Tag Archives: Fiskar pruners

Transplant tomato seedlings

Prune and transplant tomato seedlings in your Mittleider garden

Today we are going to prune and transplant our tomato seedlings from seedling flats to our grow boxes.  Pruning before transplanting is going to help make them stronger and help to get them through the shock of transplanting faster.  If you are looking for information on pruning tomatoes grown with the Mittleider gardening method, check out this post.

Transplant tomato seedlings

While we demonstrate transplanting these seedlings into a grow box, the same steps can be taken to put them into your native soil.

Why prune before transplanting?

Pruning tomatoes before transplanting is a good idea for a couple reasons.  First, by removing some of the leaves it is going to be able to transplant it deeper into the soil.  The more of the tomato plant you can get into the soil, the more roots it is going to establish.  More roots will help it to grow faster and supply more water and nutrition to the plant and those delicious tomatoes  we want to grow.  It is all about the tomatoes!

Reducing the leaf mass on the seeding will also help reduce transplant shock.  With less mass to try and support through the shock of transplant, the seedling will come out of shock faster.  Our absolute favorite pruning tool is the Fiskar.

What do I prune?

This is a good time to make sure all the suckers are removed.  To see what we typically removed while pruning seedlings be sure to see the video below.

Transplant them deep

The deeper you can transplant your tomato seedlings, the better.  The stem is just covered in root hairs.  Once they are below the soil they will begin to change into roots. Those new roots will help to get the added water, air and nutrients to the plants.

Take care not to get the terminal bud, or the growing tip, buried.  Doing so will kill the plant and end your chance of getting any tomatoes.

Give them nitrogen

To help get those tomatoes to recover quickly we also give them a shot of nitrogen.  The nitrogen is applied 3-4 inches away from the plants at a rate of 1/4 ounce per linear foot.  Once the nitrogen is applied we scratch it into the soil and then water it and the tomatoes thoroughly.

Here is the video

We made a video showing the pruning and transplanting process on our tomatoes.  We also will include a follow up video showing how all out transplants looked a week later.

Pruning zucchini

Pruning zucchini in your garden

Pruning zucchini isn’t one of those topics I’ve seen discussed often.  Neglect to prune your zucchini and they can become overgrown.  This makes it difficult to see or harvest those squash and apply your weekly feed.

A zucchini that becomes overgrown has leaves that touch the ground.  This makes a great hiding and breeding ground for insects.  Leaves that touch the ground also make the plant more prone to getting powdery mildew.  A good pruning allows proper airflow and makes it easier for the gardener to quickly identify and correct deficiencies and insect problems,

What to prune

Start with the leaves that touch the soil.  Those leaves make the plant easily  accessible to insects while providing them safety.  As previously mentioned leaves that are in constant contact with the soil hold moisture on the leaf and encourages powder mildew.

Old leaves that are damaged are also a good candidate for removal.  Removing these leaves that are generally located closest to the ground open up the plant and allow light and airflow to reach the plant.  Remember the 6 laws of plant growth?

When to prune

To reduce the stress on the plant it is best to prune while its cool.  During the spring or fall I prune in the morning or in the evening.  During our brutal hot summers I try and prune in the evenings.

How much do I prune

When I’ve neglected to prune as I should  I try to remove less that 50 percent of the total leaves. It is NOT ideal as this causes more stress to the plant.  Ideally I want to remove no more than a quarter of the leaves at any one time.

The pruning will stimulate the plant to grow and replace the leaves you just removed.  Keep it fed and watered in conjunction with routine pruning and you will have lots of zucchini.

What tool do I need for pruning?

For this particular job a good pair of ordinary kitchen scissors will work quite well.  But for pruning a Mittleider garden in general I love my Fiskars Softouch Micro-Tip Pruning Snips.  If you don’t have a pair watch for them on clearance at Walmart this fall.

My go to tool for pruning Zucchini
Softouch Micro-Tip Pruning Snip

Video of zucchini pruning

You can see how we prune our cabbage leaves here.