How To Choose A Tomato Seedling

The first step in Tomato growing is deciding what type of tomato plant to buy or grow. We will cover all the common types of tomatoes in another post, but in this one I want to go over the one of the most important aspects of tomato growing. Whether you grow you plant from seed or buy a seedling at a nursery or home improvement store how your plant starts out sets the tone for how well it will grow and harvest.
  • Transplants should be chosen carefully. Keeping your tomatoes disease free is hard enough as it is you certainly do not want to start out with a diseased plant.

  • Look for brown or black spots on the leaves as this may be bacterial spec or spot. This disease is almost incurable and just a few specks on the leaves mean a failed or less than ideal crop. Bacterial diseases can also spread to other plants in your garden by touch so be mindful.

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  • Look for any yellowness or purplish color in the leaves. I will go over the symptoms of these in other posts in detail but in short. General yellowing of the leaves and plant is nitrogen deficiency, yellow edges on the leaves could be a sign of potassium deficiency, purple color to the leaves is phosphorus deficiency.
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  • Look for trunk size and overall plant stature. If a plant is long and slender with few leaves it has been sun starved. For seedlings sunlight is VERY important the first two weeks during the seedlings life. The first two weeks typically determines the size of the stalk of the plant. If you want a plant to grow large and produce you need a strong thick stalk (or trunk). Too little sunlight and the plant will stretch and grow tall. When this happens, it makes a skinny stalk and it will be difficult to get the plant to produce at its optimum potential. You want to look for a short stocky plant with lots of leaves and NO blooms. Blooms are a sign that the seedling is older and the growth has been suppressed either by drying it out or by a chemical agent.
If you grow your plant from seed yourself take care to do the following:
  • Keep them wet but not so wet you can pinch water out if the top of the soil.
  • DO NOT WATER THE LEAVES keep your trays or growing discs watered from the soil only. Simply put …water + leaves= disease.
  • Give them as much light as possible after transplanting (except in temperatures over 80 then they should have some shade during the heat of the day. As I have stated before it is imperative your young plant get plenty of sunlight to get it coming out of the gate healthy. If you live in a cold climate and grow your seedlings indoors, get a good multispectral grow light to give your little plant light as close to natural light as possible. If the plant gets too little sun it will stretch and become too tall and lanky.
    I will have follow up posts and touch on types of tomatoes determinate types, Indeterminate varieties, determinate hybrid, open pollinated, etc. Also a detailed post about the best way to plant your tomato. 
    I will have follow up posts which will focus on all types of tomatoes (Determinate varieties, Indeterminate varieties, determinate hybrid, open pollinated, etc.).
    I will also have posts on different varieties of tomatoes. We will cover Heirloom varieties, plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, and other hybrid tomatoes. Good luck and be sure to message me with questions or comments. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for more tips and tricks. I will do my best to answer any and all questions personally.
    Garden Boss

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