So, you starting some tomato plants from seeds and now you're ready to transplant your seedlings into your garden.
Preparing the plants:
Tomatoes are native to South America, and so are an exotic plant that doesn't tolerate frost. You must therefore wait until temperatures are warm enough overnight before you plant them out (no frosts!) Consult our sowing calendar to get an idea of the best time.
Before transplanting, consider hardening them off (this means getting them used to the outdoors). Just take them outside in good weather, a week to two weeks before transplanting, gradually increasing the time they spend outdoors from a few hours a day at first to whole days and eventually overnight.
Be careful, the plants can suffer a shock if they are suddenly exposed to direct sunlight. They must therefore first be taken out in the shade for a few days before exposing them to full sun. Getting them used to the wind (light to moderate) can also be beneficial.
Once the plants have been hardened off and the risk of night frost has passed, you can plant them out.
A short walk in the sun to acclimate the squash seedlings
Whereabouts should tomatoes be planted?
Tomatoes need a lot of sun, choose a place in full sun that is also sheltered from the wind.
What type of soil should I use?
Tomatoes are very greedy. They need lots of nutrients and like rich or enriched soils. Add additional compost or fertilizer when transplanting and regularly throughout the growing season, combined with abundant and regular watering.
How should I plant them?
If you can, plant on a cloudy, non-windy day.
Bury the stem as deep as possible. If the stem of the plants is too long and fragile, plant your plant horizontally, laying the stem completely on its side. This will promote the growth of roots and therefore the possibility of fetching more nutrients and water and anchoring itself well in the soil for resistance and increased growth potential.
Dig a hole two or three times wider than the soil clump around the roots of your plant. Water the bottom of the hole to moisten the soil thoroughly and throw in two good shovelfuls of compost. Place the plant and cover it with soil and compost. If necessary, place the stem horizontally, gently straightening it so that the first leaves are just at ground level.
To maximize the flow of water to the roots, I like to use the 'little pool' technique for vegetables like tomatoes, squash and cucumbers. This 'technique' makes it possible to maximize watering. Simply form a bowl-shaped depression all around the stem of the plant which will direct the water from the next waterings directly towards the root system of the plant.
Water again and add a stake if desired. Here is our plant is in the ground for the summer!
The pool technique.
After transplanting, some plants may appear limp and wilted. It's normal, they don't like being handled. But everything should be back to normal within a few hours or the next day.
You should apply a liquid fertilizer or compost a few times throughout the summer season, regularly hoe the surface of the soil to keep the soil aerated and free of weeds, water regularly and remove side shoots to promote growth!
Ready, steady, shovels! Happy harvesting.
This is our beautiful of Campbell's paste tomato