It's an exciting time of the year for tomatoes. Whether you’ve nurtured them yourself from seeds, or purchased tomato plants from your favorite local seed company, it is now warm enough to get those delicate little plants in the ground.
Here are five top tips to get your tomato transplants off to a strong start:
- Sunlight – don’t overlook this simple necessity. Originally from Mexico, tomatoes love the sunshine, so select a spot in your garden where they wont be disappointed.
- Food and Nutrients – we all know tomatoes are heavy feeders, but too much nitrogen will promote leaf growth to the detriment of fruit development. In considering crop rotation, don’t plant tomatoes in the same place in consecutive years and be wary of planting after a nitrogen fixing crop (legumes like peas and beans).
- Space and Airflow – they may look pretty small now, and it’s certainly a gardener’s vice to squeeze as much into a small space as possible, but tomatoes need space. Giving them good airflow will help reduce the chances of blight, fungal problems and pests. We suggest mature spacing of 18-24″.
- Root TLC – tender loving care! Be careful removing the plant from the pot and then gently massage the outer roots for faster development once in the ground. Don’t be so aggressive that you damage the roots and slow down development!
- [SUPER TIP!] Plant Deep and Water – the hairy stem of the tomato will grow roots if buried! You can pinch off the lower leaves and bury the stem deeply for a strong base and good nutrient uptake. Your tomato will want to be well watered once transplanted to help with the shocking transition into the real world.
Good luck and enjoy those tomatoes!
Sow True Seed sells summer transplants (including a wide range of tomatoes) at it’s shop in Downtown Asheville: 243 Haywood St, Asheville NC 28801. We also sell lots of open-pollinated tomato seeds, so you can start your own transplants in the spring!