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why do my tomato plants grow so tall

Testing your soil at the end of each growing season and again before planting in the spring is vital to success with touchy plants like tomatoes. They require a moderate amount of nitrogen, but only during specific parts of their growing cycle. Too much nitrogen during their vegetative growth is detrimental to early production.

A high quality home soil test kit can give you a clue about the amount of nitrogen in the soil by indicating a "low," "moderate" or "high" reading, allowing you to adjust accordingly instead of blindly applying fertilizer.

Often, tomatoes need no additional fertilizer until after fruits are set.
While most seeding flats are just right for getting tomato seeds off to a good start, they can cause problems if the seedlings are not repotted. The shallow cells or trays of seedling starter containers don't allow adequate growth for the tomato plant's sizable root system.

When the roots are stunted, tomato plants put their energy into stem production, resulting in legginess. Avoid this syndrome by repotting tomato seedlings at least once.

Experienced growers "pot up" tomato plants from the seedling tray to a small pot after 10 days and from the small pot to a larger 1-quart container after another 10 days. If early summer is especially chilly, a third "potting up" into a gallon container may be called for.

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