoes are something!
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Hanging tomato new twist!

How about lets take a hanging tomato and hang it so it touches the ground. Now lets burr the part that reaches the grounf. I would think that it would grow very nicely with two sorces of food! What do you think? Has anyone tried this?
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Garden5,
I didn't have the time or patiences to read 33 replies to your guestion.
The best I can tell you is we'll see this fall.
I have two Jetstars that have not been planted yet.
Both started from seed at the same time.
Both are the same hight.
I will plant one with the roots a few inches below the surface and I will plant the other one with the roots a foot deep.
I'll get bact to you this fall with the results.
If a disease doesn't kill them and a bug doesn't eat them there may be something left for you.
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garden5
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Thanks Johnny!

I wanted to do this myself last year and this, but the plants were so small that the difference between deep and not deep was only about 2 in. :lol:.

Looking forward to the results.
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SPierce
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Just going to pop in quickly, as I went the "deep planting" route this year!

Does anyone else notice that deep planted tomato plants tend to grow out horizontally and get wider, instead of taller? I have several plants where I planted them regularly (with some of the stem above around) that are growing really tell and need support- but the ones i planted deep, up to almost the first set of leaves, are way ahead of the ones that are taller- more tomatoes and everything!

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I generally bury my transplants about 2/3 of the way down depending on variety, give it a try this season on a plant or two and see how it works. Good luck

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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

Tomato plants have the ablilty to grow roots any place soil touches the stem. You don't need to strip off the bottom leaves it just makes them easier to plant with no leaves. Now you dig a hole deep enough to get the whole stem covered in soil.

Another cool trick to make tomatoes grow fast and produce lots of large tomatoes is dig a 10" flower pot size hole about 4" too deep. Throw a small hand full of 15/15/15 fertilizer, egg shells and some lime pellets in the hole. Pour 1/2 a gallon of water in the hole then come back in about 15 minutes after the water has gone down. Put about 4" of soil in the hole then plant the tomatoes deep with leaves removed soil touching the whole stem.

Water the plants a little bit every day in 2 weeks they will suddenly take off growing super fast. You don't need to water them anymore. They will grow about 1" per day, as the plants get larger they will grow faster.

I get several bushel baskets of tomatoes from 18 plants enough to CAN 100 pints and 20 quarts of tomatoes in mason jars the first 2 weeks tomatoes are ripe.

You can stop cut worms by sprinkling corn meal around the stems of your tomato plants. If it rains or the corn meal gets hard replace it with new corn meal. Cut worms will eat the corn meal not the tomato plant. After tomato plant hardens off about 2 weeks corn meal is no longer needed.

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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

I kind of got lost in the replies to your question. Kind of got off tract. Back to your question about deep planting tomatoes that is a big yes. Bury 2/3 of your start either vertically or horizontally. I only plant indeterminate tomatoes because I have a limited amount of space and grow them vertically. Friday G came home with 2 tomato plants one better boy and one big boy. From the bottom of the pot to the top of the plant they were 12" tall. After planting only 3" of the plants were above the soil line. I grow my tomatoes vertically so a deep root system is important.

Yes plant deep.

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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

I have about 20 tomato plants growing in paper cups. They are a little pale and leggy because they are too big for my grow lights and I haven't put them in the sun because it is so windy. I plan to take some and put them in large pots. I will bury them up to their necks and then strip of the bottom leaves and fill the pots with dirt until they reach the top. I have another flat of 72 Romas coming, so I have plenty to play with.

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Re:

buzzcut wrote:i wasn't able to watch the local PBS "Garden Line" a couple of weeks ago (hosted by SDSU horticulturists). DVR'd it and watched it last night. one of the hosts showed what to do if your tomato plants happen to get a little "leggy" before you are able to plant them in the ground. she actually put the tomato plant in a horizontal position in the ground (maybe couple inches deep) and gently bent the area so to expose that part above ground. not sure if there would be any benefits to that, then say "burying" it straight into the ground and leaving top exposed.

just thot i'd pass that along.
I know people who look for lengthier plants for this reason. It's their favorite way to plant tomatoes, say plants end up stronger, very productive.
I start all my tomatoes from seed, and plant them deep, but have not tried the curving stem method .

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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

My understanding of the two methods -- deep straight down vs. shallow trench -- is that they both work on the same principle that tomatoes grow roots along the stem:

Deep "post hole" method is preferred for hot and/or dry areas so the roots can be kept cool and less tend to dry out where they can find deeper moisture

Shallow trench method is preferred for cool areas where earliest planting is desired since soil is warmer near the surface

-- Planting in deep holes can shock or delay the plants when the deeper soil is much colder to even freezing. They can also be drowned where rainfall is frequent or heavy, or subsoil is mostly clay and doesn't drain well.

-- Planting in shallow trenches can mean more frequent watering in dry spring and summer drought. Also the long shallowly buried stem can interfere with mechanical and tool-based weeding like tilling or hoeing. So heavily mulching is recommended.
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Oliver Brown
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

Sure it work. it will grow roots right out of the stems and this will give your plants good root system.

Hope this helps :D
Here is some good tips for Growing Awesome Tomatoes. :)
https://www.growtomatoestips.com

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TheWaterbug
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Re:

johnny123 wrote:The best I can tell you is we'll see this fall.
I have two Jetstars that have not been planted yet.
Both started from seed at the same time.
Both are the same hight.
I will plant one with the roots a few inches below the surface and I will plant the other one with the roots a foot deep.
I'll get bact to you this fall with the results.
If Johnny's still here, did you ever get results from that experiment?

I have the time and space next year (and if I remember) maybe I'll try one shallow transplant, one deep transplant, and one horizontal transplant and see what the differences are.

Of course it'll have to be a variety that I really like :D
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

As a general rule, once tomato plants are positioned within the growing medium, they must have a minimum 12-inch depth beneath them for healthy root growth. Depending on the cultivar, tomato plants grow upward to approximately 3 feet; their deep root structures mirror their height so that they can support the weight above. Preferably, an 18-inch deep planter box should be used to hold a healthy tomato plant, depending on the variety. These heavy planters should be placed on a patio floor or sturdy table.

Ray Browning
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

Planting them deep works amazingly well. It is the only method I use. :)

Mugabe
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

They are a nightmare

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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

Mugabe what makes them a nightmare? planting deep? or all of the pests and diseases that plague them after?
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

Often tomato starts get quite leggy. I only clip leaves that are starting to look bad, then make a trench and lay the root ball in one end and the stem horizontal for whatever length doesn't have leaves on it. I don't like to get the root ball too deep as the ground is cooler the deeper you go. The stem that is planted will send out roots and the plant will then have a great root system. Whether you go horizontal or vertical, it is good to bury some of the stem above the root ball.
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

I usually bury about half of the tomato plant to encourage root growth. Good thred

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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

garden5 wrote:I have heard of people stripping off all the leaves except for the top two on their plants and planting the plant all the way up to these top leaves. Supposedly, this gives a deeper, stronger, root system.

Has anyone ever tried this, what were your results? Did you get fruit sooner because the plant got more nutrients, or did you get fruit later because the plant had to make up so much growth?

This is something I might try this year. Thanks for any reports.
I like to have about 4-5 vines per plant. So in the smaller pots I pinch the leaves and let the suckers grow from where the bottom 2 sets of leaves were. After they get started good I put them in the larger containers they will stay in but only about half or 2/3 of the way filled with dirt. Later after the vines get taller I fill dirt to the top, burying the vines. I didn't do it that way with the first 2 plants last year, but with the 4 I planted later I did it that way and it made a huge! difference. The leaves were bigger and the fruit was bigger too, and the vines themselves were a whole lot thicker. It makes sense since doing it the first way all nutrients for the whole plant are restricted to going up the one stem, but the second way each vine becomes its own stem with its own root system. That makes more efficient use of the soil itself too, imo.

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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

I was always taught to plant the tomatoes deep enough to covers up the bottom set of leaves at least a couple inches in the ground. Has always worked well for us.

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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

I have always planted my tomato plants deep and have grown large and tall tomato plants. Planting deep allows for the plant to grow larger, gather more nutrients, and has the strength to grow bigger tomatoes. I’ve never removed the leaves before hand, and honestly you don't need to. Make sure the soil you are using is soft and fluffy. I use an organic compost manure and add 6 inches of compost throughout my entire garden each year. This helps the plant to spread its roots out deeper.

I’ll post my method for growing a deep-rooted tomato plants and as a result, grew a 6-foot tall tomato plant with tons of large tomatoes.

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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

I trench, placing the root ball at least 8" to 10" deep. Roots will continue to grow down as far as they want from there.

I pinch off all but the top 2 or 3 leaves and lay the plant into a sloping trench, with only the top few leaves I've left above the soil line. The plant will root all along the stem. This helps to drought proof the plant as well. Where appropriate - wouldn't do this in, say the pacific northwest where they are getting 66" of rain per year - I will set the plant into a depression in the soil and line the sides with rocks so that water stays where I put it. That depression follows the lay of the trench.

I mulch with cardboard and wood chips wherever there is not plant. I prefer to drip irrigate, though my garden has been so small the last couple of years that even decrepit old me can water by hand. Even in the desert. Mulching is a miracle.

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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

jal_ut wrote:I don't like to get the root ball too deep as the ground is cooler the deeper you go.
That's not an issue here in the DC area. In fact, it may help alleviate the 90's for days in a row.
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

Usually people are talking about transplanting tomato starts in the ground in spring. Even in DC, the lower layers of soil can be a bit cold for them in late April - early May.
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

I deep plant using a post hole digger. Usually I go down about a foot. At the bottom of the hole I'll add some triple 10 and lawn minerals. While the plant is growing I will pinch off runners.

I've had good luck with this method. Most of my plants grow 7-10' tall.
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

quote: "I have heard of people stripping off all the leaves except for the top two on their plants and planting the plant all the way up to these top leaves. Supposedly, this gives a deeper, stronger, root system."

I find it best to not put the root system that deep. Dig a little trench and kinda lay the plant down in the trench. Now the roots are not deep, but some of the stem is underground where it can send out new roots. Yes, they will send out roots along that underground stem.
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

Tomato plants have the ability to grow roots anywhere soil touches them. If you plant deep you get a plant with lots of roots plus it is deep where the moisture is. After transplanting the plants in the garden a week later you see plants start to grow faster and faster about 1" taller every day. I like to plant my tomatoes April 1st if possible and no larger than April 15. I like to take advantage of cool, wet spring weather I want my plants to be 6 feet tall by June 15 and producing tomatoes by July 4th. In hot weather all those roots will keep the plants alive in 100 degree weather when there is very little rain. A large root system is very good for a tomato variety that produces large tomatoes and large quantities of tomatoes. I want my plants to produce 200 lbs of tomatoes by July 15 before the heat and sun slows tomato production down to very few tomatoes. Cool weather late October plants that survive the summer heat will start producing tomatoes again. I often have tomatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner and maybe Christmas dinner.

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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

I always take off the lower leaves and plant as much of the stem as possible. I leave only the top set of leaves. The plants do grow adventicious roots and if I leave more stem, I just get a taller plant. Except for tumbling Tom which is a basket tomato, the tomatoes I grow are caged and usually 7-8 ft by the time they are in full production. I grow them in 18 gallon containers and the roots will still go out of the pots and into the ground. Tomatoes need a lot of root space as well as headroom.

What I find is that most beginners choose a pot that is too small and don't plan on a support system at the start. The support system should be in place when the tomato is planted so it is strong enough and does not damage the root system when it is being installed.

The other thing that beginners often don't realize that plants are living things that need air, light, water, food in the right quantities and that all things have a life span. They don't live forever.
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

Gary350, growing in Tn is likely to be a lot different than here in Northern Utah at 5000 ft elevation. With a little luck we get June, July and August frost free. Though one year I got frozen out on July 5.

Here is a good read: https://soilandhealth.org/wp-content/upl ... 7ch26.html
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

I've had such horrible luck with tomatoes the past few years I've decided to not grow them in my backyard garden this year. I did have a very large plant in a huge pot on my front porch that died this past winter when it got down to the low 20's a few nights in a row and I finally got that root ball out of the pot and decided to put just one cherry tomato plant in it surrounded by a few low growing flowering plants. That will be the extent of my tomato crop this year I do believe, unless I decide to put more of them in large pots.

The first several years of growing my garden found me with beautiful tomatoes each spring/summer and again in the fall before the real cold weather killed the plants off. However the past few years have seen the plants succumb to various diseases, fungal issues and an influx in pests that destroy the fruit before it ripens. I've planted my tomatoes in various locations over the years and by now there isn't a place in my garden where I can rotate them too that hasn't seen them planted there before.

But the good thing is, when tomatoes are getting ripe in my garden, the local tomato crop is too and the price of them drops considerably, making them almost not worth growing with the issues I've dealt with.

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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

gumbo2176 wrote: making them almost not worth growing with the issues I've dealt with.
almost I still work thru the issues and to me those home grown are worth it.
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

I'm very interested in this question (benefit - or not - of deep planting for tomatoes) and especially TZ's comments. Over many years I've tried lots of variations on the theme of raising and setting out transplants for best root development. I won't go into details here, but I was just today reflecting that when I first grew tomatoes and hadn't yet "learned how it should be done" I do believe my results were quite as good as after I began following many of the techniques I read about - but with much less bother/effort. This year I'll be going back to my older, simpler way of doing things.

The BIG things I've learned to be fussy about are 1) Keep the deer out of the garden :) and 2) Protect the plants from rain late in the season. When I didn't know I should "spank" or shake the blossoming plants my results were not noticeably poorer than after I began to do that. To me it's often difficult to distinguish gardening fact from dubious "common knowledge" and rational speculation.
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

Is it this post you are talking about?

TZ was the resident tomato expert around the time I first joined this forum. In fact he was the one that got me started growing my first selection of huge varieties, along with a couple of other members, too, and set me along this path of craziness nutz:

He hasn’t been here in a long time and I miss him. His archived advice are worth paying attention to.
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

applestar wrote:Is it this post you are talking about?
Hmmm - applestar, is it me you're talking to ? :lol:

Really I was/am very interested in just about everything TZ and most others had to say on this thread; but specially the comments about various tomato raising & planting techniques. Thanks to you all.

By the way I apologise for my irrelevant (to the topic) statements about protection from deer and rain. Sometimes can't resist flippant interjections intended as humour. It's too late to edit them out, but mods please feel free.

But off-topic again: I LOVE this forum.
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

When planting tomatoes I always dig a little trench and kind of lay the plant down in it and cover up all but the top leaves. The plant will send out roots all along any buried stem. Water and weed as required and you will succeed.
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Vanisle_BC
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Re: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

applestar wrote:Is it this post you are talking about?
No, it was No.3 in this thread where TZ_OH6, relates his experience & rationale for tomato transplanting, when to bury stems deep and when shallower:
I never see a significant amount of roots growing out above the original rootball for plants that had loose root balls going into the garden.
This makes sense of my own observation that burying a lot of stem makes little difference if transplants are already sturdy with well developed roots.
"The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior." H. D.Thoreau. (Me too.)

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