Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

When and how do I set out my tomato plants?

Tomato plants are very sensitive to frost, so don't set them out too early. Wait until all danger of frost has passed and air and soil temperatures are favorable. The first week in May is the suggested planting time in St. Louis. If a late spring frost threatens after you have set the plants out, you can protect plants by covering them with paper plant protectors, flower pots, small cardboard cartons or wall-o-waters.

Before transplanting, make sure the plants are well watered. When you transplant, remove the plants carefully from the flat or plant bed. The less you disturb the root system, the faster the plant will take hold after transplanting. Remove lower leaves and set transplants deep. Trench-in plants with unusually long stems. Firm the soil around the plants and wrap the transplant with a small cardboard collar at ground level to prevent cutworm damage. Water the transplants with a starter solution of soluble fertilizer dissolved in water to speed growth and reduce transplant shock. Starter solutions are readily available at garden centers or use a weak fertilizer solution. Apply according to label directions.