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Planting tomatoes: Vertical vs. Horizontal  RSS feed

Posts: 1504
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
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I used to always plant my tomatoes vertically. Dig a really deep hole, hold the plant upright and fill in the hole leaving the top few inches exposed.

For years now, I've been planting them in a shallow trench. Dig the trench 4 or 5 inches deep, lay your plant horizontal and curl the top upwards leaving the top few inches exposed.

The reason for the horizontal planting was:
*Easier to dig shallow trench than a deep hole
*Plant has access to rainwater if it only wet the first couple inches
*The soil at that level should be warmer
*Both methods would produce roots all along buried stalk

What may make vertical planting the better choice? I've wondered:
*Could the deeper roots have access to ground water that trenched plants couldn't reach?
*Are there more available nutrients at a deeper level?
*Is shallow trenching putting the plant at risk of drying out? Roots getting too hot?

I grow mine in rows (not permie, I know), tied to strands of string supported by t-posts and mulched with whatever I can find (leaves, grass, alfalfa, straw...)

What do you do, and why?
Posts: 3465
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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My biggest problem with laying plants in the ground horizontally is that I forget that I've done that, and then when I'm weeding I chop the roots off. I tried replanting the carrot root crop horizontally one year. Oops. I pulled more than a few carrots out of the ground with my hoe.

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