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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.