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How To Plant A Tomato (Rip Off Ralph’s Arms) – Garden Growing Results

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How To Plant A Tomato Results - Tomatoes in July

Mid-summer is one of my favorite times of the year; it is when the tomato harvest is coming on hard and strong. Above you see a photo that shows how my tomatoes are growing this season – ripening up nicely!

Fresh tomatoes are like manna from heaven and I could eat them right off the plant. Recently, I went to P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home for the #G2B12 event and gave a little on-camera lesson on how to plant a tomato. The secret? RIPPING RALPH’S ARMS OFF. No kidding. Watch the video to see just how we did that.


1. Prepare the soil and dig a shallow trench about 6 to 10 inches deep. Mix an organic fertilizer  and soil additives of your preference into the soil.

2. Remove the bottom branches and leaves from the tomato plant (rip Ralph’s arms off) and lay the plant on it’s side in the trench with it’s very top leaves sticking up out of the hole. By laying it on it’s side you are encouraging additional root growth to help further stabilize the plant’s root system.

3. Cover all the plant except the very tippy-top leaves in soil. Water well and keep watered regularly.

That’s it – that is all you have to do to plant a good looking tomato plant like Ralph. Be sure to place your tomato in full sun, stake well, and fertilize every three weeks or so with an organic fertilizer.

Let me know how YOUR tomatoes are growing this season!

*Note – Because the FTC requires it, I am noting that attendees at Garden2Blog 2012 including myself received transportation, accommodations and meals during the event. Event sponsors provided samples and product giveaways at no cost or obligation. All opinions are my own.

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  1. I live in Colorado where the growing season is relatively short. We don’t usually see tomatoes coming on until the end of July, and to do that plants have to be started indoors. Do you recommend this technique for areas like ours as well?

  2. Dave,

    Absolutely. This technique has to do with root hairs growing on the extended stem. All roots that have more root hairs can expect to develop a stronger plant.

    I live in plant hardiness Zone 5. My tomatoes are becoming ripe right now in mid-July – I planted pre-grown plants just like you do. My tomatoes are great this year.

    SO yes – this works where ever you might live.


  3. This is truly different from anything I have ever seen. I have watched my father and neighbors plant tomatoes, and have done so myself now, for many years (over 40) and have never seen this done. It’s too late to try this for this year, but will def try it next year! Although Harriette (an heirloom stripy) has grown to over 6 foot tall – and is producing wildly this year!! Love heirlooms – nothing better than straight off the vine! Keep up the good work!

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