Planting leggy transplants


Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
6,988
Reaction score
3,451
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
Well, its happened again. I lost quite a few of my transplanted tomato due to high winds and probably freezing weather tomorrow. But, I still have a bunch of extra plants, plants I grew just for this purpose. They are really leggy though, the stems of many about 18" long or longer. So how do you plant them? There are two ways. One is to dig a deep hole and the other is to lay them on their side. I prefer to dig a deep hole, a hole deep enough to just leave the top 4 inches or so of the plant unburied. The advantage to burying deep is that moisture lasts longer in the deeper soil. I know of no advantages in planting sideways. Tomatoes sometimes grow roots on the buried stem and either method works for this. Leggy peppers can also be planted deep but won't grow roots on the stem.
 
Joined
Dec 11, 2014
Messages
2,088
Reaction score
788
Location
Brantford,ON
Hardiness Zone
Zone 5
Country
Canada
I dislike leggy tomato plants. Usually I try to discard them if I have sufficient time. Light and low growing temperature are usually the reason. It can come fast some years. Seldom do the plants fully recover IMO.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
6,988
Reaction score
3,451
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
I dislike leggy tomato plants. Usually I try to discard them if I have sufficient time. Light and low growing temperature are usually the reason. It can come fast some years. Seldom do the plants fully recover IMO.
I don't like them either but it's either planting something you don't like or not planting at all. They will still produce but it's impossible to say if they would have produced more if not leggy, but it is doubtful if they would.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
6,988
Reaction score
3,451
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
Why were they leggy? Lay dem on their side mate.
They were leggy because I had very little sunshine since I planted the seeds at the beginning of Jan. I planted earlier this month and the leggy plants were extras that I grew in case of a late freeze or some other malady, which unfortunately happened. I prefer to plant deep instead of on their side because if the roots are deeper they won't dry out near as fast and watering is less.
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2019
Messages
28
Reaction score
6
Country
United States
They were leggy because I had very little sunshine since I planted the seeds at the beginning of Jan. I planted earlier this month and the leggy plants were extras that I grew in case of a late freeze or some other malady, which unfortunately happened. I prefer to plant deep instead of on their side because if the roots are deeper they won't dry out near as fast and watering is less.
Why not buy a grow light for dem?
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
6,988
Reaction score
3,451
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
Why not buy a grow light for dem?
I don't have a greenhouse and no room to set up enough lighting for 150+ tomato plants and about 1/2 that many pepper plants. I just bring them inside and stack them in front of windows in cold weather. Luckily, in south Texas it doesn't freeze that often.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2017
Messages
3,384
Reaction score
3,210
Location
Birmingham Alabama
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
I have a reason one might consider laying them sideways. Water levels in that garden. We can get awful wet. So much so the raised hill row is all that is sticking up out of the wet. Were I to plant vertically, well it would take a month or so but it would be a problem as that main root readjusted to what we can get for water. I think this might be a dry year though. Not much solar flare so not so much high heat meeting cold fronts to squeeze moisture from the air.
 

Logan

Logan
Joined
Mar 21, 2017
Messages
6,742
Reaction score
4,801
Location
west Midlands
Hardiness Zone
1a
Country
United Kingdom
I don't grow mine until the end of March, they still catch up and I plant them deeper in the next size pot. They will grow roots from the stem and make them stronger plants.
 
Joined
Mar 26, 2013
Messages
2,648
Reaction score
1,095
Location
Cheshire
Country
United Kingdom
I'd say lay them on their side. Deepening roots meant more for breathing than drinking, just means they'll be replaced; not only does it take time for the new roots to grow, but you lose the function of the old roots, whilst keeping them near the surface means that they will continue to function along with the new roots formed.
 
Joined
Mar 26, 2013
Messages
2,648
Reaction score
1,095
Location
Cheshire
Country
United Kingdom
I don't grow mine until the end of March, they still catch up and I plant them deeper in the next size pot. They will grow roots from the stem and make them stronger plants.
You are wasting the season, which is short enough anyway.
The old near-the-surface roots cannot function, & it takes time to grow new ones.
Best to plant at same depth, then cover any new roots that show above the surface.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
6,988
Reaction score
3,451
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
I'd say lay them on their side. Deepening roots meant more for breathing than drinking, just means they'll be replaced; not only does it take time for the new roots to grow, but you lose the function of the old roots, whilst keeping them near the surface means that they will continue to function along with the new roots formed.
In heavy clay soils I think you are correct but in friable soils I think deeper is better expecially when it is extremely hot and dry. On most of the tomatoes I planted this year they were planted 8-12 inches deep and are already setting fruit . I am beginning to get a little worried because we are having a lot of rain and the plants roots are below ground level in my raised beds. So far no signs of fungus or root rot.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2017
Messages
3,384
Reaction score
3,210
Location
Birmingham Alabama
Hardiness Zone
8a
Country
United States
In heavy clay soils I think you are correct but in friable soils I think deeper is better expecially when it is extremely hot and dry. On most of the tomatoes I planted this year they were planted 8-12 inches deep and are already setting fruit . I am beginning to get a little worried because we are having a lot of rain and the plants roots are below ground level in my raised beds. So far no signs of fungus or root rot.
I could see that and also why with even decent drainage it would be the right choice. My little hill rows are well amended and drain well but they are also probably not taller than 12" above the clay pan floor. The roots can spread about but do not have to go far to get what they need. It is maybe the major reason roofed trellises and the shade they provide to roots of my indeterminite vines have shown such good results.
 

Logan

Logan
Joined
Mar 21, 2017
Messages
6,742
Reaction score
4,801
Location
west Midlands
Hardiness Zone
1a
Country
United Kingdom
You are wasting the season, which is short enough anyway.
The old near-the-surface roots cannot function, & it takes time to grow new ones.
Best to plant at same depth, then cover any new roots that show above the surface.
I can't plant them out until the end of may because of frost and they'll get too big in the conservatory, they have flowers on already. :)
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
6,988
Reaction score
3,451
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
I can't plant them out until the end of may because of frost and they'll get too big in the conservatory, they have flowers on already. :)
If I had a green house I would just repot into a larger container until the weather was right. Tomatoes that have blooms and even fruit will be fine in the ground if they were repoted and the roots not constricted. I don't know about in the UK but here tomatoes don't get leggy in a green house, they only get bigger. Maybe I'm missing something as to why you say that they get too big.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
6,988
Reaction score
3,451
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
Soils that drain well may benefit from an old idea, basin planting. I was reading that it is more common in the southwest.
They still do that some out in the desert where it rarely rains especially with trees. Commercial growers use a form of basin planting by plowing up the existing grade and furrowing rows close together. Then they flood the entire acreage when they irrigate. Sort of a semi-raised bed.
 

Logan

Logan
Joined
Mar 21, 2017
Messages
6,742
Reaction score
4,801
Location
west Midlands
Hardiness Zone
1a
Country
United Kingdom
If I had a green house I would just repot into a larger container until the weather was right. Tomatoes that have blooms and even fruit will be fine in the ground if they were repoted and the roots not constricted. I don't know about in the UK but here tomatoes don't get leggy in a green house, they only get bigger. Maybe I'm missing something as to why you say that they get too big.
I don't have a large greenhouse and my conservatory doesn't have a glass roof so early in the season tomatoes get leggy if I start them off too early. I have re-potted 5 of them and kept them inside. I have a small lean to greenhouse in the back garden I've put 6 in there but haven't potted on, they'll have to wait until the end of may, they'll still be alright I've always done it. :)
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
6,988
Reaction score
3,451
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
I don't have a large greenhouse and my conservatory doesn't have a glass roof so early in the season tomatoes get leggy if I start them off too early. I have re-potted 5 of them and kept them inside. I have a small lean to greenhouse in the back garden I've put 6 in there but haven't potted on, they'll have to wait until the end of may, they'll still be alright I've always done it. :)
Now I understand. I thought you had a heated greenhouse. A conservatory over here is usually an expensive structure with everything imaginable
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top