03 June 2015 | Posted in Food by The Marshalls Family

Right your tomatoes with bent stems to straight stems - Here's how!

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Tomatoes are very sensitive to growing towards the light. Plants have sensitive stem tips that move naturally towards the sun (scientifically called phototrophism).

In the absence of light (such as young plants stored horizontally in transit in a dark despatch box) the tips of tomato plants still grow upwards too, but using gravity to ensure the 'right side up' instead of the light. (scientifically called geotrophism).

The consequence of this is that the stem tip is at a right angle to the main stem once you turn the whole tomato plants upright again to plant them up.

When you receive your plants from delivery, they've been stored horizontally and in the dark, so you may well witness this kinked stem.

Rest assured - this bent stem is not permanent and the hormones within the stem allows the plant to right itself - when exposed to sunlight, sometimes within the space of hours- to leave vertical plants with straight vertical main stems.

Follow these instructions once you receive your tomatoes in the post.

tomato young plantRemove the packaging and expose the young plants to daylight in a cool position, but not direct-sunlight. This will start up the growing process again, after its time in transit.

Pot up young plants into 9-12cm (3 1/2- 4 1/2 in) pots filled with potting compost and water sparingly at first. If you overwater immediately, the roots of plants will dislike the cold reservoir of soil water in the saturated soil.

In essence, you want to water again more generously once you feel the soil in the pot has warmed up from exposure to the sun. 

If you are planting in the morning, water sparingly at first and then give a generous watering in the early evening.

If you are planting in the afternoon or evening water sparingly at first and then give a generous watering by noon the following day.

The roots of the young plants will respond much more readily when in a warm soil environment and take up nutrients from the soil more quickly. 

Thereafter water daily and provide a tomato feed about twice a week or as per instructions on the package. Increase watering once the temperature increases in the summer. Be sure to water regularly though at fixed times in the morning and evening, as tomatoes dislike sporadic waterings. 

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