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Published on Jul 14, 2011
Tomatoes: How do They Grow and Other Fun Facts - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats.
The most important thing to know about tomatoes when you plant them, is that you want to plant them as deep as possible. Basically, you want the stem under ground, because the stem actually can send out roots. And so the plant automatically has deeper root system as soon as you start putting them into the ground deeper. It also puts out the roots horizontally, so the root system is more shallow than deep. There is one tap root that goes pretty deep, but then the rest of it is more across the level of the ground. That is why they do so much better in the ground than in containers.
Tomatoes do best if you raise them off the ground, because pests and diseases more easily go from the soil to the plant. And if you stake them or cage them, then you have more control over their growth habitat. And I like to take just their suckers off the tomatoes, so that it can grow more fruit, larger fruit, better quality fruit. So I am going to show you how to stake and cage a tomatoe.
The top six or nine inches of soil gets all the roots. And the reason we stake and cage tomatoes is to help keep the leaves off the ground, where they could contact some soil organisms, and it keeps the plant healthier, allows us to get in and harvest more readily, and gives the plant air circulation and the ability to stretch out and get the suns rays. And the fruit starts at the bottom and the clusters come on successively as the plant grows up taller. And that is why it is important to cage them or at the very least stake them. Because a lot of times you have to put a stake in just to hold the cage anyway. So definitely get stakes for your tomatoes. That will keep them off the ground and growing up towards the sun.
It is really important to know what variety you have, how long it takes to go from seed to fruit. And on the package of seeds, usually it says whether 60 days, 90 days or 120 days. And that is because the smaller tomatoes take a lot less time to go from seed to fruiting. And you will want to choose those varieties to stretch out your season, so you have some coming in early, some coming in mid-season and some coming in late.