Deep and angled makes a terrific tomato

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Mom was a great teacher.

She showed me how-to using lots of descriptive words and examples, and then let me have at it. That gave my brain several ways to remember what she'd said, while also giving my muscles independent means to recall the process. So, ask me how and I might say, "ummmm" but give me a trowel and a tomato plant, and my hands would get it right.

It doesn't need so much stem right now. Let's let it make more roots...

I saw muscle memory at work in Mom herself when, lost in Alzheimer's in her last years, she could not talk to me about sewing any more. Yet sit her down at a sewing machine and she could sew a line straight and true.

She's with me now, every time I set out tomato plants.

- Janet -


If a tomato has more than a couple of sets of leaves I dig the hole deeper and wider than the root ball requires, pluck off the bottom leaf or two, and set the plant deep and on an angle. Angled enough that the original roots remain near enough to the surface to grow well, deep enough to bury the plucked node/s (arrows). A node in the damp dark becomes an additional point where roots develop, increasing the plant's stability and its uptake of water and nutrients.


The top of the plant looks crooked for only a very short while -- sometimes straightening in hours because it's growing so fast. It's especially appropriate to apply a mentor's advice to this tomato, heirloom 'Paul Robeson'.