Planting a tomato seedling does not seem like a critical point in your gardening experience, but really every step is critical when you want to maximize your production and taste. Here are a few points to consider when you plant your seedling. (for those who seed your plants, I will have posts about that process later.)
- It is important to plant your plant deep at least to where the cotyledon leaves are below the surface of the soil. (cotyledon leaves are the first leaves that pop out after the see sprouts). You may even safely plant your little seedling up to a quarter inch below the first branch or fork of the plant. The stem that you plant beneath the surface will sprout roots and help to nourish the plant and give you a very strong base to build from.
- Plant too shallow and your plant will not sprout these extra roots and will not be as strong and will easily be blown over by wind and develop a inferior stalk and root system.
- Water moves down with gravity. As the soil dries naturally it dries from up to down so the deeper the roots of you little seedling the less chance of becoming too dry. .
- Make sure to water the hole that the plant will be placed in before and after it is planted. This will give the plant a first drink of water plus it will help seal the hole around the root ball.
- DO NOT PUT FERTILIZER IN THE HOLE! Unless you have some very weak liquid fertilizer. Transplants do not require much fertilizer at first.
- Advanced growers If you really want to help your little seedling take off, commercial growers use biological products in the planting water. These biologicals are typically probiotics or good bacteria or fungus that colonize your plants root zone. There are some products that can actually impede or kill fungi and other bacteria, however most work by a process called competitive exclusion. In a nutshell, the products contain good bacteria that colonize and basically outgrow the bad bacteria or fungi leaving them no space or food in which to live. Much like probiotics do in our bodies.
Remember not to overwater your seedling after transplant. If you pinch water at the surface with your fingers it is probably too wet, but you want some surface moisture. Too much water can cause diseases like Pythium, Rhizoctonia root rot, or Phytophthora root rot we will talk about these in other posts down the line.
Thanks for stopping by and Good luck. Be sure to message me with questions or comments. Follow my on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for more tips and tricks. I will do my best to answer any and all questions personally.