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What a trenched tomato root looks like...

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What a trenched tomato root looks like...

Post  Windmere on 11/13/2014, 5:09 pm

Hi everyone.  Today I finally got rid of my only remaining tomato plant (Sungold).  My wife implored me to keep it for as long as possible because she loves the sweet flavor of Sungolds.  We actually continued to get fruit right up until yesterday.  Well, tonight would have finished it, so I did the only humane thing (lol).  I told my wife I was sorry for her loss.

Trenching tomatoes was an odd concept to me when I first learned about it. To trench a tomato, you place it on its side for a day to get the tip to start to face upward (as it seeks sunlight).  After its tip is vertical, you plant the whole stem horizontally (just the tip sticks up out of the ground).  Ending up with such a short plant is painful at first (all that stem gone!!).  My neighbor was very perplexed.

Below are last season's tomatoes (photo taken in very early summer):





This is how the root system ends up developing (photo taken today, 11/13/2014):




My trenched tomato plants had amazing strength and the produced a ton of fruit.  For me, this method works well.  I had a nasty bought of fungus this year, but my trenched hybrids weathered the storm.
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Re: What a trenched tomato root looks like...

Post  yolos on 11/13/2014, 5:17 pm

Very interesting Windmere.  A lot more root system closer to the top of the soil.  But my concern is how deep do the roots go.  I would think we want deep roots here to be able to maintain more moisture. But I guess it is a good method especially if you do not have a deep bed.  I will have to carefully pull up a tomato next year to see how deep the roots are when planted in the vertical position.
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Re: What a trenched tomato root looks like...

Post  Windmere on 11/13/2014, 5:38 pm

@yolos wrote:Very interesting Windmere.  A lot more root system closer to the top of the soil.  But my concern is how deep do the roots go.  I would think we want deep roots here to be able to maintain more moisture. But I guess it is a good method especially if you do not have a deep bed.  I will have to carefully pull up a tomato next year to see how deep the roots are when planted in the vertical position.
In this case, the tomatoes were in EarthBoxes.  There isn't a lot of wiggle room in EarthBoxes.  I can say that there were some deep reaching roots, but I severed them as I removed this root.  I used my bare hands to remove this and I felt the roots that made their way down to the water reservoir.  Also, my theory is that with two plants in a 1 x 2 box, lying them side by side allowed them to have more individual root surface area.
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Re: What a trenched tomato root looks like...

Post  sanderson on 11/14/2014, 12:06 am

Windmere, The photos are proof that this method works, and is great for shallow boxes or table tops.

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Re: What a trenched tomato root looks like...

Post  sfg4uKim on 11/14/2014, 4:04 pm

Yes it really DOES work. This trenched tomato root was 5' long.


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