PlantTape conducts a successful tomato planting trial in Ohio

On May 20, 2021, PlantTape conducted a tomato transplanting trial in Northwest Ohio. Planting in the heat, and with no irrigation, PlantTape successfully planted 3 acres of tomato seedlings, using sub-surface water injection to the plant roots.

Tomato seedlings just planted, Northwestern Ohio
Trays of tomato seedlings ready for transplanting

Quality Tomato Transplants

Jason Kelly of S.A.L.’s Vegetable Transplants was PlantTape’s nursery partner for the trial. He grew a uniform, hardened-off tomato plant perfect for Ohio’s hot conditions and also for the PlantTape automated transplanting system, which favors a shorter, stockier tomato seedling.

Planting tomatoes with underground water injection

For the transplanting trial, a hydraulic pump injected water below-ground from two tractor-mounted tanks. A hose attached to a nipple on the hollow planting shoe allowed for water to be delivered directly to each seedling’s roots.
Using 400 gallons to the acre, the water was injected directly to each plant’s root zone, creating a good seal and minimizing evaporation. The transplants were able to establish quickly and start growing.
In the five days immediately after the planting, temperatures remained high and the plants received no additional water. No wilting was observed, and all plants remained vibrant. On the sixth day, it rained.

The PlantTape system proven for no-irrigation tomato transplanting

Considering that much of the American Midwest does not utilize irrigation in tomato agriculture, PlantTape needed to demonstrate planting viability for no-irrigation tomato growing operations. Our May tomato trial did just that, showing that tomato seedlings remain hardy for several days post-planting due to our delivery of water to the seedling root zone.

Previous PlantTape tomato trials in California had already proven the viability of the PlantTape system for tomato agriculture with irrigation; now, its viability for planting tomatoes in the absence of irrigation has been demonstrated.
S.A.L’s Vegetable Transplants cultivated tomato seedlings ideal for the PlantTape automated transplanting system