Tomatoes

DaniL

Carnivore
I've read that when you transplant your tomatoes outside, you should dig the hole so a certain length of the stem above the roots is buried. Does anyone here do this and if so how much stem do you bury?
I usually pot up 1-2x before planting outside, and bury the stem a bit each time. Sometimes just 1/2", sometimes a few inches. It helps if my plants might have gotten a little leggy from lack of light, and this can make the stem stronger. Sometimes I do it because I'm growing in pots and burying the stem can help prevent them from growing 7ft tall, lol.

They can grow roots anywhere along those little fine hairs you see on the stem. If a branch breaks off, stick it into soil or a cup of water and BAM! you have a new tomato plant :)
 

Carson Hardy

Carnivorous Plant Addict
My only thoughts on that, is the surface soil will be warmer than that of soil 20cm down, so there is potentially a seasonal limit to transplanting tomatoes that deep.

If you're transplanting early, maybe the trench idea is better. Make a trench, bury the plant sideways, and then it will be in that sun warmed soil
 

DaniL

Carnivore
2024 tomatoes seeded this weekend and starting to pop up already. This year I'm trying to keep it to a manageable 15 varieties and 85ish plants vs my usual 120+ :rolleyes: (even 85 is ridiculous, considering I only have space to grow 12, but I'll still sneak in a few tiny microdwarf toms somewhere. I donate most of my seedlings to family, friends, neighbours, and our garden's plant sale). I have no room left for seedlings in my apartment, so the tomatoes are now living under my standing desk. I can talk to them while I work :D

Spring 2024 tomato seeding.jpg


Seedlings on desk under standing desk.jpg
 

Lloyd Gordon

Cactus micrografter newbie.
Staff member
My seed bank tomatoes are doing well, with large flowers under lights, about a foot tall now. I always try to get them out before June 1'st but there's always a coldish snap; down to 7°C on the night of May 29, a bit chilly for my tender inside ones. May 30 is projected T Day.
 

DaniL

Carnivore
My seed bank tomatoes are doing well, with large flowers under lights, about a foot tall now. I always try to get them out before June 1'st but there's always a coldish snap; down to 7°C on the night of May 29, a bit chilly for my tender inside ones. May 30 is projected T Day.
I'm also waiting. I like to wait until we have 10C nights for at least a couple of nights in a row, which according to our forecast won't be until June 1. Since I don't have enough room for them inside with lights, I move all 85+ of them outside to my balcony during the day and back in at night. They're probably hardy enough to survive outside at this point, but I don't like to play fast and loose with something I've been babying for the last 2 months!
 

Trapper J

Carnivore
I have about 50 tomato plants (various types) germinated under light. They were transplanted into pots with a bit of Myke for root growth. When the days were warm enough all of them were moved to our back deck where they received about 6-7 hours of direct sun daily. The light winds helped strengthen the plants. The plants were brought in at night until overnight temps were warmer. Later they were left outside unless stormy. Today, I planted 26 of them in the veggie garden. Friends are taking some plants and the remainder will go to a charity plant sale. I increased the planting depth at the first repotting, and again when moved into the garden. Generally, the depth is just short of the primary leaves, sometimes at an angle. Each plant gets a toilet paper roll collar (about 2.5" high) to discourage cut worms. I also sprinkle crushed eggshells and diomataceous earth as a "crawly pest" deterrent around each stem until they are well established. Sometimes coffee grounds are added as a soil conditioner. I have no scientific backing for this but find it (along with good compost) generally gives the tomatoes a decent start. Note: A Minnesota agriculture study found that eggshells do not prevent blossom end rot.

What are some other favourite tomato growing methods do other four members use?
 
Last edited:

Lloyd Gordon

Cactus micrografter newbie.
Staff member
I use earthbox containers. I add 1 cup each of Horticultural lime, a slow release fertilizer and epsom salts. This year I'm trying a silica additive because it supposedly helps prevent blossom end rot which is almost as bad as squirrels.
 

Trapper J

Carnivore
In what form is the silica additive? Is it a branded product?
I built 5 cedar raised beds roughly 4' x 18' x 18" many years ago. 2 will be replaced in the fall. In addition to cured household compost, I’ll bury fresh fruit and veggie discards in unplanted spots. Since starting this practice, the earthworm population has grown exponentially (nice castings).
 

Lloyd Gordon

Cactus micrografter newbie.
Staff member

No idea if this does anything.
 

DaniL

Carnivore
What are some other favourite tomato growing methods do other four members use?
On my balcony, I grow in 5 gallon fabric bags (any bigger and I can't move them easily). Sometimes I compost in place starting a couple of months before planting time, layering kitchen scraps and old soil. Come planting time, I have mostly composted soil, to which I might topdress with a handful or two of vermicompost and some Gaia Green all-purpose fertilizer. During the growing season, I try to fertilize every couple of weeks or so with fish fertilizer.

My community garden plot is not as controlled. I've amended my soil with rabbit manure and the straw from the bedding. At planting time, into the hole I add a scoop of vermicompost and a sprinkle of Gaia Green. Sometimes I add whatever random tomato fertilizer I have on hand.

This year I'm experimenting with using vermicompost tea as a foliar spray, as I've read lots of recent studies on the amazing benefits of it (for growth, fruit production, sweetness, and disease reduction). As for blossom end rot, my understanding is that it has more to do with inconsistent watering which leads to difficulties uptaking nutrients, vs a nutrient deficiency on its own.
 

Lloyd Gordon

Cactus micrografter newbie.
Staff member
Blossom end rot for me tends to be independent of watering. Perhaps the earthbox doesn't have enough root room. It is worse with the first fruiting. I've tried everything. Oh well. I usually get a reasonable good harvest.
 

Trapper J

Carnivore
@ DaniL- "I've amended my soil with rabbit manure and the straw from the bedding."

Does rabbit manure work well for you? I've never seen it for sale.
 

DaniL

Carnivore
Does rabbit manure work well for you? I've never seen it for sale.
It's been great! There's lots of recent research to support it as an excellent fertilizer (https://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=rabbit+manure+as+fertilizer+research+paper&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart). Worms absolutely love it, you can see how active they are when you spread a decent layer on the ground or in a vermicompost bin. You don't need to compost/age it, it can go straight onto your garden. People call it "bunny honey" because it's so great.

You probably won't find it in any stores because it's usually mixed with pine pellets (to absorb urine) and straw (for bedding), whereas people expect a bag of regular manure or compost, but this combo makes it perfectly balanced for worm bins and gardens. The straw makes excellent mulch for the garden and bedding/browns for worm bins. The dissolved pellets add fluffiness.

I found a lady near me who keeps bunnies. I trade bags of produce and herbs from my garden for her bags of poop ;) If you want to try it, you could see if there's a local rabbit rescue near you - they've probably got an endless supply. Or your local Facebook group, and offer to swap like I did. People who keep bunnies are usually looking for food sources, and ways to unload their manure!
 
Top