Transplanting My Tomatoes

It’s time to transplant my Tomato seedlings from their nursery tray into individual pots. The seedlings have at least two of their larger, ‘real’ leaves and they are nice and short, green and vigorous.

I’m planting them well below the soil level that they were at in the tray. I’m trying to get them so deep in the pots that the soil almost reaches the lowest leaves (but not quite). This will encourage the plant to send out roots from the stem to make an even more sturdy and healthy plant.

All I need to do now is to fully harden them off and they will be ready to be planted in their final position in the garden.

I totally love growing Tomatoes. There are few other vegetables as satisfying to grow as Tomatoes. Now all I need to do is make sure they don’t get blight, like last year – hmmm…easier said than done.

Here’s my plan of attack (apart from the usual of removing the lower leaves on the plant)

  • Plant my seedlings nowhere near where I planted them last year (blight can linger in the soil).
  • Plant disease-resistant varieties (I’m going for Ferline).
  • I’ll be taking special care not to water on to the leaves.
  • I’ll try to control weeds in and around the plants. Weeds serve as hosts for insects and disease.
  • Control insect pests (especially aphids) which may transmit disease from plant to plant.
  • As soon as I see any sign of blight, that will be the death knell for that plant (harsh but necessary).
  • I’m planting them in the sunniest spot in the garden.
  • I might try to rig up some kind of removable rain cover (I might).
  • I’ll be asking the rain gods for some nice weather this summer – well you can but ask.

If anyone has any more tips for keeping outdoor Tomatoes blight-free, let’s hear it. I need all the help I can get.

28 Comments on “Transplanting My Tomatoes

  1. love you’re blog! i had to comment, have you ever heard of hanging you’re tomato plants upside down? like hanging baskets but in reverse, just type in ‘hanging tomato plants upside down’, i google everything, and look at the images all kinds of ideas. the main reason, its much more protected from diseas, water rot, animals and all that stuff! and i love the idea of using vertical space! anyway hope its ‘food’ for thought.

  2. Black plastic pots are warmer (and much better) than other pots for tomatoes!

    Try early cultivars of tomatoes (55 or 60 days) for growing in big pots: Red Alert, Ida Gold, Whipper Snapper, …

  3. I’m giving Ferline a go this year too. We’ll see what happens.

  4. Your seedlings look strong, I’m sure they’ll be fine. In terms of what to do keeping them disease free, I’m very new at this, but one thing that worked for me is to grow them in large pots or raised beds – it seems the height might keep away the harmful pests. Also I did what you’ve listed already re not watering the leaves, sunniest spot, etc. I also trellised mine pretty high rather than wide.

  5. Don’t water them from a water butt where blight spores may be lurking …

  6. I need to plant/pot up my seedlings asap, too. I only sowed the seeds a few weeks ago, but they are getting quite big already. I wasn’t sure how many would germinate, so I’ve got lots of spares. I’m growing Isla Craig again, and as I’m banking on a sunny summer, I’m also growing Gardeners Delight. I’ve got a nice new wicker container, which will take two and is pretty deep. I think I’ll have to try and grow at least a couple more, so will use the plastic bag type containers. One of my problems has been that the tomato plants dry out so quickly in grow bags and, while I hope to water them more this year, a greater depth of soil is bound to help.

  7. what beautiful pictures (and happy little seedlings)! I have no wisdom to share, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a blight-free summer…

  8. Hi. I’m going to try planting Basil in the pots with my tomatoes. They make good companion plants and help to keep weeds and pests at bay. I haven’t tried it before but it seemed like a very sensible idea especially as I often harvest them at the same time for salads.

  9. Won’t earthing them up to the stem cause it to rot? or do toms not do that? Is it like earthing up potatoes?

  10. Nice looking seedlings – hopefully mine will survive the summer weather: though they are saying it should be a warm one this year.

    I’ve got down the path of having a large number – that way some should make the grade. I’m also going to see whether grow-bags or planting directly into the makes a difference: this whole gardening malarkey seems to be gaining experience through trial and error.

  11. I’ve transplanted mine a couple of weeks ago! i’ve also started sowed cherry tomato for late summer and early Autumn harvest. :] I find noting easier then growing tomatoes.

  12. I agree with you by trying to keep the rain off the leaves to help with blight.

    If you do get some lower down on the plant I’d just remove the leaves and hope for the best.

    You can spray with something like Dithane,or if you prefer a more Organic alternative then there are some Copper based sprays, which although not 100% effective may help.

    The Weather forecasters reckon that we’re in for a dry Summer this year anyway ,so that will help.

    Yeah right !

    I’m tinkering with some of that Neem Oil this year (derived from an Indian tree’s seed) which apparently has amazing natural anti fungal/pesticidal properties and seems to be a cure-all but I cant find an emulsifying agent that’s plant friendly, so I can’t spray it onto things until I find one.

    You can buy Neem based products from the USA but it’s not cost effective for me.

    I think that erecting a see through rain cover’s your best bet.

    Good luck !

  13. I hate to be a predant (no, actually quite I enjoy it!) but I couldn’t help squealing a bit at the pic of you grabbing the little tomato seedling by the throat. It really is much more beneficial to hold on to the leaf of any seedling when transplanting – you may think you’re being gentle, but they do bruise very easily and that isn’t good for them at all!

  14. Hey Anna – of course, you’re right! Will remember to do that next time. Sometimes I get too excited!

  15. I’ve been doing lots of the same recently too. I was just going to mention you holding it by the stem too! Always hold by the leaves – the stems are very sensitive and are easily damaged. Understandable that you got excited though!

  16. With regard to keeping water off the leaves of tomato plants, I think I heard that it is not a good idea to water tomatoes at night. Early evening on a warm day is fine, so it has a chance to evaporate before the cool of the night, but otherwise morning is best.

  17. Remember to thoroughly clean fall garden debris before planting those beautifully looking tomatoes in the garden. If blight appears the first step is to remove all of the damaged leaves. If it does not help, then remove affected plants. Dispose of infected leaves and plants away from your garden, that’s important! Good luck!

  18. Ive heard that when rain hits the soil the blight spores are kicked up into the air and drift onto the plants. covering toms protects them from spores that are airborne and brought down with the falling rain or from splashes of soil. Last year was fine for me, but others nearer the big river where its moister had some bad blight.

    Another thing is ensuring good airflow through the plants, overly bushed, untrimmed plants increase moisture levels and chances of disease due to poor airflow.

    Vancouver Canada!

  19. Thanks for the tip Rooster – last year I grew my Tomatoes against my south-facing wall. This year I think I’ll go for open ground to give them more air circulation.

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  21. hello – great tomato conversation. Now I was hoping for a bit of help. Some of my tommies have already got flowers which seem very early (they are in a greenhouse) Some of them have also got off colour leaves, they are a yellowy green – is this the first sign of blight or is it too early in the year. Next question, having read all this I realise that my greenhouse is now in exactly the same spot as where my tommies died horrible deaths at the hand of blight last year – they were in pots and they are again this year – given that, should i be ok – or do I need to get my plants out sharpish?

  22. Hi Adam,

    Sounds like Magnesium deficiency. Do you have a sandy soil? Or have you been over feeding them maybe? RHS recommends spraying with Epsom Salts.

  23. I’d not considered when was best for watering tomatoes. So far I’ve been watering them in the morning or early afternoon as that’s when I’ve been able to get over to my allotment.
    We’ve been experimenting with how to set up autowatering systems too which could be useful later in the year.
    I’ve got some more seedlings which will need potting up very shortly on top of the 4 plants I’ve already got over in my greenhouse.
    I think it’s time to start off some basil seeds for growing next to them too – then I’ll be able to have a delicious home grown tomato and basil salad!

  24. Hi! I’m growing tomatoes for the first time! They are all in 10″ pots right now. I think I’ve made an error by re potting two plants to a pot though! I know the next stage should be grow bags but I’m not sure what they should look like or if I should be adding feed at this stage! Aaaaaghh! Help!

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