- How to plant?
- Consensus on tomato plants is that you plant in rows 3 feet apart and 24-36″ apart form each other. You may grow them closer due to space constraints. Also anticipate need for caging and whether or not the plant is ‘determinate’ ( low height) or ‘indeterminate’ which can grow as long as 15 to 20 feet.
- Trench or bury method? Neither method is wrong, both work well, I prefer burying.
- Trenching can be good if your soil is rocky or hard packed, anytime when good depth cannot be achieved. With your spade carve a trench at least 4 inches deep and as long as your plant is tall, less 2-3″s. Remove several sets of bottom leaves, make sure you leave at least 3 sets of leaves on top. Many people pinch them off the day before to allow the main stem to dry and scar. Lay the tomato with the top away from you, with the daytime sun to your back, and cover with soil leaving the plant head angled out of the soil. Within a couple of days the top will straighten. Remember when caging or staking, be careful not to penetrate where the root is located in the soil. Your root stem system will run on the entire length of that now buried stem.
- Burying is my preferred method, it allows the plant to stay cool under hot conditions, and find moisture when it is parched. Strip the bottom sets of leaves as in the trench method. Dig a hole as deep as the tomato stem that is leafless. I also cage at this time. I place the cage over the open hole, secure it in place with pins if it is an enclosed type. I then drop the tomato from the top opening of the cage into the hole. With an open weave cage you can toss the soil in and cover.
- WATER LIGHTLY! DO NOT DROWN. Watering lightly as soil drys, will aid in root growth. Do not fertilize at least for the first week, until the tomato plant is ‘happy’ in the garden. Roots will form rapidly along all the micro hairs of the stem that is buried.
*****Only fertilize once after planting, Otherwise you will have a beautiful GREEN plant and NO tomatoes******
Use Tomato Tone ora natural fertilizer like Fish Emulsion or liquid seaweed. They work best. After tomatoes start setting you can do a liquid spray of the same, increase the dilution rate.
- How to plant?
OOPS it’s going to get unseasonably cold, what do I do? Be prepared for an unseasonal low. A tarp, blanket or sheet will do. If you already have cages or stakes in place, they will hold the covering from damaging your plants. I have supported a tarp or sheet with lawn chairs at opposite corners. If you have large pots you can cover individual plants. If cold is coming, cover as soon as you are able. **Caution do not cover a plant with a black tarp or black pot in hot sunlight.