I just posted all about the does and don’t of transplanting, but I want to add something about tomatoes, they defy our rules!! Most Santa Fe gardeners as far as I know, grow or buy tomato starts, (planting them from seed in the garden after May 15th rarely yields fruit). They take a long time to really get going and love hot days and cool nights, so greenhouse grown starts are really the way to go. If you have tomatoes that are tall, leggy and spindly, they may have not been getting enough light in your window sill. But not all hope is lost, as tomatoes are incredibly adaptable and can be brought to life in the field in a magical way.
Tomatoes are what is called adventitious rooters, meaning they will sprout roots from leaf nodes if they are exposed to soil. This is due to a hormone called Auxin in the stem. Light kills Auxin, but when it is buried under ground it works to stimulate root growth, which means…you can break off the bottom leaves of the tomatoes, leaving just a few a the top
Now make a nice deep hole,
and bury the tomato all the way up to the top leaves
out of where you pulled those leaves off, roots will grow!
Don’t forget to make a moat around it to catch water.
Also you may have noticed in the pictures that this little guy had developed a flower in the greenhouse
So I just pinched it off before transplanting. A plant needs to get good and strong before thinking about reproducing. More flowers will come when this guy is big a strong and can support fruit. So there you have it. Tricky little tomatoes, but oh so wonderful.
I had big plans of planting all 70 of mine Sunday, but the blessing of rain slowed me down, not only is it wet work to plant in the rain, but mucking around in the garden in the rain creates a mess and can compact the soil badly. Better to wait a couple of days to let things dry out and get back to that ‘moist as a rung out sponge’ feel. Works for me, I will harden them off and plant them this Friday or Saturday– both are fruit days FYI!!
P.S. After I wrote my whole post on transplanting, I came across a similar article in Organic Gardening, so if you still need some guidance, they mention a few things I left out, they are the pros after all! Happy Planting!