Introduction: Unlimited Free Tomato Plants - Simple Garden Hack
Are you a person who has grown a tomato plant, only to wish you had grown even more? Perhaps you have had trouble finding seeds to start your own tomato plants, with so many stores selling out this year. Or maybe you aren't able to get your tomatoes at a nursery or garden store like you normally do. Or perhaps you just want to be a good neighbor and help others who are in one of those situations. Or if you read this instructable after our Corona- Virus lockdown is but a mere memory, this helpful trick can provide unlimted gift for gardeners in your life, and happens to be timed perfectly for Mother's Day as well.
A tomato plant (which can be started from seed)
Bottle, cup, jar, or other small water-holding device
Alternatively, you can use a hydroponic system, but it is not necessary.
Step 1: Identify the Tomato "Sucker"
Tomatoes love to grow. The plants will behave like a vine and have a tendency to sprawl around your garden. Part of this growth pattern includes putting out what are called "suckers" in addition to other leafy vegetation.
A sucker is an additional stem that grows out of a node of the tomato plant. Unlike branches on the plant, which just grow out enough to put on leaves, this sucker actually will keep growing, just like the main stem of the plant.
This sucker can be found growing out of the center of the connection between the main stem and a branch. You can identify it fairly easily as the stem and branch make a 90 degree angle, and the sucker grows in the middle of that angle, starting at about 45 degrees, but then curving upward as it grows.
Step 2: Cut the Sucker
Use clean pruning shears or a sharp knife to cut off the sucker as close to its base as possible.
In a pinch, you can pinch off the sucker with your fingers. While this will often work, you will get a smoother cut using a tool.
Step 3: Place the Sucker in Water
Another cool thing about the vine-like tendencies of tomato plants is that tomato stems will grow roots at any point, even a part of the stem that had previously been root-free. If you place the tomato sucker in water and leave it, exposed to some soft indoor light for a couple days (a sunny window, grow light, or fluorescent light all work well) it will grow out roots along its stem.
Step 4: Plant Your New Tomato Plant
Once there are a few roots on your sucker, it is time to replant it. You can put it in a hydroponic system, add it to some soil in a pot, or plant it outside in a garden bed (if it is warm enough to plant tomatoes).
The really exciting part - both your first tomato plant, and the new one you just created from a sucker will continue to grow and put on new suckers, so you can keep creating more and more new tomato plants for free using this method.
Step 5: Watch the Video
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Indoor Plants Challenge