More About Planting Tomatoes and Other Heat Loving Vegetables

carefully transplanting

carefully transplanting

Yesterday I posted a warning about planting tomatoes and other heat loving vegetables too early and suggested that planting after Memorial Day would be safe  Then I looked at the calendar and realized that Memorial Day is about a week early this year. Better to give you specific guidelines about the necessary conditions for success.  After checking my own opinion against the information available I have these instructions to share:

Plant when the nighttime temperatures will not drop lower than 55 degrees.  There are some who say they can get by as long as the temperatures don’t dip below the high 40s, and that may be true for some cold tolerant varieties, but to be safe stick with 55 degrees.  Wagon Hill is windy and on the cool side anyway.

Harden off. If your tomatoes have been living in a warm, controlled environment like a greenhouse, cold frame, or living room, they need a little time to get used to the wilder climate outside. Give them a few days to adjust to the swinging temperatures, harsh sunlight and strong wind by bringing them outside for a few hours, then increasing to half a day, a full day, and finally a day and night.

Choose a cloudy day, or the cool of evening. To alleviate seedlings from shock, transplant on a cloudy day, or if it’s not in the forecast, plan toward the end of the day, when air and soil temperatures cool and the sun is won’t scorch the young plants.

In the case of tomatoes, plant them deeply.  Tomatoes can develop roots all along the stem so planting them nice and deep builds a stronger root system that will provide more support for the crop.

Tickle the soil around the roots to loosen them from the root ball and to help them absorb the water you will be sure to give them.   Water well and often as the plants establish themselves.

And, just for perspective:  Imagine transplanting rice!  Hope this helps!

agri-rice-planting images