Tomatoes are one of the easiest and most rewarding vegetables to grow in a home garden. However, planting them properly is essential for a successful harvest. In this article, we’ll discuss why it’s important to plant tomatoes deep and show you how simple it is so that you can grow strong tomato plants, even if you’re new to vegetable gardening.
It is generally recommended that vegetable plants should not be planted deeper than their normal depth, as it can lead to problems like root rot, stem rot, and other diseases. Planting most vegetable plants too deep can suffocate the roots and prevent them from getting the oxygen they need to grow properly.
Why Tomato Plants are Different
However, tomato plants (and their cousin the eggplant/brinjal/aubergine) are an exception to this rule. Planting tomato plants deeper than their normal depth is actually encouraged because it can help the plant develop a stronger root system. This is because these plants have the unique ability to grow roots along their buried stems, which is promoted by soil touching the stem.
Benefits of Planting Tomatoes Deep
By planting a tomato plant deeper than its normal depth, you allow the plant to develop more roots. This creates a larger root system that is better equipped to absorb water and nutrients from the soil, making the plant more resistant to environmental stresses and diseases.
Burying the stem of a tomato plant deeper can also help anchor the plant in the soil, preventing it from toppling over in strong winds. This can be especially important for tall, indeterminate tomato plants that can grow several feet tall.
In addition, planting tomatoes deep can also save you time and money. Since the plants will be stronger and more resilient, they will require less maintenance and you may be able to get away with fertilizing and watering your plants less frequently.
So, while it’s generally not recommended to plant vegetable plants deeper than their normal depth, tomato plants are an exception. Planting them deeper can actually help them grow stronger and healthier, leading to a larger harvest of juicy, flavorful fruits.
How to Plant Tomatoes Deep
- Choose a sunny spot: Tomatoes need plenty of sunlight to grow and produce fruit. Choose a spot in your garden that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
- Prepare the soil: Tomatoes prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Amend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure before planting to provide your plant with the necessary nutrients.
- Dig a hole: Dig a hole that is deep enough to bury the tomato plant up to the first set of true leaves. The hole should also be wide enough to accommodate the root ball without squeezing it in.
- Remove the lower leaves: Gently remove the lower leaves from the stem of the tomato plant using scissors. This will expose the stem and allow it to develop roots when buried in the soil.
- Plant the tomato: Place the tomato plant in the hole and fill the hole with soil. Gently tap down the soil to remove air pockets. At least one set of leaves should be kept over the soil level.
- Water thoroughly: Give the tomato plant a thorough watering to help settle the soil and promote root growth.
- Support the plant: Provide support for the tomato plant with a stake or cage. This will keep the plant upright and prevent it from breaking under the weight of the fruit.
- Add more soil: As the tomato plant grows, add more soil mixed with compost around the base of the plant and cover it with mulch. This will help to keep the stem stable and promote additional root growth.
So, next time you transplant your tomato plants, be sure to bury the stem deep in the soil and watch your plants grow stronger and more productive than ever before!
Want more information on how to start growing tomatoes? Visit our Ultimate Beginners Guide to Growing Tomatoes at Home