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Old 02-11-2008, 10:19 AM   #1
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Tomato Planting Question

I picked up a couple of Celebrity tomato plants yesterday from the nursery. Celebrities are recommended for this area. The plants are about 8" tall, not including root ball. I put them in the ground this morning.

Then I remembered an article called "Tomato Basics" from my Texas Gardener magazine. The writer said when planting, he laid the plants on their side and turned the ends upward as he covered the root ball and lower stem with soil. He said the plants will form roots all along the buried stem.

Does anyone else plant tomatoes this way? Should I replant?

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Old 02-11-2008, 11:34 AM   #2
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I've heard of that, but I've never done it. Does he say what the benefit would be?
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:22 PM   #3
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GotGarlic, no, he does not state the benefit. I understand the need for a strong root system, but having prepared my soil well, I don't understand why he suggests this.
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:38 PM   #4
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I wouldn't replant then. They should be fine.
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Old 02-11-2008, 01:02 PM   #5
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Thanks. I'm going to leave them.

The writer may be a tomato planting perfectionist. I am not.
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Old 02-11-2008, 01:06 PM   #6
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I have heard this as well. We don't lay them down on their sides but I plant them up to their second or third set of leaves for just this reason. Our soil is good but I keep thinking the more roots, the better. When I pull them out in the fall, they are rooted all the way up. I also think it helps them balance better during the summer. We get some gusty days in early summer and then our share of t-storms with lots of wind. They tend to stand well.
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Old 02-11-2008, 01:07 PM   #7
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At just 8" tall, your plants will be just fine as is.

Planting tomatoes in a trough on their sides like that is really for plants that are overgrown & spindly. Planting them on their sides with just the tips protruding will give them a much better chance of growing in a more sturdy fashion. And yes, roots will grow out along the buried stem.

While I've never had to do the sideways planting, I normally trim off the lower leaves & bury my tomatoes deeper than they were originally growing in their pots if they're not as thick-stemmed & bushy as I would like, or if I've been lazy & haven't repotted them as often as I should have.

But your guys should be just fine. :)
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Old 02-11-2008, 02:00 PM   #8
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I've used this method many times. The only advantage I've seen(all things being equal) is you don't have to dig as deep a hole. The stem(underground) will produce roots no matter its orientation is my thinking. I've not noticed any difference in growth rate or yields. So anothelr vote for they will be fine!
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Old 02-11-2008, 02:55 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone. Southern gardening has been. and continues to be, a steep learning curve for me.
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Old 02-11-2008, 03:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplicity View Post
Thanks everyone. Southern gardening has been. and continues to be, a steep learning curve for me.
A quick Google search turned up this site: http://www.burger.com - by Donald Burger, Houston TX The site owner lives in Houston. Bad news: He recommends not planting tomatoes outside till the first week of March. They don't like to be cold and shouldn't be planted until after the last average frost date (March 8 in Houston, according to this site) and the soil temp. is consistently above 55* at night.
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:06 PM   #11
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GotGarlic, thank you for searching. I'm familiar with this website. Mr. Burger is an attorney, who has a passion for gardening, mostly flowers.

We are in a tight spot- between frost and heat. If one doesn't kill them, the other will.
Tomatoes with short plant -to -harvest time are recommended.

Temps now are in the 70's, doesn't get much cooler at night - my windows are open. I doubt we'll have another freeze. so I took the chance.

Thank you for the heads-up. If we do, by chance, get a cold spell, I can replant.
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:12 AM   #12
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I tried the laying down thing once and broke a few plants. Now I just dig them deeper. I have read that the benefit is a stronger plant, because tomatoes are actually a vining plant, the more they can vine underground, the stronger the plant. Not sure if it's actually because of the deep planting, but I sure do get some TALL plants! A few of last years were as tall as or a little taller than me! (5'6)
Wow I wish I could put mine in the ground March 8th. I have to wait til Mother's Day. You'll have tomatoes by the time mine go in!
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:02 AM   #13
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Yes, Mother's Day has always been my traditional day to plant out my tomatoes, peppers, & eggplants - both here in VA & also when I lived in NY. Sometimes I put them in a little earlier, but it can be dicey. Last year we were still getting sporadic heavy frosts in late April, & the couple of extra weeks isn't worth it to me having to run out & cover/uncover lots of plants - lol!

The only things that go out earlier are peas, greens, & brassicas.
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:21 AM   #14
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I just started my tomato seeds this week, here in Missouri.

Thirteen different heirloom varieties might be a little excessive for a woman who lives alone, but it will be a great summer!!

(I will be selling the extra plants to benefit our spay/neuter program.)
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:06 AM   #15
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Sparrowgrass,
have you tried the Black Krim from Burpee? They are just wonderful!
I am trying to cut back on my varieties this year, but that's one I will always do!
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:36 AM   #16
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hey, I'm growing Black Krim this year, for the first time. I vary what year I grow a lot of a certain vegetable to can/freeze, and this year I do not can tomatoes, so I will grow a few heirloom varities to eat fresh and do a little sauce. It is too early for me to start tomato plants here in southern ohio. I bought my Black Krim seeds from Cook's Garden catalog. I'm also planting San Marzano and Caspian Pink
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Old 02-13-2008, 12:02 PM   #17
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I don't think I have any Black Krim--I did get Ananas Noir (black pineapple) and Cherokee Purple.
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Old 02-13-2008, 12:08 PM   #18
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Planting deeper is okay as long as you have good drainage. A deep hole in heavy clay soil is a bath tub of moisture to drown the plant. Deep is a relative term as it refers only to the depth of loose soil compared to the depth of surounding denser media. Planting on the side avoids the possible risk of suffocating/ drowning a plant in a bath tub surrounded by denser heavier soil. Naturally a well prepared vegetable garden will have a good balance of sand, silt and clay as the mineral components of the soil. Given good preparation aids overall aeration for the garden then there is little risk of injury planting deeper.

A couple years back the Farmers Almanac was calling for a wetter than usual year. Just for the heck of it I followed and planted the tomatos in berms of soil to help keep them drier. I had a good crop but everyone else had poor ones. The only difference was the berms gave me enough drainage for that wet season. The point being to know your soil, weather, plants and cultural practices. Forgeting one it is hard to compensate with the other steps.
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Old 02-14-2008, 04:34 PM   #19
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I have tried planting my tomatoes both ways, and it hasn't made any difference in yield. I am going to our plants from seed this weekend. I have 3 heirlooms that I love. One was my grandmothers and I don't know a name for them, but we have been saving the seed for decades now. Tell me about the black krim? At the farmers market last week, one of the guys said that heirloomtomatoes.com had a wonderful selection of seeds.
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Old 02-23-2008, 11:13 PM   #20
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Question Tomatoes

Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
At just 8" tall, your plants will be just fine as is.

Planting tomatoes in a trough on their sides like that is really for plants that are overgrown & spindly. Planting them on their sides with just the tips protruding will give them a much better chance of growing in a more sturdy fashion. And yes, roots will grow out along the buried stem.

While I've never had to do the sideways planting, I normally trim off the lower leaves & bury my tomatoes deeper than they were originally growing in their pots if they're not as thick-stemmed & bushy as I would like, or if I've been lazy & haven't repotted them as often as I should have.

But your guys should be just fine. :)
I might try this way of planting for my seedling tommys, as they are very spindly and leggy, even though they are seedlings and are only a few weeks old. Im not sure why, I dont normally have a problem and I usually have an abundence of tommys. I always start them off in pots,never directly in the ground. Any ideas on why my seedlings may be growing all spindly and leggy, I dont normally fertilize until they are months old.
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