Trench planting seedlings grown from organic tomato seeds is an alternative technique that works well for people with hard or rocky soil. It also allows the plants to be placed in the ground sooner as the shallow soil heats up more quickly toward the surface. The possible drawbacks include soil that dries out too quickly and finding a method to prevent the tomatoes and foliage from lying on the ground, although they can be staked after the plants begin to grow. Trench planting works well for gardeners who want to get their plants in the ground as early as possible, although they may need protection from cold weather or frost.
Depending on whether you prefer staking tomatoes or not will influence the type of organic tomato seed to plant. Bushy determinate varieties that tend to be early producers don’t generally require staking to support their stout stems. Organic tomato seeds that are considered indeterminate varieties will do best with the extra support system provided by cages and staking, although they tend to require additional water when grown in this manner.
Popular organic tomato seeds that work for traditional planting methods work well for trench planting too. If setting the out earlier in the season it’s important to protect the plants from frost and cold nights. The following determinate and indeterminate organic tomato seed varieties are popular choices with home gardeners:
• Cherokee Purple DF Tomato is a variety that is well adapted to areas with hot dry summers and water shortages. The DF stands for dry farming, which actually improves the flavor. If you haven’t tried this yet, it is sure to knock your socks off with it brilliant flavor and color.
• True Black Brandywine seeds adapt well to dry farming. The produce contains unique coloring that will surprise you with their flavor and dark shoulders. The seeds from this variety are nearly 100 years old as they were introduced during the 1920’s.
• Big Rainbow Tomato seeds live up to their promise with plants that grow up to 6 feet tall, but more importantly, fruit that can weigh 2 pounds.
• Auld Sod Tomato seed provides the perfect drying tomato with attractive coloring and a tangy taste.
• Thessaloniki Tomato seed is a good choice for early or late gardens as it features a short 68 growth cycle. Baseball sized tomatoes that provide a mild, rich flavor make this plant a popular choice.
Grab plants started from organic tomato seeds, hoe, rake, shovel and water and get ready to test the trench planting technique.
• Make a shallow trench that will accommodate the length of the plant, allowing only the upper 2-3 sets of leaves to rest above the ground. The trench needs to only be deep enough to cover the stem and roots 2-3 inches, while allowing space for a crater for watering.
• The leaves and stem don’t require bending; just place them at an angle and use mulch or soil to support them. The sun will help direct their upward growth.
• Water or a weak tea can be placed in the trench while transplanting the same as with traditional hole methods. Fill the crater with this mixture afterwards too, and allow it to soak into the ground.
• Either place nails around the stem or use paper collars to prevent cutworms from slicing your seedlings.
• Space the plants 12-20 inches apart depending on whether they will be caged.
• Cage or stake plants that are set using trenching earlier than other varieties to ensure the stakes won’t puncture the portion of the stem that is placed in the ground.
• Plants that are grown from organic tomato seeds and placed in trenches, are often set out earlier in the season than when planted using traditional methods, and rely on the sun to heat the soil. For this reason, most people who use trench planting wait until warmer weather to place mulch around the plants as it can insulate the ground from the heat.
Organic heirloom tomato seeds can be transplanted and grown using a variety of methods. Trench planting is one of the techniques that have been adapted by home gardeners who want to place their plants out earlier in the season or who have soil that is difficult to work.