Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Talking Tomatoes...UPDATE

A friendly reminder from MrMartha... get those tomatoes planted! Just takes a few minutes and the rewards later in the summer are beyond amazing.

Admittedly, the plants in the photos look a bit sad, but they were what was available, and the transformation will be amazing once they get some heat, a little time and a couple doses of fertilizer, they will take off like a house on fire!

If you didn't see it before, check MrMartha's previous post about tomatoes....and Read More below to get some details and tips in how to most effectively plant your seedlings, as well as more photos.

Keep in mind that tomato plants will put out new roots all along the main plant stem if it is buried. So, slightly spindly and tall but strong seedlings are actually very good specimens to plant.

Pinch or snip off all the base leaves along the stem, leaving just the leaves at the crown of the plant.

Dig down deeply, and plant the seedlings at a depth where just the top couple of inches are still above the soil line.

MrMartha uses a stake to make the initial hole, and then a narrow trowel to spread the soil open further and tuck in the seedling. Fill and firm soil around the stem so there are no air pockets.

For the cherry tomatoes planted today, four seedlings were placed per pot. For larger fruited varieties, MrMartha usually plants two seedlings per pot -- depending on size of pot.

Place wire cages over the seedlings now, so that you won't damage roots by doing it later, and make sure the prongs are offset from your new plants when you sink them into the soil.

Wait about 10 days before starting to fertilize the plants, and then do so every other week with liquid fertilizer. Be sure to check the label on your fertilizer, some are formulated to use every other week, but if yours says apply monthly, use it at half strength. Make sure the seedlings get lots of water, especially as it warms up and the plants begin rapid growth.

MrMartha will keep updating with new photos, so you can see the progress here.