If you were any other gardener, you might be extremely anxious to find your tomato plants growing at an angle other than 90 degrees, but at least one grower on TikTok is not only unbothered by it, he grows them that way on purpose — and there’s a good reason to try it yourself.
In a recent video, TikToker Jorge Prieto (@jorgeshiddengardens) demonstrates the technique. They begin by filling a container with compost and root-growth promoter (usually a mixture of phosphorus and potassium). They opt for a container to plant in, just in case they need to be moved inside should a cold snap or spring freeze roll through.
@jorgeshiddengardens #garden #gardening #farmlife #farmer #fyp #homestead #homesteading #plantsoftiktok #plantok #gardeningtips #tomato ♬ Adventure – André Branney
After filling the container and making a hole, they remove the tomato plant from its plastic housing and lay the soily root base on its side. They then bend the tomato plant stem upwards (being careful not to bend it too harshly) and submerge the already existing root structure along with the portion of the stalk below the bend with soil.
How it’s helping
Surprisingly, there’s a really good reason to try this method out.
The fine hairs growing on the stalk of the tomato plant will grow into roots if submerged in nutrient-rich soil. This means that by growing tomatoes sideways, you can add a significant amount of root strength to your plant. As it gets taller, root strength becomes increasingly important, as the danger of the plant accidentally uprooting itself grows under the weight of its own produce.
Additionally, if the quality of the soil isn’t particularly firm, the additional root network can help keep your tomato plant thriving despite less-than-ideal conditions. You also won’t have to dig as deeply.
If you have only so much topsoil to work with or have had trouble with root strength, this technique may be worth a try. Just take care to not stress the plant too much when bending the stalk upwards.
What’s everyone saying?
The technique has been broadly acclaimed on TikTok where it was uploaded. “Figured this out when I was a kid and veragating them in my parents’ garden. they got huge!!” says a commenter, affirming the method.
“You learn something new every day … I will be planting this way from now on,” says another.
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