When one thinks of a garden, tomatoes are usually the first crop in mind. A single seedling can yield a bunch of fruits. However, to support such weight, tomato stems must be thick.
How do you get your tomato stems to thicken?
Some tips can help you thicken tomato stems and enjoy the maximum harvest. Some of these tips include nitrogen, water, sunlight, and proper aeration.
But how much sunlight or water are we talking about?
This article contains detailed and well-researched information on how to thicken tomato stems.
How to get thick stems on tomato plants?
To thicken your tomato plants’ stems, you should monitor if your tomato plant receives adequate sunlight and water. Also, properly space your tomato plants to allow room for growth, hence promoting good aeration. Lastly, feed them with nitrogen-rich fertilizer for better foliage growth.
Top 5 Tips On How To Thicken Tomato Stems
1. Sufficient sunlight
Lack of sufficient sunlight can result in tomato plants becoming tall, spindly, and thin. As such, good sunlight is necessary for the healthy development of the tomato stems.
But how much is sufficient sunlight?
It is recommended about 8 to 10 hours daily of direct sunlight is necessary for the strong growth of tomato stem.
Providing tomatoes with direct sunlight ensures that they do not stretch their stem in the direction of the sun. Otherwise, they will be forced to grow tall and thin as they try to get as much sunlight as possible.
What if you are indoors planting? How will you ensure sufficient sunlight?
If you have planted your seedlings in a pot or tins, place them near the window in the direction you enter the house. This will ensure they receive enough sun before it sets.
If the whole tray of seedling does not receive sunlight in all corners, ensure to rotate it daily so that all sides get enough sunlight necessary for germination.
After germination, transplant the seedlings into your kitchen garden or the farm if you have a more significant piece of land.
Make sure to select a spot that will be receiving sufficient sunlight daily. If the area you plan to plant those seedlings is covered with plants, consider pruning the branches allowing enough sunlight reaches the ground.
You can also transplant them in large trays. This makes it easy to move them from one point to another throughout the day, ensuring they receive maximum sunlight.
If you are in America, you are probably wondering the best time to plant your tomatoes. It’s crucial to consider the four seasons.
To ensure they get maximum sunlight and promote healthy growth, avoid planting during winter or autumn.
Instead, plant the tomatoes towards the spring season’s end and when the summer season starts. During this period, you are assured your tomatoes will have sufficient sunlight necessary to grow stronger stems and consequently maximum produce.
During this period, the temperatures are usually between 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which is suitable for flowering and fruit development.
Poor spacing is another reason contributing to the weakening of the tomato stem.
Avoid planting the seedlings too close to each other. The recommended spacing is about 1 to 3 feet between the plants.
In the beginning, this distance might seem a little bit exaggerated, but as the plants grow, their branches widen.
This makes it challenging for the branches to spread out freely and receive maximum lighting necessary for healthy growth.
Also, they will have no room for spreading their roots in search of nutrients and support as the plant grows and develop fruits. Providing enough room for the roots also ensures that your tomato plant receives the right amount of nutrients from the soil.
However, if planted closely, it will lead to nutrient competition. Lack of sufficient nutrients will result in the stems becoming thin and weak.
As a result, they cannot support the fruits and end up breaking at an early stage.
When planting seeds in a seedling bed, they can be closely packed. As they start to germinate, you can thin them out.
The more robust and thick stem should be promoted early as the plantlets begin to sprout. This ensures that you transplant healthy and strong tomato plants for maximum productivity.
Apart from promoting maximum nutrients for each plant, adequate spacing ensures that the sunlight reaches the ground.
If you are planting your tomatoes in small containers, it is recommended that you plant a single plantlet in each container. This will prevent overcrowding and promote the healthy growth of the plants.
If you have already planted your tomatoes, disregarding the distance, and you are noticing they are becoming overcrowded, this issue has a remedy.
Whether they are still in the nursery bed or the field, you can still thin them out, promote sunlight penetration, create enough room for root attachments, and ensure each plant receives maximum nutrients.
3. Maximum provision of nitrogen
Nitrogen compound is known to promote plant’s foliage. The roots of the tomatoes will extract nitrogen from the soil.
For stronger and thick stems, ensure that the roots are receiving enough nitrogen. The best way is to add nitrogen fertilizers to the ground for tomatoes.
The fertilizer can be administered by spraying the soil and foliage.
The recommended fertilizer available in the stores is NPK, where K stands for potassium, P for phosphorous, and N for Nitrogen in the value of 10-5-5.
Adding nitrogen fertilizer to the soil is necessary to boost the available nutrients in the grounds. However, ensure you strictly follow the instructions to ensure you use the right quantities when mixing with the soil or spraying.
Adding too much fertilizer to the soil is more damaging. It will burn the roots, and if the tomato grows, it will have thin stems.
4. Proper aeration
Oxygen is necessary for plant germination. Before planting the seeds, it is essential that the soil’s properly aerated. Sufficient oxygen to the roots will also promote stem thickening.
Apart from adequately breaking the hardpan and aerating the soil before planting, another way to ensure soil aeration is to use quality soil.
Reasonable grounds have a great texture and promote air circulation.
A mixture of sand and clay can be an excellent choice. Clay will ensure water and moisture retention while the sand soil provides aeration.
Too much clay will result in poor aeration as the soil lumps up. Similarly, too much sand will cause the soil to be highly aerated, which is unsuitable for soil root development.
If you are in the urban areas of the United States, it’s highly likely that your area has sandy soil. It is therefore recommended that you find clay elsewhere and mix the two grounds for maximum aeration.
5. Adequate water
Provision of adequate water is another tip that you can ensure your tomatoes have a strong stem. It is essential to provide tomatoes with sufficient water for the healthy development of fruits.
To check the soil water content, stick out your finger or a stick to a depth of 1 to 2 inches. If the finger or stick stays dry and with no moisture when you pull it out, it’s the right time to water your plants.
Water the tomatoes until all roots receive enough water but be careful not to clog them. In instances where you are using containers, ensure you have some draining holes at the bottom. This will ensure excess water is drained out.
With the above five tips, you are assured of thick stems for your tomatoes.
It is essential to employ every strategy right after planting the seeds. This will ensure you transplant robust tomatoes with thick stems.
If you have already transplanted and noticed the stems are thin, it is not too late to thicken them.
Start implementing these five tips and you will enjoy the change in a few weeks to months.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.