Thank you for choosing to bring Tomato Girl seedlings into your garden!
Here are a few TIPS for optimal yield of crops!
Water Your Babies!
Water them in the morning! The plants use water most efficiently in the morning hours. Be sure to water the soil, NOT the plants themselves. Wet leaves cause problems like fungus or blight, and sometimes wet leaves get burnt on a hot day!
Keep your plants consistently moist, and definitely not dry! The roots need to be moist to grow, without it, your plants will get weak, and your tomatoes can develop blossom end rot. Inconsistent watering can lead to cracking or splitting tomatoes. You also want to be sure your plants are not overwatered. They'll get soppy and end up rotting. Once outside, on extremely hot summer days, water the plant twice--once in the morning and once after sundown.
Don't Forget Fertilizer
We have already fertilized the small cup of soil, but when you transplant, give the plant an all-purpose slow-release fertilizer or a tomato-specific fertilizer to help produce a better crop! Remember that Tomatoes are very heavy feeders and require more than just water and sun to truly provide you with an abundant crop. We will have our own Tomato Girl monthly fertilizer packets available in the coming weeks! Fertilizer is very important and not something you want to skip.
You are my SUNSHINE
SUN SUN SUN here it comes. Aside from water and fertilizer, you will need to find a spot for your plant where it will get plenty of SUNSHINE. Tomatoes plants thrive with at least 8 hours of full sun, but if you can't find a place with 8 hours of sun, 6 will do. Tomatoes are heat lovers, so do not leave them in a dark cool place.
When to Transplant
For at least the next week, keep your plant INDOORS in a very sunny spot. We refer to the farmers almanac for the last frost date, but the easiest way to know when the time is right, is by looking at the low weekly temperatures. When the night time low temperatures are steadily above 50 degrees F, it's safe to start transplanting your seedlings outdoors. We have been hardening off the plants for the past few weeks. (Which means introducing the tomato plants to the outdoors a bit at a time to make the transition easier for them.) You can continue this at home! Bring them outside on sunny days and back in when the sun goes down until you (and mother nature) are ready to plant them outside!
Plant Seedlings Deeply
When planting your seedlings outside, be sure to dig a DEEP hole. You want almost all of your seedling to be buried under the soil. All you need is a few leaves sticking out of the soil. So remove all leaves and branches except for the top few that will stick up and out. Roots will develop from the bare stems that are underground. Each of the little hairs on the stem should turn into a root which will strengthen the whole root system, making the whole plant stronger and healthier.
After you plant your seedlings, stake them! This will help you to avoid disturbing their roots later. Afterwards, drench your plants with water and wait! Be consistent with your watering and feeding. As the days get hotter, your plants will begin to flower.
The best defense against diseases of the leaves and the fruits is keeping your plants healthy and strong. Be sure to leave room between plants when planting them. They need good air circulation in order to thrive, and be sure to check them daily to catch any problems in the early stages.
Happy Planting! And remember, you can always contact Tomato Girl with any comments or questions!
(adapted from The Spruce)