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Some of these seedlings are ready for potting.

I’m ready to move my large-enough tomato seedlings into 4 inch “Cow Pots”–1 seedling per pot. Tomato plants have the unusual-and-useful characteristic of being able to grow roots from the stems (adventitious roots), and I am going to take full advantage of this capability by sinking the seedling, “Jiffy Pellet” and all, into the bottom of the “Cow Pot” and cover the stem in potting soil all the way up to the bottom of the two leaf sets. This way, the plant can develop a larger, stronger root system faster. I will employ this “root-from-the-stem” method later when I transplant the tomatoes either into a larger container (my preference), or directly into the garden.

I put the “Cow Pots” and their new little charges into the larger tray and water them with a dilute solution of–guess what–Great Big Tomatoes liquid compost. I then re-adjust the height of the fluorescent hanging light so that it is just above the tops of the plants. The plant tops must be only an inch below the light bottom AT ALL TIMES to force the plant to develop the desirable short, stocky stems and avoid becoming “leggy” or “lanky.” I have the light on a timer–ON 16 hours and 8 hours OFF. The heating mat stays under the tray to maintain the appropriate 75 degrees. GROW plants–GROW!

Contributed by Jim Mast