Each Bonnie tomato label urges you to plant tomatoes deep, so that a full 2/3 of the plant is underground. That means that if you buy a 10-inch tall plant, all but the top 3 to 4 inches is buried. Why? Because the plant will have a better, stronger root system. Better roots mean better tomatoes.
We know, we know. This goes against everything you’ve ever heard about “don’t plant too deep or you’ll kill the plant.” Tomatoes break that rule because they actually have the ability to sprout additional roots along the buried stem. These extra roots strengthen the plant so that it can support more fruit and is better able to survive hot weather. (This applies whether you’re growing in the ground, in a raised bed, or in a container.)
Here’s how to plant your tomato deep in the ground:
- Start with great soil. If you’re growing in the ground, improve the texture and nutrition of your native soil with compost or Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for Vegetables and Herbs. When growing tomatoes in containers, fill pots with a premium quality potting mix like Miracle-Gro® Potting Mix, which is lighter and fluffier than in-ground soil. Raised beds need soil that’s heavier than potting mix but lighter than in-ground soil; Miracle-Gro® Raised Bed Soil is a good choice.
- Dig a hole that is about 2/3 the height of the plant, including the root ball.
- If desired, pinch or snip off the branches on the portion to be buried. This can make burying the plant easier, but it isn’t necessary.
- Remove the plant from its container (or, if it’s in a biodegradable pot, simply remove the label and very bottom of the pot) and place it in the hole.
- If you prefer, you can instead lay the plant on its side in trench, provided that it is at least 5 or 6 inches deep when buried and that the ground beneath it isn’t hard as a brick. To do this, angle the plant so that the growing tip is above ground.
- Fill in the hole or trench with some of the soil you removed. Only the top few inches of the plant will be exposed.
- Label the plant to help you remember which variety you’re growing.
- Water well. Throughout the growing season, continue to water thoroughly whenever the top inch of soil is dry.
- Make sure your tomatoes get just the right kind and amount of nutrition by feeding with a top quality plant food like Miracle-Gro® Shake ‘n Feed® Tomato, Fruit & Vegetable Plant Food, which contains calcium to help ward off blossom end rot.
Now comes the fun part. Within a couple of months or so, your plants with super roots will delight you with a bountiful harvest of lovely fruit!