Vegetables and Fruit forum: Planting tomato plants deep: does it work?

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Name: wendy james
frisco, texas
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wendyjames2
Sep 11, 2013 11:01 AM CST
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.
Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Sep 11, 2013 11:07 AM CST
This is something I've always doneā€¦ Gives, in my opinion, a much stronger root structure. The bare stem of a tomato plant will produce more roots when it is buried deeper. I don't believe that it affects the production of the fruit. It does, I think, make for a stockier, and sturdier plant.
[Last edited by terrafirma - Sep 11, 2013 11:09 AM (+)]
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Name: David Paul
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DavidofDeLand
Sep 11, 2013 11:41 AM CST
I agree 100% Smiling
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Sep 11, 2013 12:05 PM CST
Welcome! Welcome! Wendy, welcome to ATP.

Yes, always plant your tomatoes deep. The stem that is now underground will put out new roots. The stronger a root system the plant has the more it can grow and the more it can set fruit.

On tall leggy plants you can carry this one step further by laying the tomato plant on it's side horizontal in a shallow ditch. Gently bend the end upwards and fill in will soil. Not to worry if the top is not absolutely straight. You can straighten it as it grows. This method makes lanky weak growing plants strong as again the plant makes lots of roots along the buried part of the stem.

It does not affect the timing of fruit production one way or another but I do believe you end up with more fruit per plant in the long run. And not to worry that your new plants now look shorter because they are deeper. The plant is really still the same height.

Ideally you want to pinch off those bottom leaves that are on the stem that you will have underground. But if you forget to do this, don't worry as the plants will manage just fine.

I always plant my tomato plants as deeply as I can. It makes them thrive.

And I also am a firm believer in mulching those baby plants as soon as you get them planted to stop any soil borne diseases from splashing up on the tomato leaves. Cut off any leaves touching the soil even if you don't mulch. You want to keep your tomato plants as healthy as possible and keep those fungal diseases away as much as possible.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Sep 11, 2013 12:55 PM CST
Absolutley! nodding
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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
Sep 11, 2013 2:24 PM CST
Hi, Wendy. Welcome!

I've always believed in planting transplants deeply, and I still do. I think it makes it easier to maintain the plant throughout its life-cycle, especially when we're fond of keeping them up off the ground. However, plants that sprout on their own and are left to sprawl seem to produce just fine too. They might do this because they never experience transplant shock and those that are left to sprawl will make new roots wherever their branches touch bare soil. When we tie them up off of the ground they can no longer do this for themselves, so that's where it's most helpful to plant deeply and get more roots straight off of the main stem.

The best thing I've learned lately for growing very fruitful tomato plants is to mulch them heavily and feed them the right food (and much more often than I have in the past). I'd always wondered how to accomplish this since everything I'd ever read said to reduce water during fruiting, but with help given in this forum I discovered the wonders of foliar feeding with seaweed products. So, plant deeply if you plan to keep your plants off the ground (recommended), but don't forget the importance of feeding them what they need to thrive. Smiling

My plants are continuing to amaze me with their bounty, and I'm very grateful to all who've shared their experiences here! Where once I was lucky to get a handful of large tomatoes from each plant, to now where it's common to quickly get more than 20 from each one...sometimes even thirty(!), and they're still going strong. Hurray! Thumbs up

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Name: Leann
Orlando, Florida (Zone 9b)
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DarkRhapsody
Sep 12, 2013 12:06 PM CST
I agree
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
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Newyorkrita
Sep 12, 2013 12:18 PM CST
Welcome! Welcome Leann, Welcome to ATP. Welcome!
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robertduval14
Sep 17, 2013 5:54 AM CST

Plants Admin

Last year I played with this idea a bit, planting some very deep while others I only planted to the depth that they were in their starter pots. Both sets of plants did very well, but the deeper planted ones absolutely grew into much stockier plants. They held the weight of the fruit much better. As far as 'more' production or timing of fruit set goes, however, I could not tell any real difference. The stockier plants certainly held up a bit better late in the season.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Sep 17, 2013 6:49 AM CST
I've had the same experience. If a tomato plant is tall and lanky, I just lay the entire stem over and cover it with soil. It roots all along that stem and the resulting plant is stocky and vigorous. No need to cut the plant off or even bury it deeply. I've even buried them sideways out of the pot, covered with soil and just left a few inches of the leafy end of the plant uncovered to grow upward. Works fine for me.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller

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