In the Garden: Getting tomatoes in the ground

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) We are finally getting to the time when we can plant our warm weather veggies. Garden expert Charlie Nardozzi show us how to get the most from our tomatoes.

Sharon Meyer: It's tomato season finally.

Charlie Nardozzi: Yay.

Sharon Meyer: Smell that -- the smell of fresh tomato leaves.

Charlie Nardozzi: It is tomato planting time, and if your tomatoes got a little long in the tooth, maybe you started them from seed or got them from a garden center, there's a nice thing you can do so that the tomatoes will root all along the stem.

Sharon Meyer: So it's still ok to use these.

Charlie Nardozzi: Yes it is, you just plant them horizontally. Let me show you how to do that. So you make a trench with your hoe, you pop your tomato out, and then what you are going to do is strip off all of your bottom leaves. By doing that, you are going to be able to just bury this plant right into the soil. Then you bury the root ball, and leave the top of it kind of poking out.

Sharon Meyer: And it's not leggy anymore.

Charlie Nardozzi: And all of a sudden, it's not leggy anymore. So now that you've got it in the ground, you can stake it or cage it. You can take a big stake like this, I love these plastic ones that have metal inside of them. Put that in, and then I like to use the velcro plant ties and you can color coordinate them with the color of your tomatoes. But you are going to attach it to the stem, and of course you are going to have to prune off all of the suckers if you have those indeterminant varieties. The ones that get really big. Because if you don't, they are just going to get too big for the stake and flop over. If you have determinant or dwarf variety, you don't have to worry about the suckers, the big ones you do. The other option if you like suckers is to grow them in cages using a square cage or a round cage. I like the square cages because they are a little more stable, but that way you don't have to keep pruning off all of the suckers and you can just let the plant get huge and just overflowing with fruit.

Sharon Meyer: And you've got to make sure you get a huge cage because a little one, the plants are just going to go right over the top.

Charlie Nardozzi: Exactly. And you can buy them, or you can make your own out of steel mesh.