Friday, April 16, 2010

Tomatoes: horizontal planting

I learned this thanks to Mel Bartholomew's All New Square Foot Gardening and thought I would share.

Bartholomew points out that tomatoes can sprout new roots along their main stem so if you lay the plant down when you plant it, "They will develop an enormous number of roots, all along that hairy stem, which will sustain a larger, more productive plant."  I never knew that before, but I tried it last year for the first time and it was amazing!  Here's what you do:

In the dirt, you dig a little trench, which you can see back there, with one end deep enough for the root ball.

Then you take your little seedling, like so.

And you take off the leaves from the bottom of the seedling, so all you have left are a couple of leaves on the very top.  This gives you more stem to sprout roots.

So you take your seedling and you lay it down in the trench with the roots at the deep end and the leaves coming out of the ground.  This seedling isn't being helpful because you can't tell how the whole stem goes in the trench, but it does.

Then you very carefully bend the stem right below the leaves so that the plant is sticking up.  You don't need to worry if it comes up at an angle; it will eventually straighten itself out.

I'm afraid it looks like I'm pinching the plant, here, but I'm not.  Do be careful when you bend it.

Then scoop the dirt in place in the trench and voila!  A much smaller tomato plant than you were expecting, but a much stronger one in the long run.  (Sounds like there should be a sermon illustration in there somewhere.  Sorry...sorry...habit.)

Happy gardening!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great post! Thank You