I've brought few tomato plants from home depot (Bonnie brand) and they are 5 to 8 inches tall and their roots start poking out from the bottom (and sides) of their (3" and 4") containers. (See attached image)
Seems like time to plant them in bigger pots. My question is, should i plant then straight into 20" pots, or should i choose smaller intermediate container? The reason i'm asking, besides for lack of experience (first time gardener here), is that i hear it's very beneficial to "deep plant" tomatoes, where people trim all the leaves besides for the very top to encourage additional root development. If my entire plant is 5" tall, "deep planting" would not work.
Thank you for your replies.
Going forward - should I invest in in "self-watering" containers from the beginning?
For a novice as me I guess the value proposition of those is taking the guesswork out of watering.
I *think* I know how to tell if plants need water. But how do people prevent over-watering of tomatoes?
How to insure consistent watering?
Is there some rule of thumb to follow?
I always put a pan of water under my pots. It doesn't matter how often you water them, they seem to dry out sometimes. This also encourages the roots to grow down towards the water pan. Or set them onto the ground where their roots can grow towards the water in the ground.
I have felt that it is best to water by the 'feel the dirt" method. I cannot remember the source, but I heard leaving a saucer, or whatever with standing water will result in root rot. However, there are many pots sold with a bottom reservoir so i guess it is a question of what works for you.
As long as the roots are out of the pot, in the standing water, I guess they won't rot, its when the soil is so wet that the roots drown inside the soil. They cannot get to oxygen. The roots outside the pot have excess to oxygen I suppose. It seems to work for me.
I overwintered pepper plants in 21/2" pots by keeping them in a tray of water. They grew and produced pods. They have been in the pots for a yr, so I guess I over summered them too. Lol. I'm just putting them in larger containers now. Somebody explained it to me but I didn't really understand it.