The Q&A Archives: next years tomatoes

Question: ok I've had a somewhat sucessful growing tomatoes for my first time, but next year I would like to plant them so they cant lay in the dirt and get rotted where I cant see them, I heard of planting them upside down whatever that means. how about a trellice or something like that? any thoughts, thanks again as always....Dave

Answer: Tomato plants tend to sprawl so caging them when you first plant them will help you maintain control over their growth pattern. Or, you could plant determinate types. These plants grow to a specific height and width and then set fruit. The fruit ripens all at once. If you prefer to have tomatoes throughout the growing season, plant indeterminate types and cage or trellis them early in the season, or try growing them upside down. This method has met with some success. I've never tried it, but the gardeners I've spoken with report mixed results. As long as you water faithfully, your plants should be happy. There are bags on the market sold for this purpose. You simply fill them with potting soil, hang them up and then place tomato plants in the slits in the bottom of the bag. The plants will want to grow upward but the weight of the stems will make them hang down. As long as you hang the pouch 4-5' above the ground, the stems will never touch the ground and your tomatoes will remain clean.

One final thought. If you decide against growing your tomatoes upside down and go back to planting them in the ground, spread straw over the soil surface after planting your tomato plants; the straw will help the fruits stay clean.

Best wishes with your garden!

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