Tomatoes growing season

(Question)

Hi, I live in Woodbridge , I planted romaine tomato’s seeds indoor.
Now that they are seedlings, when and how should I transplant them,I also want to grow carrots, when should I sow
Them and how deep.
Thx , take care

(Answer)

Hello, good to hear your tomato seedlings have come up. Make sure the seedlings are in a bright and cool location, if they are under grow lights keep the light 4 inches above plants. Do not allow them to dry out.

Transplanting time is when the first “true” leaves appear. Be very careful not to pinch the stems of the young plants at all. Where ever possible hold them by the leaves not the stem. Pot them up using potting soil. You can transplant them a little deeper than just the existing roots as tomatoes will root out from the buried stem and this will help keep the plants sturdy. Continue to grow in a bright cool position. By mid May it is time to start hardening them off by bringing them outside to a sheltered space or a cold frame. Hardening off is the process of slowly acclimatizing the young plants to being outside, a few hours a day for starters, then bring them inside, then out a little longer, then in, a routine you adhere to for a week or so.

For detailed information access http://www.garden.org.foodguide/browse/veggie/tomatoes getting started/357.

You can leave them outdoors unless frost threatens. Keep a vigilant eye on water levels and water from the bottom of the pots.

Transplant them to the permanent home in lively organic soil fed with a balanced diet of compost, decomposed manure, mulch and natural fertilizers, when all danger of frost is past. Situate the plants in an open sunny spot. Be sure to continue to keep the tomatoes well watered and fed (they will like a liquid fertilizer weekly) as tomatoes are heavy feeders. Ideally soak the soil not the plants,water well and deeply and do this in the morning not the evening. Mulch to maintain soil moisture and stave off wilt disease and blossom end rot. It would also be wise to have some supports in place ready for them to be secured to as they make their rapid ascent!

As far as companion planting goes it is worth noting that all members of the Brassica (Cabbage) family repel each other and should be kept apart. Tomatoes also dislike potatoes and fennel. Tomatoes are compatible with chives, onion, parsley, marigold, nasturtium, and carrots – which is good news as you are planning to grow this! Planting garlic bulbs between tomato plants can protect them from red spider mites.

Final word on tomatoes, if you smoke, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before you work in your garden, for tomatoes are susceptible to diseases transmitted through tobacco.

As far as growing carrots are concerned these are cool-weather vegetables, and can be sown about two weeks before the last expected frost in your area.  The seeds are very tiny and can be difficult to plant evenly. One way to help do this is to mix them with sand before you sow them to spread the seeds more evenly and reduce the need for thinning. You can also purchase seeds that have been coated with clay to make them easier to handle. Cover only very lightly with sand or compost when planting, because the seeds can’t sprout though too much soil. Keep the seed bed moist to encourage even germination. Carrots grow best in full sun. The soil should be average to fertile, well drained and deeply prepared. This last point is very important because you are growing carrots for the root, you need to be sure that the soil is free of rocks to a depth of 20-30cm (8-12 inches). This gives carrots plenty of space to develop and makes them easier to pull up when they are ready for eating. If your soil is very rocky or shallow one option is to grow in raised beds or select shorter, rounder varieties of carrots. As the carrots develop, pull a few of the more crowded ones out, leaving room for the others to fill in. This thinning process will give you an indication of how well they are developing and when they are ready to harvest. The root can be eaten at all stages of development. Big, bushy tops are no indication that carrots are ready for picking. As the roots develop, you will often see the top of the carrots at or just above soil level – a better indication of their development.

Good companion plants for carrots include onions, leeks and herbs such as rosemary, wormwood, and sage, these act as repellents to carrot fly (Psila rosea), whose maggot or larvae often attacks the rootlets of young plants. Also note that carrots and apples should be stored a distance from each other to prevent carrots taking on a bitter flavour.

Depending on where you live you may need to introduce barriers/protection against other local visiting wildlife who may try to relish your crop before you do!

If you have seed for your tomatoes or carrots left over keep these in a cool dark place as seeds can last up to 3-4 years.