How to Transplant Tomatoes

Jaime got some cherry tomato seeds started awhile ago. They’ve had a great start, but now it’s time to transplant them into larger containers. See how tall and spindly this plant is?

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I brought the plants downstairs to the seedling room and got started.


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I had scrubbed out all the 1 gallon pots I would need. It’s really important to wash your containers out before you put another plant into them. Even though we don’t use fertilizers, they all still need a good scrubbing. By far, it would be best to do this outside in the warmth, and then let the sun dry out the containers. That’s not happening here, at least yet. I have far too many plants (and other things) on my plate right now.

I put some soil into the new pot, give it a bit of water, then turn my tomato seedling upside down. I make sure to splay my fingers on either side of the main stem in order to protect the seedling from splitting. When the plants are this tall, it is really easy to have the seedlings topple over and split their main stem.


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A nice looking root ball with some roots going all the way to the bottom (or the top of the picture). I should have watered all of these just before transplanting and you can see that the soil is dry.


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I like to very gently pull some roots apart so that as soon as they get soil packed around them, they are ready to start growing outwards instead of downwards.


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Once I set the plant in the pot, I pinch off one or both of the first leaves. This means I can bury the stem deeper which will really benefit the plant.


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Ready to be tied. I’ve just pushed a tall bamboo stake into the pot next to the stem. It’s tall enough that it can stay with the plant.

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Here’s what I use to tie my tomato plants. I love using these Velcro plant ties. I can cut a tie as long as I need and then carefully wind the tie around the stake and the plant.


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At least two ties to a plant this tall.


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See how easy it is to attach the ties? You just wrap the Velcro over itself! The last step is to give each pot a good watering. Remember that plants go into shock when they are transplanted, so do all you can to get them comfy as soon as you can.


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A few of the transplanted tomatoes, back upstairs sitting in the dining room. You can see in this picture how tall those plant stake are. All that’s needed now is light, warmth and water. These plants won’t go out to the greenhouse for another 3 weeks at the very least. It pays for us to get a good start on them indoors!

I am running out of room to keep moving things upstairs from the seedling room. We’ve taken over half of the dining room table now. Several flats of flowers and cabbages are hardening off on the porch.  It won’t be long now, and I can start transplanting into the garden and greenhouse.

More Seedling Pictures

Here are a few more pictures of some of the seedlings upstairs here. I took these this morning – there are probably 50 more plants still under lights here. These ones are all sitting in front of the windows up in the living room.

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Red Cabbage, Alyssum, Geraniums and Cosmos.


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Snapdragons, Alyssum, Cabbage, Zinnias, and a few Delphiniums


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The Peppers and a few Tomato plants.