Tomatoes have to be America's favorite fruit of the garden. Yes it is technically a fruit, even though it has been widely accepted for years as a vegetable. Just look at to Dictionary.com's second definition for fruit:
"2. the developed ovary of a seed plant with its contents and accessory parts, as the pea pod, nut, tomato, or pineapple."
Yep, it specifically mentions tomato there but this post is not about whether it's a fruit or not but rather about how to plant that tomato, the most delicious fruit of the garden, the best way possible.
When to Plant Tomatoes:
Be sure to wait until all danger of frost has passed. It also helps to have nighttime temperatures in the 50's on a regular basis. Here in Tennessee it is generally safe to plant tomatoes outdoors after April 15th. That's not a guarantee but as a general tomato planting guideline it works out well.
How to Plant Tomatoes:
First you have to understand that tomatoes love to grow roots. Virtually anywhere that the stem touches the ground could sprout a root. You can even remove the suckers and make whole new plants just from what you might be tempted to dispose of in the gaping maul of your compost bin (they root easily in water). If you assume that tomatoes like to grow roots then what I'm about to say won't sound like rocket science. Plant your tomatoes deep! The deeper the stem of your tomato is the more roots it can grow along that stem. Cut off all leaves except for the ones at the top of your plant. Then bury the tomato plant so that the leaves are just above the ground. In the first picture you can see one of our tomato plants. I removed the first set of leaves then planted like I described. This is how I've planted my tomatoes in pots for several years now and it really does work! I also recommend using a good layer of mulch around the tomato plant to help retain moisture in the soil. Tomatoes enjoy that water! The only difference this year is that these little plants are going into my raised bed vegetable garden.
Why does this help? More roots mean the tomato can absorb more water. More water means happier and healthier plants. Happier and healthier plants mean more tomatoes, and more tomatoes make a very happy gardener!
Labels: raised beds, vegetables