Repotting tomato plants

Can I repot tomatoes a third time? They've already gone from the flat, to an 8 oz. container, now in a 16 oz. container. They're already about a foot tall but can't go outside to harden off for about 3 weeks. I don't want to kill them. Thanks!
Linda
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container - mine were (last year).
Cheryl
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Sure you can... be sure the root mass fills at least 1/3 of the new container, or you're going to have to be really persnickety about watering. Are you seeing roots out the drainage holes? Are the plants wilting between the times you can water? If not, you don't have to repot yet.
Might want to start pinching those plants, too... usually indoor grown tomatoes are pretty gangly.
Kay
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Quoting Linda:

Sure you can. Be sure to plant deep into the new pot as more roots will form along any part of the stem that is buried.

Unless you live somewhere that the daytime temps are still regularly in the 30's - very low 40's, I'd recommend that you get those plants outside and put them in your garage/shed at night if necessary. It'll be much better than attempting to carry them under lights. Caveat: once you start the hardening off process, it's best not to put the plants back under lights.
After germination, I keep tomato seedlings under lights for the first couple or three weeks max, then out they go (after a hardening off period). In general, if it's forecasted to drop below 41 - 42 degrees or so, I put them in the garage for the night. What zone are you in?
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Hi -
I'm right on the line of Zones 6-7 (Maryland). Our temps right now are averaging 60's during the day and 40's at night. We do have a couple of nights coming up where it will only be in the upper 30's and daytime in the lower 50's. Can I still put them out now or wait until this little cold front passes? I have soooo many people telling me "it's too soon, you'll kill them". But I remember planting the garden last year the last week in April. I did have to cover them a few nights when it hit the low 30's just in case of frost.
I just hate it when people say "you can't plant the garden until after Mother's Day". Where did that idea come from anyway?
Thanks for your help!
Linda
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Linda wrote:

You've got three different temperatures to think about. Daytime air, nighttime air, and soil. If the soil hasn't warmed-up into the 60-70F range yet, you're not going to benefit much from putting them into the ground. Toss in a nighttime air temperature under 40F, and you're in danger of loosing the plants. At the very least, you're not doing them any good.
Given your area's current conditions, the previous recomondation of setting them outside in the sun during the day, and bringing them inside at night sounds more than reasonable.
A black weed barrier or red plastic tomato mulch can help absorb a little more heat during the day, and hold it in better at night. Those wall-of-water things will also keep the air around the plant in a more reasonable range for now. But if you're just thinking of plopping the plants in the ground, it's still too early.
Also with tomatoes you can strip-off the lower leaves, and burry the plants deeper. New roots will grow from the burried part of the stem, and if the soil is warm enough for development, that's where most of your growth will occur this early in the season. When they do start to grow above ground, the deeper, larger root area will support the plants better. This is one of the few plants that you can't plant too deep. But that soil better be warm enough, or again, you're not doing much good.

The guideline is different in different areas, but for your area, Mother's Day is an easy day to remember that the chance of nighttime frost has reduced to a negligible chance, and the soil temperatures have probably risen to a hospitable level. Some places they say May 1. Other places they say Memorial Day. These are generally dates that even the people with the least green in their thumbs can stumble into success. If you know what you're doing (pay attention to soil temperatures, and soil make-up, etc.), and you actively garden (as opposed to just stick things in the ground, water, and hope for the best), you can probably usually get your garden going two or three weeks earlier *most* years. But part of knowing what you're doing is being able to recognize when conditions are not favorable for early planting.
--
Warren H.

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In article snipped-for-privacy@msn.com says...

Here in Zone 5 Chicago our last frost date is May 15 which is around Mother's Day. Technically you're not supposed to plant things outside, like tomato seedlings, before May 15 that will die due to a severe frost.
That said everyone takes risks and plants early. I won't transplant seedlings before May 1 but there is a lot of other gardening work that needs to be done in April such as preparing/building beds and planting seeds. When Spring planting wildflower seeds, I usually try and get the seeds in the ground around the 3rd or 4th week in April. This year however, April in Chicago has been very warm and deceptive. Usually we don't get regular 70 degree days until Memorial Day but this year we've been seeing them for the past week or so. I went to Menards yesterday and they haven't even received their springtime shipment of dirt yet it feels like we should be planting things now. A couple of my perennial herbs are already a foot high.
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I've got 3 or 4 tomato plants in about a 1 quart pot. They're doing absolutely great! 14 tomatoes currently growing, 3 more have been pulled and eaten already, and some flowering buds which might turn out another 6 or 7 tomatoes..
I'm in Tampa, FL and the tomatoes were started outdoors and then I moved them indoors and then they got too big (both for being indoors and for the pot (in December)). I moved them outside and that's where they've been ever since. They have been in a shaded area since January and the vines are at least three feet in three different directions. One vine is growing straight up right at the moment. The temps hit 45 or 40 at the lowest.
I don't have any intention of trying to take them out of the pot now. The pot is about 6 or 7 inches across the top in diameter, 5 inches across the bottom, about 6 or 7 inches high and is made of clay. I placed it inside of a plastic pot bottom (like a large bowl) and I fill that up everyday and pretty much that has been taking care of it. It is being bottom fed through the clay pot and maybe the hole in the bottom of the pot.
I had started to dig a hole for replanting but the way it is now, and they are doing quite well, where some other tomato plants have died (in the ground). The temps are too high for them and have been too high for about a month now. They are kept in the shade for under a tree and they get a little direct sun in the evening after 5pm when the temps have died down. The temps started hitting 70 last month during the day. One or two days this month, they hit 80.
One thing I've found out is that composted soil is great for tomatoes and seemingly everything else! The only exception though seems to be corn which seems to only need sand, alot of sunshine, and frequent watering, but perhaps it doesn't need as much if the soil is composted because water seems to run straight through sand.
All I can comment about is that if you only have 1 tomato plant in that 1 quart pot, and if that 1 quart pot is clay, and the soil is good soil, then I, myself would leave it in the pot based upon my current experience. I'd put it in a plastic bowl maybe 8 inches across and 1.5 inches deep (if it's in a clay pot) and fill the bowl up with water every morning.
I lost 4 or 5 tomatoes last year trying to get them going in direct sun and sand last year. Too hot hear in Florida for tomatoes in direct sun.
Hope this helps.
-- Jim Carlock Please post replies to newsgroup.

Hi -
I'm right on the line of Zones 6-7 (Maryland). Our temps right now are averaging 60's during the day and 40's at night. We do have a couple of nights coming up where it will only be in the upper 30's and daytime in the lower 50's. Can I still put them out now or wait until this little cold front passes? I have soooo many people telling me "it's too soon, you'll kill them". But I remember planting the garden last year the last week in April. I did have to cover them a few nights when it hit the low 30's just in case of frost.
I just hate it when people say "you can't plant the garden until after Mother's Day". Where did that idea come from anyway?
Thanks for your help!
Linda
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