Grit Blogs > City Life, Country Garden

Free Tomato Plants: Rooting Tomatoes for an Extended Harvest

ReneaFor those who were lucky enough to get their tomatoes planted early, vine ripened tomatoes are here (or almost here). However, in a blink those tomatoes will stop producing, which is why I encourage ya’ll to root sucker branches to ensure a harvest right up until frost.

As luck would have it, I broke the top off of my tallest – over fertilized – tomato while trying to stake it. Never fear, I placed the broken plant into a jar of water. Less than a week has passed, take a look at the roots that have emerged!

This photo was taken two days after I placed the plant in the water. As you can see, tiny roots are emerging.

tomato roots

The second photo was taken after the plant had been in the water five days. Check out those massive roots.

tomato roots 2

I didn’t add root stimulator. I didn’t use purified water. One plant, tap water and wait.

Don’t you love it? A free tomato plant in less than seven days!

My next step is to dig a very deep hole for this plant. Since the weather is much hotter now and rain is less frequent than in the spring, I must plant deep in order for the tomato to survive. I will remove the stalk that has blooms on it, and bury the plant four inches deep. Then I’ll add shredded newspaper into the hole, water the newspaper, add a layer of dirt, and another layer of newspaper ... water again then add pine mulch and water again. I know this is a lot of water, but remember, the plant has been living in a jar of water for almost a week.

If Mother Nature cooperates, I should have tomatoes from this plant in September.

So my gardening friends, the proof is in the jar. You can do this! Happy gardening, and remember, keep those hands dirty.

staci_4
9/6/2010 7:10:05 PM

Is it possible to retransplant the whole plant to bring inside. Our night time temps will start being in the 30 closer to the end of the month. My plants are just now strating to produce (I know kind of late). Just looking for a way to keep the whole plant intact, since they aren't very big to begin with. My largest cherry tomato plant is about a foot to a foot and a half. Any advise would be very helpful.


renea_1
8/15/2010 7:13:22 PM

Hello fellow gardeners. So glad to read you've tried this tip. I now have small tomatoes on the plants pictured above. We are now in the middle of a drought, so I am praying the rains will come and I'll have tomatoes up until frost. Thanks for reading my blog. Happy gardening!


desertrat
7/28/2010 6:18:37 PM

I did this... And it worked! My "better boys" never fruited this summer in the Arizona heat. So I'm hoping these will produce fresh plants for a fall crop since it will be sunny and in the 80's until early December. Let's hope it works! My clippings have sprouted roots, now I just have to see if they survive the transplant. I'll let you know.


desertrat
7/28/2010 6:18:13 PM

I did this... And it worked! My "better boys" never fruited this summer in the Arizona heat. So I'm hoping these will produce fresh plants for a fall crop since it will be sunny and in the 80's until early December. Let's hope it works! My clippings have sprouted roots, now I just have to see if they survive the transplant. I'll let you know.


desertrat
7/28/2010 6:18:06 PM

I did this... And it worked! My "better boys" never fruited this summer in the Arizona heat. So I'm hoping these will produce fresh plants for a fall crop since it will be sunny and in the 80's until early December. Let's hope it works! My clippings have sprouted roots, now I just have to see if they survive the transplant. I'll let you know.


jane umstead_1
7/25/2010 10:18:08 AM

Thanks for the great tip. Here in central VA, I'm harvesting big tomatoes every day. I'm going to try this to see if I can keep them going.


jackie_3
7/23/2010 1:18:54 PM

You can also skip putting them in water, and put directly into dirt but you *have* to keep the soil moist...one day of really drying out can put an end the root production. When I do this, I usually transplant into deeper pots several times before their final destination -- planting deep as you suggested allows the tomato to grow a better, healtheir root structure -- all those little 'hairs' will turn into roots. Also, you can root suckers this way, too. I pick suckers from my best producers when the plant starts to back off (my tomato season in FL has been over for weeks!) and root them for the fall garden. ~Jackie


renea_1
7/22/2010 12:15:41 PM

Nebraska Dave, Thank you so much for your comment. Yes you can root tomatoes this easily and you'll have a "passel" (southern for a lot) of tomatoes. I'm working hard to post some recipes. There aren't enough hours during the summer, but that's what make us love summer so much. Of course we southerners love green tomatoes fried. It is an acquired taste. I would suggest when temperatures drop snip the vine(leaving green tomatoes attached) and bring it inside then place it in a jar of water in a place where it will receive the most sun. Again, thank you for your comment and keep those hands dirty!


nebraska dave
7/21/2010 5:23:30 PM

Renea, welcome to Grit blogging. Your first post was great. I have heard that this could be done but didn’t know that it was so easy. I just might give it a try and see what happens. My tomatoes are right on the verge of turning red. I’ve been waiting all winter for that first bite of juicy home grown tomato. It seems like it’s taking for ever. Last year I had three tomato plants and harvested 175 tomatoes. Each one up until the last three weeks was nice, big, round, and juicy. As the night temperature began its spiral downward the production dropped off and the tomatoes were smaller. At the season’s end, I had a scad (that means a lot in Nebraskan) of green tomatoes to deal with. I tried to bring them inside and let them ripen but I’m afraid that most didn’t. This year I want to attempt to try some green tomato recipes. Do you have any that you would share? I hope to hear from you again soon.