The Q&A Archives: Leggy Tomatoe Plants

Question: I am growing tomatoe plants from seeds. I've followed all the instructions in your book on starting seedlings. I have a grow light set up that can be adjusted. The plants are doing great but I'm afraid they are now starting to get leggy. Can I pinch off the tops to promote growth or is there another procedure that I can implement?

Answer: The most common reason for legginess is lack of light, so make sure the plants are kept close to the bulbs (within an inchor two) and that you are not starting them way too early. About six weeks is the optimum for keeping them healthy indoors without a greenhouse. Also be sure you are not overfertilizing them. When you transplant them, remove some of the lower leaves and then plant a bit deeper, up to the remaining leaves. The tomatoes will form extra roots along the buried stem.

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