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Member discussion regarding the methods, varieties and merits of growing tomatoes.

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Old April 19, 2018   #16
bower's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Posts: 5,596

IMO the key to minimize transplant stress is (a) really good roots on em, and (b) warm soil.

I do think you can go too far with letting the plants get rootbound by being in a small pot too long, but OTOH I think it's optimal to transplant when the roots are just filling the container, so the root ball comes out holding the soil. Many times I've just planted that "beer cup shaped" root ball with no interference, and the plants hardly blinked at being transplanted - if the soil was not cold. Did not affect future root growth either as by the end of season my containers are chock full of roots.

The plants I've seen suffer badly from transplant stress were either moved too early - before they had filled the cell or pot - or for some other reason had not developed a good root system by planting time, so the soil fell off them when the pot was removed. That stage of root development can be really stressed and I think some that we put in at the farm didn't even make it. I don't usually see any wilting or other sign of stress if the roots are full and strong.

With the methods I normally use, the beer cups are nicely rooted in 6 weeks which is also when most plants reach leaf seven and start making flower buds. Sometimes don't get planted until 8 weeks, but I do think 6 is better if possible. If the plant is ready to flower and set fruit, you want the nutrients to be available for that, and best achieved in the permanent spot.. So there's a middle ground for the best timing.. but has nothing to do with removing buds.. JMO
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Old April 19, 2018   #17
ddsack's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Northern Minnesota - zone 3
Posts: 2,822

Exactly what Bower said! I do like she does and have experienced the same results. Having a more limited growing window than people further south, I need to have larger seedlings that will take off when put in the ground and produce quickly. No blossom plucking.

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Old April 20, 2018   #18
joseph's Avatar
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Cache Valley, N/E of The Great Salt Lake
Posts: 1,226

The varieties of tomatoes that I grow are very precocious. They start flowering as early as the 4th leaf node. And once they get into the garden, they grow robustly, so there is plenty of energy for flowers/fruits.
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Old April 20, 2018   #19
DonDuck's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Corinth, texas
Posts: 670

Last week, I was concerned about my tomato and pepper plants freezing. This weekend they are growing and blooming and setting tomatoes and tiny peppers. All of my tomato plants are bursting with new growth. My moderate heat and sweet peppers are growing slowly and blooming slowly. My really hot peppers are just setting in the garden looking pretty. They typically don't do anything until the really hot weather arrives. Then they are off to the races trying to catch up with the other plants in size and production.
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