Time to plant the tomatoes

20 May

Nobody asked me but… I decided to throw a couple cents into this season’s tomato-planting discussion. (Whaddaya mean, you weren’t discussing it! You have looked at a calendar, yes?)

My best advice on getting tomatoes started is this:

Buy plants that are around a foot tall and that have plenty of suckers growing from the lower portion. This one is around 11 inches, and has plenty of leaves and suckers throughout the entire plant.

Why is that so important? Because the first thing I’m going to urge you to do is cut off all that beautiful growth, about halfway up the stem, in fact.

Then dig a deep enough hole to bury the stem to the first sucker that’s left.

Yes, your plants will look pretty scrawny compared to when you bought them at the garden center. But your odds of having a more productive plant just got a ton better than had you dropped the plant into the ground as-is. What’s happening here is that all those areas where you pruned will develop into a more substantial root system for the plant, which makes it stronger and, in turn, able to produce better fruit.

One other thing: Tomato plants don’t require frequent watering, so unless you live in a dry climate, try and leave the things alone until they need moisture. Under normal conditions I only water my tomato plants (20 or 30 of them, and all different varieties) a couple times a week.

I’ll shut up now.

2 Responses to “Time to plant the tomatoes”

  1. 3M May 21, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    What great advice! I've always avoided plants with lots of suckers, but now I'll be on the look out for them. Do you plant all of your tomatoes at once, or do you stagger them a bit so that they don't all produce at the same time?

  2. Mister Meatball May 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    I plant all the tomatoes around the same time. Short growing season here in Maine y'know.

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