IM001059The next step in my transplantation process is assembling the plant supports that custom-fit my self-watering containers.  These pieces conveniently snap together, but I also tie them with twine for extra security.IM001060


Flagstaff at 7000 ft. still has nighttime temperatures in the low 30’s to 40’s in early May–much too cold for our high-maintenance tomatoes (remember, 55 to 85 degrees!).  “Walls-o-Water” help create a mini-greenhouse effect for optimum temperature for my young plants and afford some wind protection, too.  I will use one per plant, two per container.  I fill them with water and let them be warmed by the sun for a few days prior to planting.

IM001073Next, the moment I’ve been waiting for, planting the plants.  I dig each hole to the bottom of the container in order to sink each plant to the bottom, leaving only the top-most leaves exposed  (maybe 4 to 6 leaves), trimming the leaves that will be under the soil line.  The plants will then root from the stem (remember adventitious roots?), establishing a vigorous root system quickly. I also soak the plants in IM001074Great Big Tomatoes liquid compost at the recommended dilution for a few minutes before transplanting to give them an extra boost. I give each plant a rousing pep-talk and stand back to watch them GROW!

Contributed by Jim Mast