A Tip For Transplanting Tomatoes

June 8th, 2010 - filed under: The Farm » Flora

Ahhh, tomatoes, the ruby gems of the garden treasure chest. Fresh-from-the-yard tomatoes are one of summer’s true delights, the crowning jewel in countless warm-weather dishes. If there was only one thing I could grow, it would easily be tomatoes. Hands down. No questions.

And you can too! No matter where you are in the northern hemisphere, it’s not too late to grow your own little slice of the red heaven. You might not be able to start them from seed, but you can certainly get some seedlings planted. Just don’t delay! You’ll want to get these babies into the ground ASAP.

And if you want the strongest, hardiest, most fruit-bearing transplants ever, here’s what you’ve gotta do:


Begin with your tomato start (hey, is that a tp roll?). With very sharp scissors, cut off each leaf ‘branch’ at the base, leaving only the leaf cluster at the very top.


In your garden bed dig a long shallow trough. If you have it, lay some compost along the bottom. Then lay the tomato plant on it’s side in the trough (atop the compost). If you don’t have compost that’s fine.


Carefully cover the tomato plant, roots and stem, so that only the top leaf cluster is exposed. Pat the soil down firmly and water the transplant into its new home. Voila!

The stem will send down shoots at each of the trimmed nodes, ensuring a sturdy root system capable of maximum mineral extraction. Thus, tomatoes transplanted in this manner tend to have a much higher yield.

Good luck in the garden!

  • Karen

    Aw damn! My tomato plants are already well past that stage (they’re huge! planted them in early April), but next year I’ll be trying that for sure. Thanks for the tip!

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/vtgrrl Carolyn

    Somewhat unrelated, but I know you have a dog (or two dogs?). How do you keep doggie snouts out of your compost? Everywhere I use compost my beagle digs it out and munches on it.

    That said, I am going to plant some ‘matoes this weekend!

  • http://www.youthfarmers.blogspot.com Youth Farmer Mia

    are you having any trouble with slugs? they just demolished a brussel sprout bed in 4 days. all we have left are brussel nibs. We’re going to try yeast&honey traps, and some copper…any suggestions?

  • http://www.nursingschoolsinfo.com/ nursing schools

    My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Karen – Yes, a new trick to try next year. Not that it sounds like you need it – congrats on the huge plants! =D

    @ Carolyn – Barriers! This year we built an actual fence around my garden, to keep it safe from the pooches and chickens. Last year I DIYed it low-budge style, with some twine. Bottom line, you have to either enclose your garden somehow or else keep eyes on animals at all times.

    @ Youth Farmer Mia – YES! Slugs are the bane of my garden. I refuse to just straight up kill them (beer or salt or something) but I’m not opposed to feeding them to the chickens! If you put a flat piece of wood like a board or a plank down on the ground, they’ll go under there to hide during the day. Then you can turn it over, collect them up, and relocate them to somewhere less intrusive.

    I’m also installing copper this weekend. I HATE SLUGS!!!

    @ nursing schools – Oh golly gosh, thanks so much, that compliment totally compels me to click on your name link!

  • http://thegreengeek05.wordpress.com Courtney

    Thank you for this! I’m hoping that we’re going to be moving soon and I’d love to start some tomatoes. Even if it has to wait until next year, this will be so useful! My mom has never had any luck with tomatoes. I think I know why now.

  • http://www.youthfarmers.blogspot.com Youth Farmer Mia

    We’re trying to not harm the banana slugs and such, but there is a serious imbalance on our little plot – the trees are COVERED in the beasties…your chickens would be feasting out here. : )

    we’re going to try everything (copper, traps, wet newspaper balls, planks) and see what works best over the next few weeks. I’ll let you know what we figure out.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Courtney – Good luck! Tomatoes can be *really* tricky little beasts.

    @ Youth Farmer Media – I hear ya! I’m all about veganic gardening when possible, but if those little critters are seriously killing your garden . . . well, self defense is justifiable. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to take a more direct and deadly approach. But good luck!

  • http://www.organicfoods101.com/ Organic Foods

    Very good suggestions, I’m going to bookmark this and come back to it. I’m curious if you have any follow ups to this post?

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Organic Foods – No follow up specifically to this post, but you can check out the whole garden section here under ‘flora’.