The Q&A Archives: planting leggy/tall tomato plants

Question: I have 10 week old tomato plants, soon I will be setting out. They are leggy but they seem to be very sturdy (they grew under lights, potted on, patted on the head and blown on). Now I want to plant, how far up the stem can I bury them? They are not spindly stalks, so I dont want to break them, and I don't want to smother any viable parts. How can I do this?
Thanks, donna

Answer: You can turn them sideways and plant in a shallow trench with the top few leaves (four or five) showing if you want to try to establish more roots faster. You want to end up with two or three inches of soil on top of the sideways stem; remove the leaves on the part you bury. This also avoids digging deeper where the soil is still cooler -- they prefer warmer soil. Make sure to condition them gradually to being outdoors in the weather before you plant them.

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