Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Repot tomato plants now for better yields


With the weekend storm reminding us there’s still a ways to go before we can plant our tomatoes outside in the garden, now is the time to repot your seedlings into larger containers. Your tomato plants will handle the move to outdoors and produce better fruit later on, if they have a strong root system.
Tomatoes have what are called adventitious roots. They can produce roots all along the stem. All of the fine hairs you see along the stem of a tomato are capable of producing roots. You can take advantage of this characteristic by potting-up your starts into larger, deeper containers. This will give your tomato plants a chance to develop a bigger root system.   Developing more roots means more water and nutrients being taken up by the plant, which will help produce a healthier plant and more fruit. Repotting also lets you move from seed-starting mix to potting soil. Seed-starter mix doesn’t have any nutrient value. A potting mix like Happy Frog® contains earthworm castings, bat guano and beneficial microbes which will encourage large roots and leaf growth.
Start by laying your tomato seedling on its side and gently slide it out of its pot.
If it’s really root bound, cut open the pot.
Next, remove the lower leaves.  
Put a scoop of Happy Frog® in the bottom of the new pot.
Set your tomato seedling as deep as you can, than add more Happy Frog® until the pot is full. Water thoroughly and then put your plants back under the lights.  Repotting also gives you the chance to check your plants general health. Purple stems and leaves can indicate a magnesium deficiency. Give it a week or so in Happy Frog® and if it doesn’t clear up, add some Botanicare Cal-Mag Plus.
It’s also a good idea to run your hand across the plants periodically. This will help build strong stems. Running a small fan in the room will do the same thing.
In about 10 days or so, start feeding your plants a mild fertilizer such as Age Old Organics Kelp. This will help supply a small amount of nitrogen and phosphate to the plant without burning it. A healthy tomato start will have less set back when you do move it outdoors, which means you’ll be picking more tomatoes sooner.

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