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Tomato depth experiment in Maine on 5/15

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philct
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Post  quiltbea 5/15/2012, 2:41 pm

Depth of planting was always an issue for me. I really never liked pinching off all those branches and planting my seedling up to its topmost branches. Seemed like it might set them back. Well, this year I'm doing it both ways, deep as usual, and only about an inch deeper than their container.

Tomato depth experiment in Maine on 5/15 05-15-11

Above: Two Supermondes, one inch deeper on left, and several inches deeper on the right. I string mine so I think they should have good support even if not planted deep and I want to find out if I'll get toms earlier and a bigger harvest this way.

Tomato depth experiment in Maine on 5/15 05-15-12

Above: These are 2 Velvet Red toms from our Seed Exchange (thank you Martha) which were different sizes, one sown earlier than the other, but both in the same experiment. The right one could only be planted a few more inches deeper due to its size. So we shall see what happens. Same variety with the same expectations. Note the lovely dusty miller-type leaves of the Velvet Red. I love the feel of those leaves.

I'll keep you posted with later pictures as we progress. I have covered them all with row cover for the first several days against sunburn and wind. The soil was amended with a big scoop of my homemade compost, 1/2 c of greensand, 1 heaping tablespoon of dried milk and a level one of Epsom salts, as a measure to defeat Blossom End Rot and for natural organic energy.

Wish me luck!
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Post  cheyannarach 5/15/2012, 3:19 pm

This sounds lilke a fun experiment, Good luck! I might try too!
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Post  quiltbea 5/15/2012, 4:02 pm

I put in another two pairs in the experiment; Pasquebot Romas and Green Zebras. I'm sure with 4 separate groups there's bound to be some info gathered. Now I can transplant my others tomorrow, including some of my potted determinates. We're going to have some nice weather coming so I'm hoping that means no frosts on the horizon. I will even transplant my peppers if we have a clearer day than today which didn't stop drizzling off and on til afternoon (hence only 10 tomatoes transplanted).

And I should add that the name is Super Marmonde on those earlier ones. I always shorten it for myself but the full name is Super Marmonde.
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Post  littlesapphire 5/15/2012, 4:10 pm

Oh, great experiment, QB! You know, I'm tempted to try this myself since I have two each of the three types of tomatoes I'll be planting: Sweet 100, Brandywine and Oregon Spring. I'm terribly afraid to pinch off all those leaves and plant the tomatoes deep, though... I've only ever planted my tomatoes at the depth of the pot they're in, as in no deeper at all. Maybe I'll try a little more restricted experiment of planting one tomato the way I've always done it, and one tomato just a couple of inches deeper.
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Post  quiltbea 5/15/2012, 5:52 pm

@littlesapphire......Did you know that you can transplant OUTDRS, Oregon Springs a month BEFORE your last expected freeze. Year before last I transplanted 3 on April 24th when Mem'l Day was our last frost date. They all survived. Their growth slowed down when it got cold but they were still among the first to give me tomatoes. The other was Matt's Wild Cherry I was growing inside my A-frame that year. The flavor wasn't the best but better than store-bought. They were listed as determinates, but after harvesting them in early summer I didn't remove the plants. In late Sept I had new blossoms and even little green tomatoes. If my season had been longer, I could have had 2 harvests.

Tomato depth experiment in Maine on 5/15 10-02-11

Above: 3 Oregon Spring determinate toms on 10/02/10, producing tomatoes again here in Zone 5a.


Last edited by quiltbea on 5/15/2012, 5:53 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling error)
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Post  philct 5/15/2012, 6:23 pm

[img:2240]https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/Tomato depth experiment in Maine on 5/15 014-2[/img][img:2240]https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/Tomato depth experiment in Maine on 5/15 012-2[/img]I buried mine pretty deep... I was going to try the laying them down on their side for a day first to get the root horizontal but went with a deep hole instead
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Post  quiltbea 5/15/2012, 7:20 pm

@philct.....If I were you, I'd break off those lower branches that are touching the ground. I understand that's how soilborne diseases get into our tomatoes, from branches touching the soil. You should remove all lower branches to about 6" above the soil which also helps improve air circulation, too.
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Post  philct 5/15/2012, 7:47 pm

quiltbea wrote:@philct.....If I were you, I'd break off those lower branches that are touching the ground. I understand that's how soilborne diseases get into our tomatoes, from branches touching the soil. You should remove all lower branches to about 6" above the soil which also helps improve air circulation, too.

Thanks!! I'll do that for sure
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Post  walshevak 5/15/2012, 9:39 pm

Here's a different twist. I broke off branches and did a lay down in the beds and deep planting in the buckets. On several of my plants a second plant came up from the stem/root area (I'm assuming from a sucker area under the soil). I really hated to cut them off when I know I'm going to need some rootings for later in the summer. But it was too early and I don't have room to save them.

Kay

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Post  GWN 5/15/2012, 10:14 pm

Did you know that you can transplant OUTDRS, Oregon Springs a month BEFORE your last expected freeze.
WOW I gotta get me some of them when I am in Oregon this summer.

I LOVE experiments too, a scientist in me.
Last year was my first year with raised beds and thinking that 12 inches was not enough for tomatoes (That was BEFORE I discovered SFG), I created a CUFF for them with the pot they were in, and essentially cut out the bottom of the pot and let the plant down into the hole and then filled the pot with soil such that the bottom 6 inches was now buried.
Tomato depth experiment in Maine on 5/15 Dsc_0243
This is not the greatest shot, since these are plants I just used another pot and am trying upside-down pots now.
If last year is any measure of success, I have to say I am sold, I had TONS of HUGE tomatoes, with stalks over an inch across.
I will be anxious to see your results this year quilt bea
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Post  Turan 5/15/2012, 11:55 pm

Ok, you got me curious now too. The way I figure it the deeper and more roots means less water and nutrient stress. Yet when I think about it, that also means putting hte roots in a cooler area early in the season and that should slow things. And to get tomatoes to ripen fruit I prune the roots..... :scratch:

I think that deep planting the smaller tomatoes starts helps protect the plants because the whole plant is close to the ground.

Two good articles I found on this. Seemed to show that it makes a bigger difference in the South and with younger smaller plants.

https://sharepoint.cahnrs.wsu.edu/blogs/urbanhort/archive/2012/02/07/our-visiting-professor-digs-into-tomato-planting-depth.aspx

http://www.southernagrarian.com/deep-planting-tomatoes/
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Post  cheyannarach 5/16/2012, 12:00 am

Turan wrote:Ok, you got me curious now too. The way I figure it the deeper and more roots means less water and nutrient stress. Yet when I think about it, that also means putting hte roots in a cooler area early in the season and that should slow things. And to get tomatoes to ripen fruit I prune the roots..... :scratch:

I think that deep planting the smaller tomatoes starts helps protect the plants because the whole plant is close to the ground.

Two good articles I found on this. Seemed to show that it makes a bigger difference in the South and with younger smaller plants.

https://sharepoint.cahnrs.wsu.edu/blogs/urbanhort/archive/2012/02/07/our-visiting-professor-digs-into-tomato-planting-depth.aspx

[url=http://www.southernagrarian.com/deep-planting-tomatoes/
http://www.southernagrarian.com/deep-planting-tomatoes/[/quote[/url]]

I see what you mean but the raised beds should help a bit with the temps and you could always do the sideways trench when planting them so the roots can work themselves downward as it warms up more. Do you think that would help and be just as effective?
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Post  cheyannarach 5/16/2012, 12:07 am

GWN wrote:
Did you know that you can transplant OUTDRS, Oregon Springs a month BEFORE your last expected freeze.
WOW I gotta get me some of them when I am in Oregon this summer.

I LOVE experiments too, a scientist in me.
Last year was my first year with raised beds and thinking that 12 inches was not enough for tomatoes (That was BEFORE I discovered SFG), I created a CUFF for them with the pot they were in, and essentially cut out the bottom of the pot and let the plant down into the hole and then filled the pot with soil such that the bottom 6 inches was now buried.
Tomato depth experiment in Maine on 5/15 Dsc_0243
This is not the greatest shot, since these are plants I just used another pot and am trying upside-down pots now.
If last year is any measure of success, I have to say I am sold, I had TONS of HUGE tomatoes, with stalks over an inch across.
I will be anxious to see your results this year quilt bea

This just seems brilliant GWN!
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Post  Turan 5/16/2012, 12:25 am

cheyannarach wrote:

http://www.southernagrarian.com/deep-planting-tomatoes/[/quote]

I see what you mean but the raised beds should help a bit with the temps and you could always do the sideways trench when planting them so the roots can work themselves downward as it warms up more. Do you think that would help and be just as effective?

Seems logical enough. I am guessing it makes more difference with small plants. But I have not done this test, at least not knowing it Razz
We all need to examine our tomato roots this fall
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Post  cheyannarach 5/16/2012, 12:49 am

We should, I vote you remind us to do this in the fall!
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Post  hruten 5/16/2012, 6:17 am

I used yogurt containers. You can cut a slit in the side and put then around the stem without disturbing the plant.
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Post  littlesapphire 5/16/2012, 8:32 am

I have heard that you can plant Oregon Spring very early. I actually started the seeds two weeks earlier than my other toms, but the weather has been so unpredictable lately that I decided to wait until my LFD to plant them outside just to be on the safe side.
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