This probably sounds like a no-brainer, but you would not believe how many folks don’t know how to plant a tomato plant.
There’s a secret that will:
- Give your plants a great head start
- Encourage a strong root system
- Stabilize small, weak seedlings
- Create a stronger, thriving tomato plant
Start with a seedling. A seedling is a baby tomato plant. You can start seeds in your house or purchase a seedling someone else started.
Around here this means (if you didn’t start seeds in February) a trip out to Amish country or the local nursery.
Now that you have a sweet, baby tomato plant we are going to rip all of his lower limbs off. Yes, all the lower branches must go. We are removing them because we are going to put this guy almost completely underwater, I mean underground.
By planting your tomato seedling deep in the soil you will encourage a larger, more robust root system. The plant will send out additional roots all along the portion of stem that contacts soil. As a result, the plant will grow at an amazing rate.
I use my thumb and finger to pinch off the unnecessary branches. Now we have a tomato, palm tree. Top only, no lower branches.
Next dig a hole.
There are a lot of people who use a post hole digger to plant tomato plants. I tried this. My soil is fairly easy to work in, so the post hole digger isn’t necessary. I find it big, heavy and cumbersome. It seemed a bit over-kill for me. I use a shovel.
If your soil is more difficult to work in I could see a post-hole digger coming in handy.
Make sure the hole is deep enough so that only the top of the plant is above ground.
Now is a great time to add some compost, egg shells, dead fish, or other wonder-grow secrets you have up your sleeve. I have 3 cows currently (soon to be 4) so I have super-manure on an epic scale for my plants to feast on.
After adding some goodies to your hole, fill with soil. Be gentle. Do not pack, stomp, or crush the roots. The roots need air as much as they need nutrient-rich soil and water in order to thrive.
There he is. All tucked in.
Here’s a comparison of an unplanted seedling next to a planted one. You can see how much of the tomato plant is underground.
At this point a little water wouldn’t hurt if there isn’t rain in your near forecast.
That’s it for tomatoes. All that’s left is the growing and harvesting!
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Happy Spring Everyone!