Transplant tomatoes into the garden like a pro!
Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are amongst the most popular of food crops to grow in the garden. I have been growing them for quite a few years now (10 year to be exact) and I’m proud to say I’ve come a long way since my first year of growing a Charlie Brown tomato tree. LOL! Growing them takes me back to my childhood of eating them like an apple with a dash of season salt. You bet I carried that shaker of bliss to the tomato field everytime my parents went to pick their crop for the produce stand. I did more eating than picking! Little did I know, I was filling my belly with more than a scrumptious snack. Tomatoes actually have vitamins C and K, folate, potassium, and the antioxidant lycopene which has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease. So grow and eat your to-mah-to’s!
“I can remember warm tomato juice running down my cheeks each and every bite while I stood barefoot in the tomato field.”
One of the best things you can do before transplanting any plant is to sit them in a container that has a few inches of water for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the roots/soil to soak up enough water so transplant is not as stressful for the plant.
Classic red, yellow, orange, green, and purple are just some of the beautiful arrays of color tomatoes have to offer.
We want the plant to concentrate on a good root system and new growth. To do that, we want to snip/pinch the first 4 stems closest to the base of the plant (see picture below for reference). If the plant has any blossoms, snip those off, too. You can use clean scissors or your fingers.
That wasn’t so bad, was it? I know it may seem a tad scary, I was nervous my first time too!
Fluff the Roots
By now, the tomato plants are probably a little root bound, if not a lot! Root bound is exactly as it sounds. When a plant is confined to a container, its roots cannot naturally spread so they intertwine until they are in a big knot.
Gently ruffle up the bottom of the roots to untangle them a bit (see picture below).
Tomato plants should be transplanted a few inches deeper than the root ball. This will give the plant a sturdy foundation for the vigorous plant it will become.
Tip: Make sure no leaves touch the dirt. This will prevent the plant from picking up any diseases from the soil. Keep this in mind throughout the entire growing season.
Give the plant another drink after you transplant it and remember to always water at the base of the plant.
Tip: Make sure the soil stays evenly moist throughout the growing season to help prevent blossom end rot.