Tomato experiment

This year I planted three cherry tomatoes three different ways, in an attempt to determine the best planting method. For a number of reasons, this experiment was not very scientific. Firstly, I started all the tomatoes in pots and transplanted two of them later. Planting them in large pots allowed me to start them really early and bring them in when there was a frost. This was ideal, since it resulted in mid-July tomatoes. Secondly, I transplanted the tomatoes at different times and sizes. Thirdly, since I only used three plants, this was by no means a broad sample. Finally, I didn’t make an effort to standardize anything, such as the amount of water I gave them. With these caveats in mind, I present the results.

Cherry tomato in plastic bucket

planted 28 April

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I planted the first tomato in a plastic, 35-pound cat litter bucket with holes drilled in the bottom. This is the only tomato I didn’t transplant, and it is taller, leggier, and yellower than the others. However, it appears to have the most tomatoes.

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This may be due in part to the fact that I knocked off several baby tomatoes while transplanting the other two.

Cherry tomato in fabric pot

planted 28 April
transplanted 15 June

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I transplanted this tomato from a plastic pot into a five-gallon fabric Smart Pot when it was already fairly large. It is the shortest, bushiest, and greenest of the tomato plants. I’m not sure if it is due to the floppiness of the pot or my poor transplanting skills, but this one needed more support than the others, hence all the twine in the photo. I really like this pot. It is supposed to allow air to circulate to the roots and help plants grow better. Because of this, the soil dries out quickly.

Cherry tomato in garden

planted 24 April
transplanted late June

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I moved this tomato from its plastic pot directly into the garden because it was too big for the pot. Although I was concerned about transplanting it so late, it is doing fine. It is a bit scrawnier than the others, but it still has plenty of tomatoes.

Conclusions

Next time I think I will start my tomatoes in regular pots and transplant them to Smart Pots earlier in the season. I read somewhere that it’s good to transplant tomatoes at least once since each time they are replanted slightly deeper than before they grow more roots from the base of the stem, making them stronger. I don’t know if it’s true, but my transplanted tomatoes are both greener than my non-transplanted one. Aside from the appearance of the plants, there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference in the number of tomatoes on each, which is really what’s most important. Also, these tomatoes are delicious. They are more like grape tomatoes in size and sweetness, and I am thrilled to have so many of them. Wish I had bothered to remember what variety they are.

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