When I was at City People’s yesterday, I saw a sign in the nursery that said, “Spring is here. Tomatoes are not.” Most people will tell you that it is too early to plant your tomatoes if you live in the northwest. Just last year, I was sitting at the Master Gardener’s table at the farmers’ market giving people this very advice. And in a way, I guess I agree. Just putting your tomatoes out to survive the elements will not work. But with the right tools, you can get on your way right now.
I splurged one year on quality cloche plastic from a garden catalog – the thick kind that lets UV rays in. I’ve used it three seasons so far. When putting my tomatoes out this early, I put them under a cloche with that special plastic, doubled over (it’s quite big in order to allow for an expandable cloche as the tomatoes grow.) I put the cloche pipes in so that the frame is lower to the ground, thus keeping the heat closer to my tender new tomatoes. But, I digress. I’ve explained this all before. What I want to focus on today is how I put the tomatoes into the ground.
I once saw a bar graph that charted the average root depth of different plants and the tomato was one of the longest. They need space for their expansive root system and when you’re planting as intensively as I am, typically 20 tomato plants plus 10 other nightshade plants in one 3′ by 10′ bed, you need to plant (pun intended) accordingly. In this video, I’ll show you how I plant each tomato plant using the trench method in order to give the tomatoes the support they need.