The 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.
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.
Next, 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 Great 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