Here is a great example of healthy roots on a tomato plant that I pulled up at the end of the year. Some of these roots were over 4 feet long with the main root going down 2 feet. The tomato was very strong and produced a huge crop of Sungold tomatoes all year long.
I will go into detail on how I grew a tomato with such a strong root structure so that you can grow the same strong tomato plants.
First Steps for Healthy Tomato Roots
To make sure your tomato plants grow well and produce lots of tomatoes you need to select a site that receives 8-10 hours of direct sunlight and preferably some shade from the latest sun and heat of the day.
The soil is critical to growing healthy plants, and tomatoes are no exception. Tomato plants need a soil pH of 6.2-6.8. Be careful not to apply too much nitrogen which will grow a huge plant without much fruit being produced. Worm castings are a great additive to your soil to lighten the soil up for good roots growth.
When you plant your tomato seedlings and even larger plants you can make a huge difference in the root structure that will eventually support larger plants and many more tomatoes on the plants using this method.
Strip off the lower leaves and stems off the main stem before planting, don’t be afraid to take off the lower two thirds of the plants leaves to plant underground.
Along the main stem, you will see hair-like growth and when this part of the plant is underground it will grow roots which will strengthen your plant.
There are two ways to plant your tomato, the first is to dip a deep enough hole to allow all of the main stem to be buried. The second is to dig a trench and lay the plant in the trench on it side covering the main stem and only leaving exposed above ground that has leaves.
Do not worry that your plants look small with just a little of the plant above ground, in just a few weeks you will have a plant that is growing very quickly because of the great root structure you have established.
Tomatoes are heavy feeders that need to be fed every 10-14 days to produce a large crop of tomatoes. There are several premixed fertilizers that you can use to plant the seedlings and to feed throughout the summer.
Here are my recommendations:
Neptune’s Crab and Lobster- 1 handful in each hole mixed with the soil before setting plant in the hole.
Tomato Tone- See instructions on the box, mix in the hole with soil before setting the plant in.
COF– See my recipe and directions
Neptune’s Tomato and Veggie liquid fertilizer
Alaska Fish Emulsion
Spray with Aspirin spray every 14 days
It is critical to provide consistent watering to your tomato plants watering every 3-4 days deeply to prevent diseases such as blossom end rot and to support your plant to produce a huge crop of tomatoes.
It is just as important to provide the water to the roots through a drip system or soaker hose and not to water them overhead getting the leaves wet.
By watering your tomatoes deeply and only to the roots the plant will grow deep roots that will support a plant that will produce a huge crop of tomatoes.
If your plant is in the late afternoon direct sunlight you may notice some wilting do not think that you need to water it every afternoon, this can cause issues like blossom end rot depleting the plant of absorbing calcium.
The last piece of information to help you plant by watering properly is to water them in the early morning hours when the plant is less stressed by the heat of the day.
If you are experiencing a period of extreme heat you can increase your watering schedule to every 2-3 days and it also can help by adding shade cloth to protect them from the late afternoon heat.
If you have followed all of the steps you too can have healthy tomato roots like the ones I showed you in the picture.