Here is the next entry in Tomato Jim’s ongoing process of growing tomatoes from seed to last fruit.

It’s time to move some of the seedling tomatoes into 4 inch pots!  The ideal size for this transplant is when the seedlings have two sets of TRUE leaves (past the cotyledons).  When smaller than that, the plants are not strong enough for transplanting and if they are very much larger, they will have outgrown their root mass and will not transplant readily.  Six seedlings are ready; 2 “Black Krim,” 2 “Tigerella,” 1 “Taxi” and 1 “Early Girl.”

What equipment do I need?  First, some 4 inch pots and I prefer to use “Cow Pots,” the cleverly-named compressed, composted cow manure pots that when planted later, along with its seedling into a larger container or right into garden dirt, naturally decompose and give a little extra bit of fertilizer into the surrounding soil for the season.  I also need a quality potting soil.  There are many commercial sterilized mixes available, but one that works well for me is “Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil.” I like that it contains bat guano, worm castings, shrimp meal and other good organic components (and sounds yummy–for plants!). This soil is also a source of organic nitrogen fertilizer which will be slow to release and not burn the plants. I have discovered that using Great Big Tomatoes helps make nutrients from the soil more available to the tomato plants roots in a form that they can use.

I have more labels ready and a larger tray to accommodate the larger-sized pots.  I’m all set!

Contributed by Jim Mast

tomato seedlings

My tomato seedlings are ready for transplanting.

transplanted tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings transplanted and continuing to grow.