Starting and Transplanting Tomatoes

Starting tomatoes for a fall garden?! Check this out!

For some reason unknown to me, I have had the hardest time getting my tomato plants to look full and fantastic when I started them from seed. I would look at mine and then go to the store and see these fabulous tomato plants. I didn’t get it! I also noticed that a guy I worked with, David, had just beautiful tomato plants he started from seed and I wanted to know his secret. I tried to keep track of what he was doing, but I just couldn’t figure it out. Then… one day David told me about his little secret! Now this may not be a secret to some, but I thought it was great so I am assuming that I am not the only one that didn’t know this!

When David seeded his tomatoes, he took a tray, marked a little trough through and put his seeds down. It didn’t matter how close they were to one another. He covered them lightly and waited for them to sprout. Once the tomatoes emerged and were about 1” to 1 ½” tall, he carefully removed the tomatoes from their tray and replanted them individually in their own hole in the flats. When planting them, he made the hole for the seedling deep enough so that the seedling’s first two leaves went right to the edge of the soil, but were not covered.

I did these recently (a little overdue). This shows how you might have to curl the seedling to get it deep enough.

I did these recently (a little overdue). This shows how you might have to curl the seedling to get it deep enough.

Once deep enough, cover with soil.

Once deep enough, cover with soil.

That first night he kept them in a cool place since they were sensitive, but the next morning put them back into the greenhouse. By doing this, the tomato seedlings created stronger roots. In two to three days, they look better than ever! I tried this the next time I seeded some tomatoes… Bam! They were the best I had seen! I could be a little biased of course, but they were definitely the best ones that I had ever done…

When transplanting the tomatoes into the soil, the same method is recommended. Make a hole deep enough for the tomato that you can put a couple of inches of the stem into the soil (depending on the size of your transplant – don’t go so far as above the first set of leaves). Water in and enjoy your hardy, beautiful tomato plants!

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