One of the best things you can do to get your tomatoes off to a good start is to plant them correctly. Tomatoes are oddballs in that they like to be planted deeply — with not just their root ball, but also most of their stem buried in the soil.
Why Should You Plant Tomatoes Deep?
When you bury the stem, tomato plants grow roots all along the buried length of stem. This results in a stronger, sturdier plant; one that is better able to handle drought and excessive heat.
How to Plant Tomatoes — 2 Methods
Method 1: Straight Down
For this method, you simply dig the deepest hole you can, while ensuring that at least a couple sets of leaves are still above the soil. This works fine if you have nice, loose, fluffy soil, but if you have less-than-perfect soil, you may want to try the next method.
Method 2: Trench Tomatoes
Dig a trench that is long enough to bury the entire plant except for the top couple sets of leaves. It should be deep enough to bury the stem at least three inches deep. Dig the trench, then lay your tomato plant in it, and cover it all over with soil. You’ll have the top-most sets of leaves sticking out of one end of the trench. You can use a small stake to stand the end upright, or just wait — it will start growing straight up in a few days.
General Tips for Tomato Planting
1. Incorporate plenty of organic matter, in the form of compost or composted manure, into the soil prior to planting, especially if you’re trying to grow in either sandy or clayey soil.
2. Adding calcium to the planting soil may help fend off blossom end rot. Add a bit of bonemeal or a few crushed eggshells to the planting hole.
3. Mulch around your tomato plants to help retain soil moisture and reduce weeds. Organic mulches, such as wood shavings, straw, shredded leaves, or grass clippings work great. You can also use red plastic if you’d like (some say it increases yields.)
That’s all there is to it! A few easy techniques, and you’re well on your way to growing great tomatoes.
Throughout the month of October, I’ll be writing all about my favorite garden topic …. tomatoes! I hope you’ll join me! You can check out the other 31 Dayers here.