Transplanting your Tomato Plants: Moving from Pot to Garden
It doesn’t matter if you start your tomato plants from seeds or buy the small tomato plants that are already growing. At some point you are going to need to transplant them into a garden. When you transplant to a larger area, you allow the roots of the plant grow larger, which will eventually lead to larger fruit. Transplanting tomato plants is fairly easy and very beneficial.
The roots of the tomato move deep into the soil to bring water into the plant, thus nourishing the fruits that will grow. If the root structure is large and deep into the ground, the more water the plant can pull up to the fruits. In turn, the more water the fruit gets, the larger and more succulent the tomato will be when you put it on your plate!
One great way to accomplish this is to do it step by step. Move the seedlings from the small pot or container it was grown in to a gallon bucket or similar. Once it is there and growing well, establishing more roots, transplant that into the ground for the final planting.
Transplant to a Pot
If you are transplanting from seed or as an already established plant that you purchased, the first transplant should be when the plant is 6 – 8 inches tall. You will need to take a one gallon pot or pail and place the root ball of the plant directly on the bottom. Pinch off any leaves that are below the lip of the pot.
Fill the pot with a good quality potting soil. There is soil specifically made for tomatoes which is the right acidity and has the right nutrients. If you cannot find a tomato-specific variety, any potting soil can be used.
Get the Plant Used to the Elements
During the time the plant is in the pot, you will want to slowly get your tomato plants accustomed to the conditions outside. For their lives so far, they have likely never been out in the rain, wind and sun. They will need to get used to this as it will be a shock to their system.
By placing the 1 gallon pots we have recommended outside for a few hours of rain or sunshine during the day, you are making them heartier for when they are outside full time. Make sure you are giving them a break though, and bring them inside where it is likely warmer, at night.
Transplant to the Garden
When your tomato plant is about a foot tall, it is ready to transplant into a garden. Once again, you will want to take the entire plant, placing the root ball deep into the ground. Dig a hole so that when you put the plant into the ground, at least 2/3 of the stem is underneath the soil. Again, you will need to take those leaves off before covering them with soil.
Studies have been done showing that plants put deeper into the ground grow almost twice as large as those grown normally.