Quick Answer: How Deep Should You Plant Tomatoes?
The tomato plants may be planted deep into the soil to develop a stronger root system and better growth. It is recommended to bury about two-thirds of the seedling. You may either use the dig hole or trench method for deep planting tomatoes. Also, you may add supports depending on the tomato variety and keep the soil moist to have a hefty harvest.
This article helps to answer ‘how deep to plant your tomato plants?’
I have included my personal experience with different tomato planting techniques. Also, I did some research on what other gardeners have to say and incorporated their insights.
Let us get started to know more with details!
Why Should You Plant Tomatoes Deeply?
When a tomato plant is buried deep, it will grow more adventitious roots. It helps to absorb more water and nutrients. It protects them from cold, slugs, and other pests. Also, it gives better support to the soil.
There is a right way to plant tomatoes. My tomato plants produced best when they were buried deep into the ground. But why do we need to plant tomatoes deeply?
The tomato plants produce small roots all along their stem called adventitious roots.
If you bury the tomato plants deeply, they will develop a strong root system. More roots will help in a better anchorage of the tomato plants to the soil and absorption of nutrients.
Further, it will protect young tomato plants from late spring frosts, cold, and strong winds.
If you don’t plant the tomato seedling deep enough, the growing tip may be exposed to slugs, rabbits, and other pests. But, if you bury the plant too deep in the soil, it will die due to lack of sunlight.
So, it is necessary to know the proper way of deep planting tomato plants.
How To Deep Plant Tomatoes?
I usually start my tomato plants from seedlings. The different steps in deep planting tomato plants are discussed below.
1. Prepare The Tomato Plant And The Soil
Choose a disease-resistant transplant about 6-12 inches and remove the seedling without damaging the roots. Pinch off the lower branch and leaves of the seedling.
If you are planning to transplant a seedling, then choose the disease-resistant variety that has grown to about 6-12 inches. Make sure to remove the seedling from the existing pot without damaging the roots.
It is not necessary to prune the leaves and lower branches. However, I prefer to remove the leaves and branches from the lower portion of the tomato stem for convenience.
Also, it is important to improve the texture and nutrition of the soil with compost. The soil should not be hard as the new root system may not be able to penetrate the soil.
2. Planting Technique
The two different planting techniques of tomato plants are the deep hole method and the trench method. In both methods, make sure to bury at least two-thirds of the tomato plant.
There are two different methods for deep planting tomato seedlings, including the deep hole and the trench method.
In both methods, I recommend adding a little amount of slow-release fertilizer to the planting hole so that the tomato seedling gets the boost.
Deep Hole Method
I often use the deep hole method to plant a tomato seedling. You may dig a hole deep to accommodate the rootball and part of the stem.
It is recommended to bury at least two-thirds of the tomato seedling.
Loosen the roots, place the seedling in the hole, and then backfill with soil.
Make sure not to let your soil dry after planting. The downside is that it may be time-consuming when you have to dig a deep hole for more tomato seedlings.
Here is a tutorial on how to plant tomatoes using the deep hole method:
The second method that is used to plant a tomato seedling is the trench method. You may dig a six-inch trench that may accommodate the rootball and part of the stem.
I sometimes tend to angle the trench, so that the rootball sits deeper into the ground.
Gently loosen the rootball, shake off the dirt, and lay the plant horizontally in the trench. Bend the top end upwards. Fill it with soil, and keep the exposed leaves up away from the soil.
One advantage of this method is that the soil is warmer toward the ground level and so, the plant can grow quickly.
Also, it is easier to dig a long shallow hole than a deep hole.
Here is the video on trenching method for planting tomatoes:
Care For The Plant
Place support for the growing plant. Take care not to place the support on the top of the root system. Water the plant regularly to have a healthy harvest.
You may install a stake or cage to help grow the tomato seedlings upright. It is preferable to place the support in an earlier stage.
When you are using the trench method, take care to not place it on top of the root system. You may wait until the plant has started growing upright.
I used the stake for my tomatoes as they take up less space than the cage. But I had to tie up and prune the excess foliage.
Also, make sure to water the plants thoroughly to get a healthy plant. Space the tomato plants at least 24-36 inches to give enough room and make them less susceptible to diseases.
Here is the video on different types of tomato supports:
There is no one definitive answer on how deep the tomato plants go. It depends on the tomato variety, depth of the container, soil structure, soil quality, and planting techniques.
Tomatoes may be challenging to grow in a container due to their deep root system. You may use big containers and leave the top 4-6 inches of the plant. It is necessary to feed the plants with nutrients every two weeks.
I hope this article has thrown light on the importance of planting tomato seedlings deeply. You may have flourishing tomato plants by following the above-mentioned tips.
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