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How to Transplant Heirloom Tomato Plants Into the Ground

Tomatoes are a warm weather crop; they do not tolerate frost and do not like cold, wet weather either. Wait till the last frost day and give them some protection.
The best place to grow tomatoes in a northern garden is a greenhouse. We grow tomatoes vertically and space them about a foot to a foot and a half apart.
Plants can’t go from indoors right into the ground; it will put way too much stress on them. First get them used to the outdoor or greenhouse environment while still in the pot. Starting with a few hours in the shade and then leaving them for longer and they will get used to their new location. Now they can be transplanted without being killed in the process.
Dig a bigger hole than the plant is – it helps to loosen the soil all around the plant and encourages root growth. Add 1-2 cups manure to the hole before planting (I use sheep manure). The manure will give the plants a boost. If the soil is very dry, like it usually is in a greenhouse, water the hole.
Be sure not to water the plant to much before transplanting so it holds better together. By turning the pot upside down and tapping on the pot, the plant will come right out.
Now place it gently into the hole and fill the hole with loose soil. If the plant is a bit leggy it can be buried deeper just like by transplanting the seedlings. By very leggy plants you can even lay the plant down to be able to bury more of the stem.
Do not press it down too hard but water the plant right away; the water will push the soil down as much as needed. It is good to make a mold around the plant for watering, so that the water can go directly to the plant and not flow away to lower ground.
Give the plants some protection from the sun during the first days, a Frost Blankets works very well. It also gives some protection from wind and cold during the night. I leave the blanket on for at least three days.

To see more: http://northernhomestead.com/transplanting-tomatoes-in-the-ground

  • Douglas Hunt
    Douglas Hunt New Smyrna Beach, FL
    on Apr 18, 2014

    Great advice, particularly regarding allowing the plants to acclimate.

  • Vetsy
    Vetsy Spartanburg, SC
    on Apr 19, 2014

    Wonderful tips.... I love your little green house and your growing technique....Thanks for sharing... What type of Heirloom tomatoes are you growing?

    • Vetsy
      Vetsy Spartanburg, SC
      on Apr 19, 2014

      @NorthernHomestead Ooo! they all look so yummy! Thank you for the link..

  • Kristi
    Kristi Arlington, WA
    on Jul 9, 2016

    I live in the Great Northwest where really wet springs (and wet summers like this one) are common. I rarely put plants in the ground before June, as rot is number one killer around here. I have found that clipping useless stems without blossoms helps the plant to concentrate on making great fruit. Also covering them with light weight plastic to keep off the rain helps too. I love my 'maters and next to cukes, my fav harvest in the garden.

  • Gw Max
    Gw Max
    on Jul 10, 2016

    I think the 1 1/2 foot spacing is way too close. You need at least 3 foot apart otherwise the plants will crowd each other when they get bigger. I trim (pinch off) all flower until my plants are at least 5 foot tall. I also use tomato cages or tie loosley to tall wooden stakes to support the plants in a upright position otherwise you will get the plant laying on the ground (this is called "runners") and when the fruit comes in, it will rot on the ground before proper maturity.

  • Rosanne
    Rosanne Atlanta, GA
    on Jul 10, 2016

    in the South, we're taking lower 'mater branches and rooting them for the fall since our first frost is usually around Thanksgiving.

    • Lynne Webb
      Lynne Webb
      on Jul 10, 2016

      Do you strip all the lower leaves, lay your plants down and bury them trench style up to the first little leaves? I've done mine that way and though it takes them a little while to recover, they grow like crazy. The entire buried stem grows roots and gets the advantage of all the moisture and side dressing you can give them. Good thought about rooting the branches.

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