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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
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Tomato laying down planting questions

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Wyldflower
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Post  sarah16 5/13/2010, 12:43 pm

Okay - first SFG and I thought I'd start out doing everything as much by the book as possible this first go round.

Got some tomato plants and ready to transplant them. I'd like to plant them laying down, and obviously 1 plant per SQ.

Now that I'm getting ready to plant and am actually looking at the bottom stem, it's actually 2 or 3 different stalks. Are they coming from 1 root? Do I need to pull of 1 or 2 of them other stems before I lay it down and plant? I'm kinda confused.

My husband picked out these plants because they were big and healthy looking, but if I plant them as is they'll be so freakin' huge, right? Just looking for a little experienced advice. Thanks in advance!
sarah16
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Post  chocolatepop 5/13/2010, 12:51 pm

I usually pick off the first two or so lower branches, dig my trench and lay the plant, buried up to the remaining lower branch. All those little hair will turn to roots! cool huh?
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Post  Wyldflower 5/13/2010, 1:54 pm

HI Sarah

I wonder if you bought pots that have more than one plant in each. Can you post a picture of what you have? If the multiple stems are all coming from ground level, you probably have more than one plant - each with its own root system.

I know it may be heartbreaking to do this, but you may want to cut off the weaker ones and leave just one strong stem in each pot. You can try rooting what you cut off, though - it's likely to result in more plants. The reason not to try to pull them apart is that you are likely to tear the roots, since they are all entangled together.

Good luck!
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Post  dmpower 5/13/2010, 8:10 pm

I agree, if you have more than 1 plant, you may damage what was a healthy root system if you try to pull them apart. I plant my tomatoes lying down and the root systems are great. I also place a banana peel with a little dirt over it, just under my new planting and have had great results
good luck
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Post  sarah16 5/13/2010, 8:21 pm

Yeah, there were definetely more than one root system in my pots. If they were far apart enough I gently pulled them apart, if they were close, I snipped off one and planted the whole thing. Hopefully, I didn't damage the roots badly...time will tell I guess.

Thanks for all the advice!
Sarah
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Post  carolintexas 5/13/2010, 10:16 pm

I planted tomato plants purchased from Home Depot. While planting them my dog broke the top out of one of the plants. I just left it laying in my sq ft box close to the plant waiting for my compost bin to be fixed. Days went by and when I finally picked it up to toss it in the bin it had grown tiny roots....so I planted it in it's own square. I'm new so I thought this was pretty neat!
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Post  silverbug 5/14/2010, 7:28 am

Plants, even tomato plants are pretty hardy. You would have to do some really rough, crazy stuff to actually destroy/damage the root system by gently pulling apart. You should be MORE than fine with what you've done. As long as the main tap root of any plant is hanging in there, you're good to go. You can rip off, or shake off a huge chunk of a plant's roots and it'll thrive in good soil; so long as the main root is in tact.
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Post  sarah16 5/14/2010, 11:14 am

Thanks silverbug for letting me know that. I was worried about it ALL night long. That makes me feel so much better!
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Post  Bob K 5/14/2010, 8:42 pm

When I buy plants that have multiple stems originating at dirt level, I just split the root ball up and plant the stem horizontally. Therefore, I look for the plants that have the most stems. If I buy one plant with three stems, I instantly get three tomato plants by separating and burying them horizontally.

Tomato stems will sprout roots and grow, when planted horizontally, even if they don't originally have an attached root ball.
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