Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

Transplanting Tomatoes

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Remember that long, hot summer from last year and how just about everybody was talking about how hard it was on their tomato plants?  Lots of people didn't get any tomatoes or, if they did, the fruit was really small.  So I was bordering on ecstatic when we had so many tomatoes that we had to give them away and they were producing all the way up through November!

Get a little closer to your monitor.......no, closer.......perfect.  I'm about to tell you a secret about how we grow monster tomato plants. 

The secret is that tomatoes are magical.  Have you ever looked closely at a tomato plant?  Ever noticed those little hairs on the stem?  Those become roots if you plant the tomato plant deeper when you transplant it.  And more roots = stronger, healthier, more weather-resistant plants.  That's my kind of math!

So yesterday it was time to transplant the tomatoes out of their seedling containers and into much bigger pots.  They had gotten incredibly leggy in just a couple of days because they were competing for the fake sunshine from the fluorescent lights, but they weren't leaning yet.  All I had was 4" peat pots, but those are plenty big enough.  Those will be their home until we move them outside and transplant them in the permanent home in the garden beds. 

If you've got multiple seedlings in one container, you need to thin them first.  Rather than pull the unwanted plant, take a pair of scissors and snip them at the dirt level.  Pulling them out could damage the plant you want to keep.  Then I just removed the dirt, root ball and all and placed them in the bottom of the empty peat pot.  The final step is to hold the seedling upright while you fill in dirt around the stem.  You can bury these all the way up to the first set of leaves and the plant will grow roots everywhere it's buried.  And don't forget to give them a nice long drink after transplant - the best way to do this is encourage root growth by putting water in the tray and letting it wick up versus directly watering the plants.

Newly transplanted Roma and Beefsteak tomatoes and 2 Big Red Pepper plants (middle row).  They look identical, don't they?

When we get closer to transplanting these into the garden, we'll talk about the best way to do this, how, when and what to fertilize, and lots of other tips.

In the meantime, I'm pretty happy with how my little tomato and pepper plants are coming along.  And my jalapenos are looking pretty good also!

What's new in your garden this week?


  1. You are so right! When I settle mine in their final spot in the garden, I sink them down so far in the soil that just the top leaves are sticking out! Good post!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Clint! I didn't do this last year, but lots of people put a fish head in the hole before they plant their tomatoes. Have you tried that? I may just try bone meal or crushed eggs. Do you have any tomato "secrets" you'd be willing to share on your blog?

  3. I am going to try planting mine deeper this year. I never thought about that... Thanks!! can't wait to hear your other tips.

  4. Plant deeper? OK, I will. I love to read gardening tips. Always something new to learn. Manzanita from Wanna Buy a Duck

  5. Hi, Manzanita! Thanks for stopping by today. You can also lay your tomato seedlings sideways in the hole so that just the leaves and a little stem are sticking up. Then cover up the stem that is sideways. Same thing...the plant will grow roots all along the stem in the ground.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...