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Planting Tomatoes???

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Planting Tomatoes???

Post  BorderCollies on 4/14/2013, 9:03 am

Hi, I'm a newbie! Very Happy I'm new at gardening, and I'm planting tomatoes. I'll be planting more later on. My little tomato plants were planted about 2 or 3 weeks ago. I planted them in a rectangular container (with no divided sections). I'm not sure how many I planted, but now, some have their true leaves, and some are small and do not have true leaves yet. Should I transplant them into pots now or should I wait until all of them have their true leaves? How exactly do I transplant them? I'm going to transplant them into 3 or 4 inch square and circular pots. I'm going to put them outside on the porch where it's sunny and warm. I'm starting off by only putting them out there a few hours, then more. Then, once they are pretty big, I'm going to transplant them outside into a big patch of dirt, which is going to be my garden. It's in the full sun, and once they are big, when and how much should I water them? I live in Shawnee, Kansas, and it's really hot here in the summer. It can get up to 95 degrees, so I'm not sure if they're going to do well outside in the dirt during the summertime. Should I water them more then? Oh and, they are Roma tomatoes.

Sorry it's really long.. Thanks for your time!
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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  quiltbea on 4/14/2013, 11:20 am

Welcome to the forum.
You should transplant your tiny seedlings to the individual larger pots now. Bury them a little deeper than they were growing so the roots can spread along the stem and strengthen them.
Keep them in the sunshine indoors for 16 hrs a day under lights or on a southern window sill all day long. Not outside.
You only put them outdoors when they get bigger and you need to transplant them outdoors in the garden. It's called 'hardening off.' That's how you acclimate them to the weather outdoors, a couple of hrs the first day, then more and more hrs in the sun outdoors for about 7-10 days. Then you transplant them out in your garden about 4"-6" deeper in the garden, depending on how tall they are. You only want a few branches at the top sticking out of the ground. Remove any branches that will be buried below the soil.
That's the general method.
When's your last frost date? You may be starting them a little late but you have a long summer so it won't hurt. I think they'll have plenty of time to grow and produce.
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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  BorderCollies on 4/15/2013, 4:34 pm

@quiltbea wrote:Welcome to the forum.
You should transplant your tiny seedlings to the individual larger pots now. Bury them a little deeper than they were growing so the roots can spread along the stem and strengthen them.
Keep them in the sunshine indoors for 16 hrs a day under lights or on a southern window sill all day long. Not outside.
You only put them outdoors when they get bigger and you need to transplant them outdoors in the garden. It's called 'hardening off.' That's how you acclimate them to the weather outdoors, a couple of hrs the first day, then more and more hrs in the sun outdoors for about 7-10 days. Then you transplant them out in your garden about 4"-6" deeper in the garden, depending on how tall they are. You only want a few branches at the top sticking out of the ground. Remove any branches that will be buried below the soil.
That's the general method.
When's your last frost date? You may be starting them a little late but you have a long summer so it won't hurt. I think they'll have plenty of time to grow and produce.
Thanks! My last frost here in Shawnee is April 11-20. Can I put the little ones outside on the porch for a few hours? Can I move the plant from the east window to the west window at dawn and sunset times? Because my south window has a tree in front of it, so there's little sun. Right now, I'm mostly putting it in the east window where it gets a pretty good amount of sunlight.
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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  quiltbea on 4/15/2013, 6:08 pm

Yes, put it outdoors for a few hours first day, more the 2nd day and finally several hours a day for now. You can plant it outdoors anytime after Apr 20th but if you're going to get a freezing nite, be sure to cover the plants that are outside. You don't want them to get frostbitten. Keep it in the east window days, and west in the afternoons so you get the most sunlight you can.
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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  BorderCollies on 4/15/2013, 6:11 pm

@quiltbea wrote:Yes, put it outdoors for a few hours first day, more the 2nd day and finally several hours a day for now. You can plant it outdoors anytime after Apr 20th but if you're going to get a freezing nite, be sure to cover the plants that are outside. You don't want them to get frostbitten. Keep it in the east window days, and west in the afternoons so you get the most sunlight you can.
Okay, thanks! You're really helpful!
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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  landarch on 4/15/2013, 7:28 pm

BorderCollies...I'm very close to Shawnee and I look to plant my tomatoes in early May when the threat of cold evening temps is a bit less...covers will be neaded for cold weather, and then should be removed on warm days so the little plants don't cook in the sun.

We're supposed to have rather cold weather again this week so I am keeping mine indoors.
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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  BorderCollies on 4/17/2013, 4:56 pm

@landarch wrote:BorderCollies...I'm very close to Shawnee and I look to plant my tomatoes in early May when the threat of cold evening temps is a bit less...covers will be neaded for cold weather, and then should be removed on warm days so the little plants don't cook in the sun.

We're supposed to have rather cold weather again this week so I am keeping mine indoors.
I wish our weather wouldn't change so much! It's driving me crazy! First we get like an 80 degrees day, then comes a 50 degrees day with a chance of rain.
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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  BorderCollies on 4/17/2013, 5:07 pm

@quiltbea wrote:Yes, put it outdoors for a few hours first day, more the 2nd day and finally several hours a day for now. You can plant it outdoors anytime after Apr 20th but if you're going to get a freezing nite, be sure to cover the plants that are outside. You don't want them to get frostbitten. Keep it in the east window days, and west in the afternoons so you get the most sunlight you can.
How exactly do I transplant them? I used a fork and a spoon and lifted a small patch of dirt that held 2 saplings then buried them pretty deep inside the dirt. I think I might've damaged them a little bit. I only tried it on 2 because I feared that I would damage more. One of the little baby leaves got half ripped off, should I pinch it off or leave it?
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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  quiltbea on 4/17/2013, 5:22 pm

Border.....You can use a pencil tip or a fork to lift the seedlings gently and also hold onto the leaves.....not the stems. The stems will break too easily but the leaves are stronger. Make a hole in the new home with your pencil or fork handle and lower in the seedling a bit deeper than where it came from. Pull some soil around it and tamp down gently. Water it in.
Good luck.
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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  landarch on 4/17/2013, 5:59 pm

I grew my tomato seeds in Jiffy peat pellets...all I had to do was to remove the liner and plant the entire thing in a 3" pot...deep enough that the first seed leaves were just above soil line. There are some good youtube videos on how to transplant tomato seedlings if you have the ability to get to that site and search.
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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  quiltbea on 4/17/2013, 6:08 pm

Border.....How big are these seedlings? From the way you wrote, I thought they were big enough to be hardened off to go outdoors but then later it seems they are just seedlings and need to get potted up to a larger container.
Putting them outdoors is for larger plants that you want to get ready in a week to get transplanted outdoors.
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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  BorderCollies on 4/17/2013, 6:19 pm

@landarch wrote:I grew my tomato seeds in Jiffy peat pellets...all I had to do was to remove the liner and plant the entire thing in a 3" pot...deep enough that the first seed leaves were just above soil line. There are some good youtube videos on how to transplant tomato seedlings if you have the ability to get to that site and search.
OK, is it ok if I planted them in one of those aluminum rectangular baking things? It's unused and clean. The soil in Shawnee is pretty bad, so should I use it? I used store-bought seed starting mix, but I'm going to plant them into the ground once they're all grown up. Should I do anything about the drainage? Also, about suckers. Should I pinch them, or not? Some websites say to pinch them, but some say don't. Which is correct? Oh and, sorry if I'm a big question asker. Smile
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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  landarch on 4/17/2013, 10:53 pm

pics alway help...can you post any pics and we can better tell what stage your tomato seedlings are?

Here are a few of my tomato seedling pics through the steps.

Tomato seeds (coated) one in each peat pellet.


tiny seedlings up in a few days...kept warm and moist (sitting in a flat plastic bin).


different batch (not Jiffy peat pellets but in plastic flats with seed starting mix)...seedlings taller, still no true leaves.


seedlings considerably larger with thickened stems and good growth of real leaves...ready for potting up...may have let these go a bit too long.


potted up to 3" pots into soil mixed with vermiculite, planted deep. These have been hardened off to the outside sun and weather, but with the thunderstorms and threat of hail, I keep them indoors for now.


During the potting stage, I go ahead and pinch off the smaller of any double plants (I planted 2-3 seeds per hole with some of my tomatoes). When I pot-up, I try to move the root with as much soil in tact as possible. If any seedling looks stunted or unhealthy, I toss it and move on. When they are ready to plant in the garden, I'll plant them as deep as possible, maybe even removing some of the lower leaves in in the process. I like May 15 for a planting date in our area, but may try sooner this year as I'm running out space under my grow lights, and it's alot of work to keep moving them in and outside the house every day.

If you are using the Square Foot Garden soil mix for your garden, I would recommend using the same Mels Mix to pot your seedlings in...or purchase a seedling mix at Walmart (Jiffy, Miracle Grow, etc.).

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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  BorderCollies on 4/19/2013, 5:08 pm

@landarch wrote:pics alway help...can you post any pics and we can better tell what stage your tomato seedlings are?

Here are a few of my tomato seedling pics through the steps.

Tomato seeds (coated) one in each peat pellet.


tiny seedlings up in a few days...kept warm and moist (sitting in a flat plastic bin).


different batch (not Jiffy peat pellets but in plastic flats with seed starting mix)...seedlings taller, still no true leaves.


seedlings considerably larger with thickened stems and good growth of real leaves...ready for potting up...may have let these go a bit too long.


potted up to 3" pots into soil mixed with vermiculite, planted deep. These have been hardened off to the outside sun and weather, but with the thunderstorms and threat of hail, I keep them indoors for now.


During the potting stage, I go ahead and pinch off the smaller of any double plants (I planted 2-3 seeds per hole with some of my tomatoes). When I pot-up, I try to move the root with as much soil in tact as possible. If any seedling looks stunted or unhealthy, I toss it and move on. When they are ready to plant in the garden, I'll plant them as deep as possible, maybe even removing some of the lower leaves in in the process. I like May 15 for a planting date in our area, but may try sooner this year as I'm running out space under my grow lights, and it's alot of work to keep moving them in and outside the house every day.

If you are using the Square Foot Garden soil mix for your garden, I would recommend using the same Mels Mix to pot your seedlings in...or purchase a seedling mix at Walmart (Jiffy, Miracle Grow, etc.).

How do I put pictures on it?
And, I'm using Miracle Grow Expand N' Grow Concentrated Planting Mix.
I'll post pics once I learn how, but my little saplings are pretty small. They seem to be growing slower, is it because of lack of sunlight and heat? In the house, it's like 60 degrees, sometimes I'll put it in the restroom after someone takes a shower because of all the warm steam. Is that OK? In the morning, I put the plants in the East window. I have transplanted 2, not much, and I move them around. I put them in the South window up in a high room at about 4 P.M.

Is there any way to make a heat mat? How much should I water them?
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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  BorderCollies on 4/19/2013, 5:16 pm

@quiltbea wrote:Border.....How big are these seedlings? From the way you wrote, I thought they were big enough to be hardened off to go outdoors but then later it seems they are just seedlings and need to get potted up to a larger container.
Putting them outdoors is for larger plants that you want to get ready in a week to get transplanted outdoors.
Oh, they're pretty small. Sorry if I'm confusing you! They're only starting to grow their second set of leaves. I was just wondering if I could put them outside because it's kind of cold in the house, and there's not a lot of sun.
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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  BorderCollies on 4/24/2013, 5:53 pm

@BorderCollies wrote:
@landarch wrote:pics alway help...can you post any pics and we can better tell what stage your tomato seedlings are?

Here are a few of my tomato seedling pics through the steps.

Tomato seeds (coated) one in each peat pellet.


tiny seedlings up in a few days...kept warm and moist (sitting in a flat plastic bin).


different batch (not Jiffy peat pellets but in plastic flats with seed starting mix)...seedlings taller, still no true leaves.


seedlings considerably larger with thickened stems and good growth of real leaves...ready for potting up...may have let these go a bit too long.


potted up to 3" pots into soil mixed with vermiculite, planted deep. These have been hardened off to the outside sun and weather, but with the thunderstorms and threat of hail, I keep them indoors for now.


During the potting stage, I go ahead and pinch off the smaller of any double plants (I planted 2-3 seeds per hole with some of my tomatoes). When I pot-up, I try to move the root with as much soil in tact as possible. If any seedling looks stunted or unhealthy, I toss it and move on. When they are ready to plant in the garden, I'll plant them as deep as possible, maybe even removing some of the lower leaves in in the process. I like May 15 for a planting date in our area, but may try sooner this year as I'm running out space under my grow lights, and it's alot of work to keep moving them in and outside the house every day.

If you are using the Square Foot Garden soil mix for your garden, I would recommend using the same Mels Mix to pot your seedlings in...or purchase a seedling mix at Walmart (Jiffy, Miracle Grow, etc.).

How do I put pictures on it?
And, I'm using Miracle Grow Expand N' Grow Concentrated Planting Mix.
I'll post pics once I learn how, but my little saplings are pretty small. They seem to be growing slower, is it because of lack of sunlight and heat? In the house, it's like 60 degrees, sometimes I'll put it in the restroom after someone takes a shower because of all the warm steam. Is that OK? In the morning, I put the plants in the East window. I have transplanted 2, not much, and I move them around. I put them in the South window up in a high room at about 4 P.M.

Is there any way to make a heat mat? How much should I water them?
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BorderCollies

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Re: Planting Tomatoes???

Post  landarch on 4/24/2013, 6:57 pm

If they're pretty small you can set them out in the sun after you've hardened them off to the elements, however, they may need a grow light when you bring them back indoors.

I am not a tomato expert. My seedlings are of decent size but the cold weather, rain, sleet, hail, freeze warnings, etc. have prevented me from setting out overnight. I am tapped out in terms of space under grow lights so I just try to set them out for natural sunlight whenever I can.
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