Nursery Bought Plants

If like me, you have not raised your plants indoors with some heat, and you would like a few tomatoes earlier, it is not cheating to buy some nursery raised plants. Your own plants will give you a later production, which is not a bad thing.
Just make sure that they are healthy, and not over leggy. These plants are just ready to pot on, and have obviously been grown in a heated greenhouse.
I bought a few cucumbers at the same time, as you can see.

Take off any damaged seedling leaves, they have done their job, so it will not harm the plant. If you see a damaged part of a leaf, cut this off too.

Remove the shoots from the seedling leaves, and any others on the plant at this stage. For bush style plants (determinate) you will not need to de-shoot, but at this early stage, I find it better to remove all shoots on all types of plants to help stimulate the main stem growth.

Water all your plants before you pot them on ,this will stop the roots lying in very wet compost, your compost should be moist before you fill the pots, especially if it is an overcast day. As you are not really disturbing the root system, the plants will not suffer and if the compost is too wet, they will not grow and search out more water. So hence your pot compost should be very slightly drier to start with.

Make sure the peat blocks are well drained before you handle them, or they could break up and damage the roots. Peat blocks are ideal to re-pot the plants without disturbing the root system. Which is why many commercial growers do not prick out seedlings from a large tray, they just directly sow into individual peat blocks.

 If the plants have been well cared for should have, nice healthy roots. Leave them any longer and you will have too much root.
Try to handle the plant by the peat block, as you could damage the stem, by holding it like this. I just did this one to get a good picture, but if you have to hold the stem to get the first plant out, just be very gentle with it.

Fill the pot roughly half way up, this will give the roots a chance to grow down into the compost. Do not firm the compost down, but gently tap the pot on a hard surface to make it compact a little. Gently fill the pot with more compost, to just below the block. This way, when you water the pot, the fresh compost will not be too wet around the base of the stem. Again, just gently tap the pot on a hard surface.

Space the pots on a raised surface to get maximum light. The leaves should not be touching, so as to gain the maximum light for the plant. Keep spacing them wider as they grow. If it is a really sunny day, give them a very light watering with a fine rose, and keep them slightly shaded for the first day. Do not forget to label all the plants.

Here are my own little seedlings sown in the poly tunnel in front of the nursery raised plants. It will be interesting to compare both sets of plants as they grow. I will just pot my own up once, into a small pot, when they are big enough to handle.

Please feel free to ask any questions on here, or pop on my new forum, as that will help future viewers if they have a similar question. Also please add any tips of your own. My way is just that, a way that works for me, but I am sure many of you have your own very successful way of growing.
There is no such thing as a silly question, we all have to learn, and the best way is from each other. There are many crops that I have to ask about and  to me, they seem like simple questions, but I am never afraid to ask.
One final point, light is the most important factor to a plant at this time of the year. The most common problem that I see is leggy plants, plenty of growth, but it will really delay production and the plant will be totally out of balance. Speed is not the essence, quality is.

Just a little tip for this time of the year.  You are trying to create a good root system, so do not over water.  You could create a lack of oxygen by saturating the compost and some roots could die. The roots will grow better if they are slightly searching for water, but without letting the plant wilt at any time.
If you have a heated greenhouse it is not quite so critical. With an unheated greenhouse you are governed by the weather a lot more.
Another point is that plants need more nitrogen at this time of year, for growth, not fruit production. Nitrogen is easily washed out with over watering. There should be enough in the compost until they are planted out, so do not over water and wash it all out. A little and often, is far safer, than too much at one time.



  1. Hello Mr Tomato. Why do you only love tomatoes? Anyway, after seeing all your healthy tomato plants, i planted 4 in my garden. All flowered beautifully but only one had given me 4 small fruits. I just pulled them all up yesterday and tossed into the bin. I guess planting cherry tomato is more easy for a beginner like me. Anyway anyway, thanks for stopping by my blog. Good night!

  2. Hi Milka
    Actually I like cucumbers, peppers and melons as well. But after having grown 1000's of tomatoes I just feel at home with them.
    Flowers just do it for me in the same way, so I leave that up to Mrs TK.
    Maybe I just like to grow what I can eat.

  3. Thanks for the info - have grown tomatoes and courgettes (lots) among other things for a number of years but always keen to learn. We have sown most of ours from seed, but have bought 5 special varieties, already potted on individually. They are getting quite big so I'll move them apart a bit tomorrow as I noticed this evening the leaves are touching - thanks for the tip. I guess this applies to courgette seedlings too - I may need a bigger greenhouse!

  4. We all need a bigger greenhouse Jacqui!
    I think 'light and space' are my words for the month.
    Lets have some pictures on the forum, sounds like you are doing well.

  5. Hmm. Then i think, Mr & Mrs TK must be eating a lot of tomatoes everyday. Ha. Thanks for the reply.

  6. Mrs TK has just posted some tomato recipes on the forum, you can see the wonderful dishes she creates.
    Well I had to say that, lol.

    But to be fair she does tell me every year to grow less.

  7. This info is invaluable! Once I planted tomatoes on my balcony. It was a great success. I am going to do the same thing this year.

  8. Hi Olga

    Thanks for your kind comment. I had a quick look at your blog, some great photos on there.


  9. Thank you, Steve.
    I love tomatoes and eat them everyday. As I sad I am going to plant some this year. Unfortunately squirrels in my area love them too:)


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