Moving Tomato Seedlings

My fiance and I transplanted our tomatoes a couple of days ago, or rather “moved” them.  They’re not going in the ground quite yet, but they’ve outgrown their seedling pots.  Tomatoes have rather deep roots.

I bought some party cups because they’re cheap ($3.69 for 50), and about the same size as a small pot.  We’re giving away most of the seedlings.

If you use party cups, cut four holes in the bottom for drainage.

Makeshift pot

Makeshift pot

As I mentioned in my planting seeds post, we couldn’t just pop the seedlings out of the plastic containers, as they so claim.  We had to cut them (carefully!) down the side to remove the seedlings.

This should slide right out

This should slide right out

Get some potting soil, put it in the cups and make a big ‘ole hole in it – more than large enough for your newly displaced seedling.  Put it in the hole, and bury the seedling deep.

Should be much wider and a bit deeper

Should be much wider and a bit deeper

If you have more than one seedling in a pot (it’s a good idea to plant more than one seed, just in case one or more don’t come up), you’ll have to take them apart carefully.  Loosen up the root ball a bit.  Start at the top, where the stems are, and pry the plants apart very gently.  Once the soil is loose enough, and you pull gently enough, the rest will untangle itself.  Try not to break too many roots (if any).  This will hinder the growth of your plant.



See all the hairs on the tomato plant’s stem?  Those grow into roots if you bury them.  When you bury more of the stem, you allow the tomato plant to form a more stable root system.  What you want to avoid is a real “leggy” tomato plant.

Should be buried deeper, but you can see all the little hairs on this one!

Should be buried deeper, but you can see all the little hairs on this one!

Tomatoes like a lot of sun, so put them in a place where they get plenty of that.  If you’ve still got them indoors, put them on a tray so the water doesn’t leak all over your belongings.  Planning on putting them outside?  Start hardening them by putting them outside a little bit at a time, increasing time until they are acclimated to the weather.  Just remember, tomatoes like it warm.

It’s been a couple days since we moved them to the cups, and they’ve definitely gotten bigger!

LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE: It’s a good idea to plant more than one seed per pot, but don’t be a dummy like me and plant them right next to one another, and in the same hole.  Just my luck, nearly every single seed sprouted (may I recommend Victory Seed Company?).  They sprouted right next to one another – nay almost on top of one another!  This made getting the seedlings apart when moving them very very difficult.

INITIAL TIME INVESTMENT: About 3-5 minutes per plant.

DAILY TIME INVESTMENT: Same as with seedlings, 2 minutes – keep ’em watered and in the sunlight!


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