transplanting & thinning LARGE potted tomato plants
I need a bit of advice. I purchased 3 tomato plants already 4-5 feet tall. They are in 3-4 gallon pots with a smallish cage. At 7.50, I couldn't resist the hope of getting some early tomatoes off these, as they already have a lot of flowers and looked very healthy.
The three are:
Husker Red (I think that's probably "husky", but label says husker. a cherry tomato)
Now, they already need way more support than that flimsy 3 1/2 foot cage that's in the pot. They are currently leaning against my weber grill, and husker fell over in the rain storm last night, so that confirmed my desire to quickly give these guys a new, secure home.
I have room for these in the ground...can I safely transplant such a large tomato? If yes, how do I do that...just like a small one, but with more waterings?
If not, can I safely transplant them into a much larger pot...say 5 gallon, or rubbermaid bins?
My preference is the ground, but if you don't think it would work, I have larger pots/bins that could be used.
Finally, these are very bushy, it's good to thin them out, right? I read somewhere about pinching off those extra leaves that go between the branches. That's what I plan to attempt in the next day or two before I transplant them, unless the folks on this forum recommend something different. There are a lot of side branches already...should I get rid of some of those too, or keep them all?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!