Transplanting your Tomatoes time:
Time flies during the gardening season. It seems like yesterday that I planted those tiny tomato seeds in the recycled strawberry container/clamshell.
A few weeks later, I moved the baby tomato plants to starter cells out in the greenhouse, and now it is time to get them into their garden home. They need to stretch their roots out in the garden if I have tomatoes as lovely as the ones in the top picture.
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Rx for Transplanting yourTomatoes
- Pick the spot for their permanent home. The new home for transplanting your tomatoes should have full sun for 7-9 hours a day. The soil should be light and loose, with plenty of well-rotted compost mixed in. Don’t plant them in the same place as last year. Planting them in previous years’ homes encourages fungus and molds that linger in the soil. (image 1)
2. Dig a hole a little deeper than the depth of the container the tomato is currently growing in. If you have well-rotted manure, mix about a cup into the bottom of the hole. (image 2)
3. Remove the tomato from its container and place it in the hole. Firm the soil around the tomato. (image 3 and 4)
4. Position a drip line so each plant has a dripper. Set the timer for how long and how often you want to water. (image 5) Find detailed instructions on how to set up a drip system here.
Tomatoes with soggy feet get blossom end rot, and a tomato won’t set from a rotted blossom. If you aren’t sure when to water, check the soil’s moisture level by sticking your finger into the ground. If your finger comes out with dry soil, it is time to water. During periods of drought, deep water once a week.
5. Support the tomato plant with a wire or custom-built support. (image 6)
6. Protect from cutworms by sprinkling diatomaceous earth around the base of the plant. These little buggers can mow down several plants overnight. A collar placed around the base of the plant will also protect it. Toilet paper tubes cut in half or thirds make great collars.
3 weeks after transplanting, they are about 18 inches tall.
The thought of a piece of warm homemade artisan bread, topped with slices of garden ripe tomato covered in basil, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil, makes my tastebuds swoon. YUM!
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