Plant Your Tomatoes Deep

A vegetable garden tip from Gasper owner, Robert Gasper

My best advice for planting tomatoes runs counter to the standard planting advice for most other plants. For most plants, it is typically recommended that you plant the transplanted plant in the ground at the same level it was planted in its pot, not exposing any more or any less of the plant above or below the finished grade. However, when you are planting tomatoes, I have found that this is not always the best advice.

Instead, I have been burying up to two-thirds of my tomato seedlings when I transfer them to my garden for many years now.

You can do this with tomatoes (and tomatoes only) because the tomato plant possesses the ability to grow roots almost anywhere along its stem. So when you bury more of the stem, you force the plant to grow additional roots along the buried stem, which increases the plant’s root ball, which allows it to uptake more water and nutrients from the surrounding soil. That ultimately results in a stronger plant that will yield more fruit. Giving the plant a larger root system allows the tomato to better tolerate hot, dry weather, or even drought.

In addition, when planting my tomatoes, I like to make sure that I am enriching my garden soil with a little bit of:
• Sand to promote better drainage
• Bumper Crop, which is an excellent organic soil builder
• Dr. Earth’s Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer which is a gentle organic fertilizer

All are available in the garden center at Gasper Home & Garden Showplace

One last thing I do when planting my vegetable garden is to cover all the exposed soil with a black landscape fabric that I pin down with sod pins. This step saves me time by preventing unwanted weed growth around my vegetable starts.

When I use this soil mix in combination with the deep planting technique, I get the best crops of tomatoes in my own vegetable garden. Give it a test trial in your vegetable garden this year, and let me know the results!