Super Sweet 100 - how to transplant

l_w_davisApril 10, 2013

im in fayetteville, arkansas.

we are having a rather late winter. it might get to freezing again tonight w/ storms and rain. I think in a couple of days we will finally be past the really cold night temps.

I bought a couple of super sweet 100 plants from my local nursery on Sunday. They are basically in some solo cups right now.

the plants are almost two feet tall already and little tiny yellow flowers have just emerged this morning.

Im sure these things are definitely ready to be transplanted, but im going to have to wait until the weather gets a little better. They are currently sitting on my kitchen table in front of the window.

I plan on planting the two plants in an 18 gallon plastice tote.

I am going to drill drainage holes in the bottom, and also drill holes in the sides for oxygen.

I am going to put some gravel in the bottom for drainage as well.

I am making trellises out of bamboo and twine for support.

Some questions now:

-how deep do i plant them? do i plant them up to the first set of leaves? or should they be planted at the same level as they grow in the cup (i have read conflicting things)

-when and what kind of fertilizer should I use? any info on that would be helpful as i know nothing about fertilizer

-how often should I water?

between the gravel and the dirt, this tub is going to be quite heavy so i dont really plan on moving it once I get it established.

any answers or advice are appreciated.
thanks

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I assume you know that this variety produces super-huge plants? 18 gallon container for 2 of them? I sure wouldn't recommend it. The root ball from just one of them will easily fill an 18 gallon container by just mid-summer.

Plant the plant so that any bare stem is buried, so up to below the first set of leaves.

Drain holes, definitely. Several 3/4 to 1" in diameter. But putting gravel in the bottom of containers is a myth and isn't generally recommended. Plus it takes up room needed for potting mix. Putting more holes in the sides will only create additional problems and isn't necessary. Instead elevate the container on wood blocks or something so the drain holes are not in direct contact with the soil or decking.

Container plants require regular feeding as the nutrients wash out every time you water. Liquid fertilizers rather than granular ones work best for this type of application.

Watering isn't a "how often" question. Watering is done as the plant needs it growing in your weather and conditions. Do some research on how to know when container plants need water. The Container gardening forum here is a great source of info. And while on that forum pull up the discussions and pics on 'Earthtainers' for lots of info on how to do this correctly. I linked some of them below.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Earthtainer discussions

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:39AM
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l_w_davis

Here's a pic of the plants as of this morning. Im sure they're ready for a bigger boat, but it was near freezing last night and this morning, and we have a couple of more nights of pretty cold weather

actually, digdirt, I didnt know anything about them when I bought them. had no clue they get over 7 feet tall LOL. and bought two. now wish i'd only bought one.

thanks for the info

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 12:01PM
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l_w_davis

and regarding how deep to plant them, it's interesting to me that the advice is to plant them as deep up the stem as the bottom set of leaves.

and everything else ive heard on planting stuff in general is to plant is even w/ how the plant is growing in whatever pot it comes int.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 12:49PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Easily 4' wide and 8-10 feet tall depending on growing conditions. :)

Those are both quite leggy plants that haven't had nearly enough light while they were young seedlings. Come planting time I would recommend removing all the leaves up to the middle of the stem and burying them deeply. New roots will develop all along that buried stem.

If they were going into the ground most would recommend digginng a long trench 6-7" deep and laying the plants out sideways in that trench leaving only the very top 1/4 of the plant above ground.

Dave

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 12:50PM
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l_w_davis

interesting. i will do that in regards to removing the leaves and burying halfway up

i have no idea what a good plant looks like and i thought these were awesome cuz they were so tall :)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 1:07PM
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speckledhound

I planted a couple supersweet 100 last season and those things became MONSTERS. Happy monsters, mind you, and I nearly gave myself a belly ache every day in the garden because I ate them obsessively. I can't imagine keeping them in an 18 gallon tote, but stranger things have succeeded. Just plan on staking and caging, or a combination thereof. They will still grow all over. My neighbor's garden got plenty of my supersweets because the vines reached through their fence.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 10:15PM
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barnhardt9999(8a)

I let one of mine grow hippie style over some old boxwoods last year. It was at least 30 ft from ground to the end of the branches. The picture doesn't really do it justice because a lot of the plant got torn up ripping it out and dragging it through the yard, but this gives a little perspective of how big a sweet 100 gets with decent conditions. I would guess it was putting out about 50 ripe tomatoes per day for 3 months.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 11:53PM
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barnhardt9999(8a)

For the pruning, I would remove the bottom three sets of leaves and bury where the branch meets the 4th set of leaves (lots of new roots will grow from the buried stem). The plants in the pictures do not have enough roots to support than many leaves.

Here's another picture of my garden sweet 100 when it was first getting started last summer that one had to be trimmed back several times to keep it from swallowing the neighboring plants.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 11:57PM
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barnhardt9999(8a)

Not sure why the picture didn't make it in.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 11:59PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Agreed with the above. On the basis of the original picture, plant them deep, with half the plant underground (just ignore the bottom leaves) in a hole amended with some fluffy mixture (peat moss + compost). They look like healthy pants, and with the deep, extensive root system you're going to create, they're going to grow like crazy.

Sweet100s are indeed like vines, and they'll be pushing 7-8 feet high. So plant them next to a big post or trellis. You'll get tomatoes first from the lower parts, and as the vines grow the leaves on the lower parts will start to die off, and the tomatoes will be coming from mostly higher up.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 6:25PM
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l_w_davis

UPDATE:

this is kind of a comedy of erros on my part, also am doing this w/ my 4 yo daughter, so she wants to touch everything and water like crazy.

well, i put one of the plants in the container.

it is crazy windy here and the thing is just getting blown all to heck.

also, i already broke a branch off. i did end up taking off the lower limbs and planting it very deep.

it's still alive for now.

i also tied some jute twine to the plant and screwed that up, putting the ties above the branches for some reason and they slipped down and weighed on the branches (like i said, one broke)

i still have another plant on my kitchen table.

maybe i should just stick it in the ground and see what happens?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 10:19AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

RB, you mentioned knocking off a branch, but I don't see any "branches" on the lower part of either plant in your photo.

Tomato anatomy is a little different from most other plants, and it can be helpful to know what your plant will do next. On your original main stem, you will see many leaves. These are compound leaves, each composed of many leaflets which are borne on a petiole. (If you forget the word petiole, just call it a "leaf stem.")

Blossoms are borne on their own stem, which won't have any leaves. Blossoms grow on trusses or in clusters. Different tomato varieties have clusters with different numbers of blossoms, ranging from 2 or 3 to well over a hundred.

Once the plant is large enough to begin putting out flowers, indeterminates like your Super Sweet 100 will send out a cluster of flowers after every 3 leaves. It only seems like forever when you're waiting for new flowers; actually it's very regular. [Determinates grow according to a different pattern.]

In the "armpit" between a leaf petiole and the main stem is where the "branches" (aka "suckers") grow. I can see one of those in your photo on the right-hand plant, on the left just below the flower cluster. Some people will tell you to remove all the suckers, but that will severely limit the amount of fruit you get, and there's no reason unless you're really pressed for space. These branches will also send out a flower cluster after 3 leaves and continue with that pattern.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 11:51AM
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l_w_davis

i cut off all the leaf stems halfway down, and planted it deep.

i broke off one of the leaf stems that was left after it was planted.

as of yesterday the blossoms that were there when planted were still there.

dont know if i was supposed to, but i put a little bit of liquid fertilizer in the container yesterday

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 12:10PM
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THatstat(9A)

@RB56 Thanks for the lesson on tomato anatomy and growth! =)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 3:49PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

The little hairs on the side of the stem turn into roots. So you're going to have a lot of roots! Just make sure to keep the soil moist at least until it starts shooting up.

It's up to you, but I pull off the flower buds for the first month or so after putting Sweet 100s in the ground. I'd rather the plant put it's energy into expanding itself than into a couple of fruit. Can't prove it, but I think in the long run I get more fruit overall that way.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 3:54PM
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l_w_davis

here it is in all its glory

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 1:09PM
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l_w_davis

another!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 1:10PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Couldn't get it planted any deeper?

Dave

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 4:24PM
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l_w_davis

Dave, the root ball from the plant is sitting on the bottom of the container.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 10:00AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Well you can coil the stem around a bit to get it more buried but it's to late now. That poor plant has to be the most scrawney light-starved plant I have ever seen. And that yellow section of stem worries me.

Next year when you buy ignore the tall, skinny plants, ok? :)

Dave

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 11:12AM
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l_w_davis

digdirt,

you oughta see the other pant. it's like 3 feet tall now on my kitchen table.

im not sure what im gonna do w/ it. might just plant it horizontal in the yard and then pray over it, see what happens.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 11:42AM
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l_w_davis

brought my container indoors because we got yet ANOTHER cold front that brought low 30s temps

noticed by some blossoms the beginnings of 4 little tomato fruits that were budding.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 11:13AM
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l_w_davis

some of the lower branches have this brown spotting on the leaves

and the lowest branch is actually looking like it's withering away

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 12:21PM
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l_w_davis

but up at the top i actually have some tomatoes starting to grow.

just one bundle so far

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 12:22PM
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l_w_davis

growin

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 12:30PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Sure wish you'd put your location or at least your garden zone in your posts - see the box provided for it? Or go to your profile page and fill it out so that it is included automatically.. Refresh my memory - where are you?

30 degree nights means it is too early for plants to be out anyway without a great deal of cover/protection so it is possible that is just environmental damage.

But it appears to be awfully extensive so since it has been outside it is possible that it is one of the common tomato diseases - simply can't say from the picture.

Either way strip off any affected foliage and monitor it closely. If the new growth appears healthy then it is probably just exposure damage.

Dave

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 1:10PM
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l_w_davis

im in fayetteville. Says it in the OP

ok i'll cut that stuff off.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 4:29PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Fayetteville AR? Oh yeah our weird weather this year has put us at least 3 weeks, going on 4 weeks late for planting out and more low 30's cold is coming this week. We will be lucky if plants can go outside even late next week.

I have 5 tomato plants outside but they are all in WOWs (wall o' water) insulated shelters. They rest are all still in the greenhouse and it still has to be heated most nights. Even the commercial high tunnel growers here are having problems this year.

Dave

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 5:15PM
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l_w_davis

this container plant is growing.

finally out of the cold weather.

also have moved it off the patio into full sun, pretty sure it wasnt getting near enough sun.

have at least 3 spots that are about to start flowering or producing the fruit.

the one spot w/ the tomotoes growing, they are getting bigger every day. have to figure it wont be too long before they are ready to pull. more fruit are beginning to grow on the end of that section as well.

going better than expected

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 11:22AM
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l_w_davis

This monster is really starting to take off.

there are blooms everywhere and every day more blooms turn into fruit.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 9:21AM
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l_w_davis

close up of the first group of fruit. they are starting to turn red

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 9:22AM
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