Here's Why You REALLY Should Transplant Those Tomato Seedlings...

4 Materials
$5
1 Hour
Easy

Got leggy tomato seedlings? Don't be tempted to just prop them up until you can plant them in the garden. Chances are the plant will fall over and the stem will break. There's no coming back from that.


Transplant them instead into a larger pot. And then, transplant them again if it is still too cold to get them outside.


Take a look at what transplanting does for our tomato harvest.

Here's a tomato plant I grew from seed in a recycled styrofoam coffee cup. The tapered shape of the cup makes it super easy to slide the plants out at transplanting time.


The container on the left is a recycled malt container. You can see the size difference of the two containers.


I wait to transplant until the tomato is completely rootbound in its container.


Get the second container about 1/3 full of soil and water it well.

Place the seedling in the soil, burying as much of the stem as you can. If the seedling is tightly rootbound, GENTLY open up the root ball a bit.


Keep gently packing soil mix around the stem.


You can see how deep it has been transplanted by comparing the two photos.


Carefully remove the lowest 2 leaves if they are in the way.

Here's the same tomato plants several weeks later. Much healthier plants for having been transplanted. They are ready to go into the garden.


Plant them, stake and wrap them for support and water them.




But see what happens when they get transplanted one more time into a larger container before going into the ground.


I learned it's one of the great secrets to strong healthy tomato plants that bear a lot of fruit. And it works well for northern gardeners with shorter growing seasons.


Head over here to Country Living in a Cariboo Valley and see what I mean. Robust tomato plants on thick stalks.

I love making our own Salsa with fresh tomatoes. I even can up a couple of batches of Salsa so we can enjoy it all year. This is the Ultimate Salsa recipe I use for making and canning.


Give your tomato seedlings what they need to thrive. Transplant them at least once.


They'll bear delicious tomatoes. Keep them pruned and well watered. And they love a nice top dressing of good compost.

Suggested materials:

  • Tomato seeds   (Garden center)
  • Various seedling containters   (Recycled)
  • Tomato tape   (Garden center)
See all materials

Annie
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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