Skip to comments.Weekly Gardening Thread (Transplanting Tomatoes) Vol. 10, March 9, 2012
Posted on 03/09/2012 10:51:08 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde
Good afternoon gardeners! After a high of 81 degrees yesterday, we are at 50 degrees today after experiencing high winds and 3 inches of rain last night. Radar would indicate that there is more rain to come, as I see it in Texas right now. I hope that all of our Texas gardeners are catching up on much needed rain! PTL!
We have so many new gardeners in our group, in addition to folks with the desire to begin gardening, that I thought a primer on transplanting might be useful. Please feel free to add to the discussion with your regular practices. And, as always, please feel free to ask any questions that you may have. This group loves to share information, and advice is free for the asking!
Because I plant over 100 tomato plants every year, I've got my transplanting down to a science that works for me and allows me to move down the row quickly. My tools are a bulb planter, a old spoon from the kitchen, a small bucket and several 2-liter soda bottles. (One day I'd love to do a thread on all of the common non-garden-related items we all use in our gardens.)
I start off my mixing up several bottles of a starter fertilizer, either the TNT pictured below, or Miracle Grow Quick Start. Whatever you use, make sure it is a low-nitrogen product, or you will grow lovely leaves and not much else. I also put some tomato food around the base of the tomato after transplant. Please notice the N-P-K formulation on these products. Similar products from any manufacturer are fine, these are what stores in my area offer for sale.
My tomatoes are planted through a commercial quality landscape fabric for weed control and moisture retention. It has other benefits, but weed control is my major concern. I begin by measuring off 30 inch increments and marking them on my fabric, then I go back and cut X's in the fabric and fold the corners under to access the soil.
Begin by digging your hole. I use a bulb planter because it makes the perfect diameter hole for a transplant that comes from a commercial 6-9 pack, or the small newspaper pots that I make myself. Tomatoes should be planted "deep", so dig your hole accordingly.
Here is an example of a bulb planter:
By "deep", I mean that you are going to plant more than just the roots, you are going to plant at least half of the stalk as well, up to 3/4 of the height of the plant is perfectably acceptable. Bonnie Plants, which supplies the likes of WalMart, Lowes and Home Depot garden centers, used to suggest 80% of the plant stem, but they have since backed that off to 2/3. This method is really the ONLY way to grow the strongest possible plant. Roots will develop on the entire length of the stem that is buried, giving your plants lots of roots to anchor the plant, as well as the ability to absorb more moisture and nutrients. In the photo below, the top of my index finger is indicating how deep I'm going to plant this tomato.
The next photo shows that I have pinched-off the leaves of the plant up to the point that I will bury the stem. This is not a required step, many folks let them stay, but it is my personal preference to remove them to avoid air pockets around the new roots.
Next, gently place your plant in the hole you've prepared. You can see from the photos below that there is enough room in the hole to surround the delicate roots with looser soil to accomodate quick spread and avoid transplant shock.
In the next step, you should replace the soil you removed with the bulb planter, just enough to cover the existing rootball. I use the small bucket to break up the soil and hold it until I'm ready to put it back. If you're not working on landscape fabric, of course you can keep the soil on the ground next to the hole. The important thing is making sure you break it up well.
Then water that soil in with your starter fertilizer/water mixture. Water until the loose soil is underwater and then allow it to soak in. It only takes a minute or less.
After the water soaks in and settles the loose soil, fill in the remainder of the hole, and build it up to a small pyramid. The next rain or watering will take that pyramid down to level ground and, if it doesn't, that's okay too. At this point if you have not already fertilized your soil, place a tablespoon or two of a good tomato fert around the base of the plant. DO NOT let the crystals touch the stem!
My final step is unfolding the landscape fabric to cover the soil, and standing back to watch the growth!
The Weekly Gardening Thread is a weekly gathering of folks that love soil, seeds and plants of all kinds. From complete newbies that are looking to start that first potted plant, to gardeners with some acreage, to Master Gardener level and beyond, we would love to hear from you.
This thread is non-political, although you will find that most here are conservative folks. No matter what, you wont be flamed and the only dumb question is the one that isnt asked.
It is impossible to hijack the Weekly Gardening Thread ... there is no telling where it will go and that is part of the fun and interest. Jump in and join us!
Do you have soaker hoses under that fabric? Or do you just water from above and/or rely on rain?
You and me both! I am so far behind.
I'm experimenting with Cuke and Watermelon seeds planted March 1 -- we'll see if anything happens before summer comes along and cooks everything off.
Back to tomatoes for a minute....the past two years now I have not caged 'em, letting the plants go "free range".....made a ton of difference, and we probably got four times as much fruit than if we'd used the props.
Thank you! Good luck on those maters!
Hoping that the rain keeps coming for y’all.
Great tip! I have several noodles out in the shed. We cut the large diameter ones into foot-long pieces, tie fishing twine and a hook on them and use them instead of jugs. The bright yellow and lime green really show up, even off in the weeds.
Y'all are too funny!
Yep. Just enough moisture and some shade are the perfect recipe for maters. Sounds like you've got tomato growing down pat!
I wish you luck with your taters. Soapy water with some bleach is the ticket with any containers, especially if you’ve found them, but a good practice with all containers.
Aggravate you whenever possible! Good morning!
I’m surprised it is so happy because it is in full sun almost all day (the nursery where I got it told me a.m. sun & afternoon shade). Mom picked the spot .... trying to replace an ancient ‘umbrella’ tree or some such thing that had to be replaced so what the camellia ‘likes’ wasn’t much of a consideration. The only thing I can figure out is that it is planted just inside an ‘L’ formed by the main house and an addition so it is somewhat ‘protected’, plus it is the east side of the house .... but I’ve watched when the house shadow gets to that spot and it is very late in the day. Anyway, it surely does look happy & appears to be thriving - we cannot believe the number of buds and the color should be absolutely stunning. I’ll post a pic when it finally does bloom.
I do have soaker hoses along my 3 rows of trellis, but not under anything else ... they were a new addition just last year. I "furrow irrigate", which is blocking off the low end of a row and flooding it with water. Easy and the water goes directly to the roots and there is little evaporation compared with using a sprinkler in 105 degree weather.
Woo Hoo! We’ve added 6 new members to the ping list so far this week!
This is my 40o sloping lot, retaining beds hard to make out. Notice lack of lakeview with drought. The white stuff in the view is limestone, which is what we all live on around here. No dirt pockets down at my shore to harvest, though.
I just went outside (chilly this a.m. - brrrr!!!) and looked at the two camellias dad bought yesterday & took some pictures. The one in this pic is called "Rose Dawn" (rose form to formal double rose flowers). The picture doesn't do it justice ... what a beauty! I think the deep pink shade is the most gorgeous pink I've ever seen .... no one does 'color' like Mother Nature.
The second camellia plant has no blooms, but is called "April Tryst". I looked it up and the bloom is described as 'red, anemone form'. They are a new "April Series" noted for excellent winter hardiness. This one blooms in April (but I don't see any buds on the plant he bought).
One of my other very favorite plants is lilac. Dad bought a couple of very small Daymon Lyman Lilacs that we will be planting this weekend ... description " considered by many to be the finest lilac, this gem features upright panicles of lightly fragrant pinkish-purple flowers in late spring; multi-stemmed and upright, forms a large ball; a superb specimen plant". We have an abundance of full-sun areas that should be great for these lilac bushes ... looks like we'll be watering a lot of new plants during the dog days of summer. :-)
Garden Journal/Diary Option
I am SO happy with some ‘freeware’ that I found recently that I just had to share it.
I hike and like to keep a record of all my hikes .. where, when, what happened, weather, what wildflowers are blooming, etc. I also want to keep track of birthdays, when I visit certain folks, and what I plant in the garden and when. I’ve kept the old timey hand-written calendar diaries, but my biggest problem with them is that they are not ‘searchable’. I might be wondering where and when & on what hike I saw that gorgeous Blue Flag Iris .. but I would have to look back through all my handwritten notes on hikes that occurred in a spring timeframe . and probably a couple of years worth to boot.
The solution to my problem has been RedNotebook (full disclosure: I am a happy user only!!). It is freeware .. it downloaded without a problem and I just love it. It is ‘html’, but they have some shortcuts built in which means you pretty much just start typing and you’re good to go. You can post pictures and links. It is SEARCHABLE .. there is a ‘word cloud’ so you can click on a word, but I use the ‘tags’ extensively that they allow you to set up. For instance, I have a tag called Gardening. If I put ‘Gardening’ in the search box, it will pull up every entry made under that tag, in date order. Today, I have had two entries, both about the new camellias we bought. I can look at the date list under ‘Gardening’ and see exactly when we got those camellias. I can also just search under the word ‘camellia’ and every time I used that word, the entry will show up.
I also have a tag called ‘Hike Tag’. I initially used the word ‘Hike’ as my tag, but it then pulls up every time I used the word ‘hike’, not just my tag entries (lesson learned: tag names require a little thought). If I type ‘Hike Tag’ in the search box, it will pull up all of my hikes I’ve listed under the ‘Hike Tag’ tag in date order. Or, I can type in the name of a hike like Rag Mountain & it will pull up every time I have mentioned Rag Mountain in my writing.
I think you can see the value of this for gardening you could have a ‘Tag’ for individual vegetables, plants, or products you are using for insects/weeds, a planting tag where you could list the dates you plant things.... the possibilities are endless.
I even have a ‘FReeper Posts’ tag where I keep up with all of the recipes I post on on the Recipe Thread, pictures I post, etc.
Again, RedNotebook is FREEWARE. Additionally, you can have more than one journal/diary .. you could have one only for gardening, one for family, one for trips you take .. etc. Currently I only have one where I’m keeping everything together, but I could see splitting off a separate one or two if I keep adding to RedNotebook at the rate I’m going now. If you think you might be interested in RedNotebook, here is the link:
I've seen people on Lake Travis do the same thing. I usually find some that blow out of boats every summer. Probably not this year. All the boat ramps are closed.
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