This short video provides a basic demonstration of transplanting a tomato plant. When you're ready to watch, hit the "play" button underneath the video. Note that Quicktime 7 is required.
Below the video you'll find a few frequently asked questions - if you have other questions, please feel free to send them to the address above.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: You mention an organic fertilizer - where do you get that?
A: I make it myself - it's rather simple. Complete instructions can be found here.
Q: Why would you want to transplant a tomato deeper than the level it grew in the pot?
A: I like to do it because setting the roots deeper means they don't dry out as fast during those long warm spring and summer days (which we actually do get... occasionally). I often do the same thing with pepper plants, and with any other vegetable that isn't picky about how deep it's planted - which of course excludes plants that grow in a rosette, like leafy greens.
Also, tomatoes have the ability to grow roots from any part of the stem that's underground. If you're buying your plants at a nursery or garden center, you likely will find the plant is root-bound (too many roots in too small of a space) - planting deep allows the plant to grow more roots more quickly, which may aid survival.
Q: I noticed that, when you put the tomato into the ground, you held the plant by the stem. I thought you were supposed to only hold it by the leaves when transplanting?
A: When a plant is small, or its stem is fragile, holding by the leaves is a good idea - that way you won't kill the plant if you accidentally pinch too hard. But at this point my tomatoes are quite tough and have strong stems.
Q: After you transplanted the tomato, you didn't firm the soil...
A: Air is necessary for both root and soil health; plus compacting your soil is not beneficial in general.
Q: After you transplanted the tomato, you didn't water...
A: It's much more beneficial to the plants if you water them before transplanting rather than afterward. Also, the soil in my garden isn't all that dry right now - if it was, I definitely would have watered afterward (although I'd probably wait until the next morning so as not to encourage slugs to visit my plants overnight).
Q: Do you have more information on growing tomatoes?
A: Yes. You can find all my articles on this topic (and others as well) linked from the Westside Gardener's Topical Index. There is also cultural information about tomatoes in my FAQ on Vegetable Culture.
Q: What are those tall plants behind you?
A: Mostly a vetch green manure crop that's dangerously close to going to seed! There are a few horsetails and some grass that have managed to get in there too, though.
All contents © Travis Saling
This page was last updated November 18, 2013