Tomato Plant Stakes When it comes time to plant your tomato seedlings there are a number of steps that should be followed to give them the best chance at survival. This is a critical time for your young plants and there are a number of things that you can do which will either hinder or harm them when it comes time to transplant.
The very first thing that must be considered is location. Where are you going to plant your seedlings? The location that you choose has to have plenty of sunlight throughout the whole season. At least 10 hours a day is good. Tomato Plant Stakes
Tomatoes like air circulation but young plants will dehydrate very quickly in a wind tunnel. Make sure that there is plenty of open air around them and if your area is constantly subject to very high winds that you have taken this into account.
Now let’s take a look at your seedlings… are they strong and stocky or long and leggy? Seedlings that have been grown with insufficient exposure to light or air movement are bound to be long and leggy and you will have problems if you aren’t careful. I will address this further on in the article.
Now let’s take a look at your soil. Hopefully you will have already taken a soil sample and had it analysed and you will know that your soil is nicely balanced for you new babies. If you haven’t done this then I strongly suggest that you do so. Tomato Plant Stakes Planting plants in bad soil is not something that you want to do.
Alright, so now we are ready to plant… leave the seedlings in their peat pots if that is what they are in. (Or gently tap them out if they are older plants you are transplanting from pots)
Plant the seedlings so that the highest branching is about 3 inches above the soil (roughly half of your plant should be below ground) we want the roots deep enough to stay in the soil but we don’t want it too far down in the cold.
Cover the plant around with soil and gently firm it down. If they are Indeterminate plants that will be growing tall then stake them (but don’t drive the stake through the root ball keep it about three inches away).
Water them in thoroughly with some tepid water, give them a good soaking initially. If you want to give them a boost then use some fish emulsion here.
I generally don’t believe in fertilizing freshly planted young plants, however if you have your heart set on it then make sure that you use a weak solution, half strength should be ok, keep the fertilizer at least 3 inches away from the stem of the plant so that you don’t burn it.
About a fortnight after place a good layer of mulch around your now healthy growing little plants. Roughly 3 inches should do it. This will aid in water retention in the soil and make it easier for you to maintain them. Tomato Plant Stakes
As you can see the act of planting (or transplanting) your tomato plants is really very simple it is really mostly the preparation steps that will mean the difference between having fantastic healthy crops and mediocre ones. Of course this is the way with gardening in general, most of the truly important work is in the preparation.
Now, as for trench planting those long and leggy seedlings. The art of growing seedlings correctly is a subject in itself and at this point in the game it is too late to do anything about them anyway. The best idea for long, leggy seedlings is to trench plant them.
The problem with long seedlings is that, if planted normally, the root ball will end up too deep in the ground. This can lead to a variety of problems and you simply don’t need to buy the trouble.
The procedure to rectify this is very simple, instead of plant directly down into the soil, dig a horizontal trench at a shallow angle. The idea is to keep the root ball about 3 inches down. Right where it would be if your plants were strong and stocky.
Pinch off any leaves along the stem that will be placed in the ground and lay the plant in. Gently cover over and stake the new seedling on the other side of the stem from the root ball. Water it in thoroughly and you are good to go. Tomato Plant Stakes
Oh and one last thing if your location is notorious for Cutworms then take some precautions and wrap some tinfoil around the stem of the seedling. Protecting them using toilet roll holders, old (clean) tins or plastic cups also works.
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