Why are my tomato starts spindly?

Q: What could be the cause of my heirloom tomatoes, started from seed, becoming spindly after being transplanted into my raised beds. The seed was planted March 3 and transplanted May 10. They were hardened off starting one week before with nighttime protection in my garage.

A: Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables grown in home gardens. They love the heat and require full sun and a long, frost-free season. Tomatoes that do not get a minimum of six hours of sun per day will become weak and spindly.

Typically, tomatoes can be planted outdoors from late May through early June. This year, with the unusually cool spring weather, May 10 may have been too early to plant outside. The soil temperature in your raised beds needed to be at least 60 degrees to prevent growing problems with the plants’ fruits and roots.

— Jan Gano

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