Planting leggy transplants


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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.
Tomatoes have tap roots.
 
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Tomatoes have tap roots.
Yes, and sometimes BIG one's. In my soil I have solid impenetrable rock about 2 feet below ground level. Large long taproots are from late season plants in areas where there is a long growing season. When I pull my plants they have been in the ground no more than 100-120 days and their roots are about 2 feet long if I can get them out of the ground. They aren't like what I call a tap root which pecan trees have.
 
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Now I understand. I thought you had a heated greenhouse. A conservatory over here is usually an expensive structure with everything imaginable
:) We could have heat in there but expensive. It gets too hot in the conservatory in the summer, just right then for my cucumbers and chillies.
This is the conservatory
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The small greenhouse
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I know that I shouldn't have plants on top but it's the only place that I can put them.
 
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Hello. I have a small greenhouse, and grow my own tomatoes from seed. Mine will get leggy if I don't plant them soon enough. And usually 'leggy' is not a good sign for me. I have hard clay soil as well, but I have a small, raised bed. Here's how I recommend planting tomatoes in heavy clay soil: Dig a nice, deep hole, mix some potting soil and a little Scotts Humus and Manure in the hole. Bury the tomato plant at least up to the top four or five inches of the plant.
 
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Yes, and sometimes BIG one's. In my soil I have solid impenetrable rock about 2 feet below ground level. Large long taproots are from late season plants in areas where there is a long growing season. When I pull my plants they have been in the ground no more than 100-120 days and their roots are about 2 feet long if I can get them out of the ground. They aren't like what I call a tap root which pecan trees have.
So how good are surface roots when you bury them 6" down?
 
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So how good are surface roots when you bury them 6" down?
Many time the surface roots are exactly that, on the surface, sort of like a root flare on a tree. The actual rootball starts about 3 inches deep. The surface roots are interconnected with the root ball. One thing I have noticed is that the horizontal roots seem to be a bit shallower than on a plant that wasn't planted deep.
 
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I have the earliest tomatoes, and hence, the longest season, on our allotments, which have over 100 growers, planting my tomatoes at the same depth as when potted on.
Men who have grown tomatoes for decades longer than I have, have never had tomatoes in June. I was picking tomatoes last year in the 2nd week of June.
That gives an idea of how much of the season is wasted by planting deep.
Chuck, if you have enough plants, & don't trust my judgement, plant 3 or 4 shallow, plant 3 or 4 trenched, & do what you will with the rest. If you have 90 plants, you can afford to, yes?
 
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I have the earliest tomatoes, and hence, the longest season, on our allotments, which have over 100 growers, planting my tomatoes at the same depth as when potted on.
Men who have grown tomatoes for decades longer than I have, have never had tomatoes in June. I was picking tomatoes last year in the 2nd week of June.
That gives an idea of how much of the season is wasted by planting deep.
Chuck, if you have enough plants, & don't trust my judgement, plant 3 or 4 shallow, plant 3 or 4 trenched, & do what you will with the rest. If you have 90 plants, you can afford to, yes?
Planting shallow, early, takes advantage of solar heat?
 
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It maximises the number of days when the temperature is right for setting fruit.
In my case, it maximises the number of nights when the night temp is warm enough; in Chuck's case it'll maximise the number of days when the temp is cool enough.
 
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I have the earliest tomatoes, and hence, the longest season, on our allotments, which have over 100 growers, planting my tomatoes at the same depth as when potted on.
Men who have grown tomatoes for decades longer than I have, have never had tomatoes in June. I was picking tomatoes last year in the 2nd week of June.
That gives an idea of how much of the season is wasted by planting deep.
Chuck, if you have enough plants, & don't trust my judgement, plant 3 or 4 shallow, plant 3 or 4 trenched, & do what you will with the rest. If you have 90 plants, you can afford to, yes?
Everything is already planted. I did trench or lay down 4 plants on the end of rows. I have 5 plants that were seeded later than the others and they were planted shallow, as normal. Only the real leggy plants were planted very deep. I planted them as to their size, many about 6 inches deep and others up to a foot deep. I had 4 Jet Star tomatoes that were VERY leggy. They are now, by far, the largest plants in the tomato patch, even larger than the Cherokee Purples. They haven't set fruit yet but the Cherokees have. This is not a very good year so far for experimenting for this question of deep vs shallow because of all the rain we are having.
I don't think planting deep is wasting the season. I think the reason you are getting longer crops is because of all the organic techniques that you use. But then your climate is so much different than mine it is impossible to tell.
 
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It maximises the number of days when the temperature is right for setting fruit.
In my case, it maximises the number of nights when the night temp is warm enough; in Chuck's case it'll maximise the number of days when the temp is cool enough.
I don't really know what we are arguing about. The roots, either shallow or deep are not affected by nighttime low temperatures. What is affected is the blooms
 
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I don't really know what we are arguing about. The roots, either shallow or deep are not affected by nighttime low temperatures. What is affected is the blooms
If the plants have to replace defunct roots, then obviously that'll affect the plant as a whole, for two reasons:
1) the energy taken to replace the roots.
2) the lack of function of surface roots whilst there are none.
 
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If the plants have to replace defunct roots, then obviously that'll affect the plant as a whole, for two reasons:
1) the energy taken to replace the roots.
2) the lack of function of surface roots whilst there are none.
That is what I am trying to say, they are not replacing defunct roots. It is basically adding to them in a different place. There are no top roots early on. If you have a plant 16 inches tall with a very small diameter stem what are you to do to save the plant. It would be difficult to stake it up like a sapling tree and maintain this. How does anyone know if the bottom roots keep growing albeit slowly or stop at a certain point and become defunct? If it weren't for the bottom roots growing there wouldn't be any top roots at all.
 
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That is what I am trying to say, they are not replacing defunct roots. It is basically adding to them in a different place. There are no top roots early on. If you have a plant 16 inches tall with a very small diameter stem what are you to do to save the plant. It would be difficult to stake it up like a sapling tree and maintain this. How does anyone know if the bottom roots keep growing albeit slowly or stop at a certain point and become defunct? If it weren't for the bottom roots growing there wouldn't be any top roots at all.
Are you saying that tomatoes can use these roots 2-3 inches down, and 6-9 inches down, but can't use them inbetween?
If you are, please explain why, and if not, why the stem doesn't grow them all the way down, since any part of a tomato's stem is capable of growing roots.
If the original roots are still functioning, why waste the effort growing another set?
 
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What causes top roots anyway. Its gotta be temperature
Are you saying that tomatoes can use these roots 2-3 inches down, and 6-9 inches down, but can't use them inbetween?
If you are, please explain why, and if not, why the stem doesn't grow them all the way down, since any part of a tomato's stem is capable of growing roots.
If the original roots are still functioning, why waste the effort growing another set?
Why don't tomatoes grow roots all the way down the stem? I don't know but I do know that some heirlooms have aerial roots so I must presume that it has something to do with either sunshine or temperature or both. Why waste the effort? I think it is a survival tool. Tomatoes were originally vines, not these hybridized versions we have today. Where ever a vine was touching the ground it would take root and grow until the next time. Just like air layering a fig tree.
 
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What causes top roots anyway. Its gotta be temperature

Why don't tomatoes grow roots all the way down the stem? I don't know but I do know that some heirlooms have aerial roots so I must presume that it has something to do with either sunshine or temperature or both. Why waste the effort? I think it is a survival tool. Tomatoes were originally vines, not these hybridized versions we have today. Where ever a vine was touching the ground it would take root and grow until the next time. Just like air layering a fig tree.
I agree. I agree entirely. I agree so much because, to some extent, you're making my point.
Modern hybrids are still either bushes or vines, & still act in the same way.
So we are agreed that tomatoes can make roots anywhere along the stem if it is advantageous, but won't bother if it's not? You wrote, "Why waste the effort?"
In my view, this shows that the buried roots are defunct, as the tomato:
1) Cannot know that being buried deeper is a possibility.
2) Will make roots only in the top couple of inches, no matter how deep it is planted.
So if you bury a tomato, say 9 inches deeper than originally, then there will be a 7 inch gap between the new and the original surface roots, which will be 9-11 inches underground.
If, however, you were to bury your tomatoes 18 inches deeper than originally, (unlikely, but possible) it would still only grow roots in the top couple of inches, and leave a 16 inch gap to the original roots. IT WOULD NOT GROW A THIRD SET 9-11 INCHES UNDERGROUND, even though it could.
It logically follows that surface roots at 9-11 inches underground are useless, or it would. You wrote, "Why waste the effort."
Thus, by burying tomatoes deeper, it is you who is wasting the effort, by making the original roots useless and forcing the plant to grow a new set.
It also has a tap root in order to suck up water and nutrients from depth.
 

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