Cathy Isom continues her series on tomatoes by filling you in on when to transplant tomatoes seedlings outdoors. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
When to transplant tomato seedlings outdoors will depend on your last frost date and the actual weather. Err on the side of caution; if you put the plants out too early they could be killed by a late frost or set back by a cool spell.
Tomatoes planted a little later in the season will quickly catch up to earlier transplants that have been stunted by the cold. In general, when nighttime temperatures remain steadily above 50 F, it is safe to begin hardening off your seedlings. This should be about 4 to 6 weeks from when you potted up and your plants are now several inches tall, with some branching. When you are finally ready to plant your tomatoes in the garden, try and choose a cool or overcast day. Plant your tomatoes deeper than they are in their pots so that new roots will form all along the buried stem.
You can plant them all the way up to the top couple of sets of leaves, if possible. This is especially good if your plants have gotten too tall indoors and you want them to become stockier and stronger. If you can’t dig deep enough, you can always plant them sideways, in a furrow. The top of the plant will find the sun and grow upright in a few days.
I’m Cathy Isom…