One of the first things that anyone learns about transplanting tomatoes is that they should be planted as deep as possible. All the leaves and branches except for those at the very top of the plant should be pinched off and then plant it deep enough so that only those leaves at the tip of the plant are above ground.
I suspect that I’m not the only one who has wondered if the plants ever really catch up in height after being buried that deeply. I decided to find out.
When I plant the garden, in addition to the plants that are spaced out as they should be, I try to always plant some extras so that any that don’t survive or are the victim of bugs or other pests can be quickly replaced. In this case, I planted the spares right next to the primary plants so we can compare them. The primary plants were buried as deep as the plant would allow. The spare plants were planted at the same depth they were at the soil blocks and pots. After a couple of weeks, you can see that the deep buried plants quickly recovered their “lost” height. In addition, the plants had much thicker trunks and are generally more vigorous plants.
The tomato variety shown here is Jaune Flammé (often just referred to as Flammé). These are a French heirloom tomato that produces golf-ball sized tomatoes that are an apricot color when ripe. This is a very prolific indeterminate variety – and clearly the best tasting variety that I know of. They’re too small to make a good sandwich tomato, but for salads and just eating by themselves, they are incredibly delicious. The fact that they don’t turn bright red makes them less attractive to birds, and that’s always a good thing.