Last year, I had, maybe, 10 tomato plants that did very well. So well and so close to one another, I ended up letting more than a few tomatoes hit the ground. This spring I tilled the land and planted in some areas and was going to plant in other areas later. Well, the land I was hoping to use later had a lot of wild tomato plants pop up. I would say about 100. Good for me as that would save me money on seed.
My problem is this; I wanted the plants in different areas. When I replant them they, almost immediately, go limp. Some are just plain dead. Others I propped up, hoping they'd rejuvenate. I'll know more tomorrow. I do water them lightly right after I plant them.
Am I doing something wrong here? Why do they go limp so quickly? I try to do it in the morning before it gets too hot. Is there a better time to do it?
Any help is appreciated.
OK. I, mostly, have resolved the issue.
I've found that if I replant the plants close to dusk they have a much better chance of surviving. The cooler the weather the better. The ones I replanted in 90 degree weather never stood a chance. The cooler the weather the better. Even then, they seem to struggle for the first week before they look good. It's odd because I only move them a few feet in some cases. I take as much dirt around the plant as possible. I don't have the same problem if I plant seedlings.
I'm not even sure what kind of tomato plants they are. The big area where they were is where I planted some corn. In a 20 foot wide area there were, easily, 100 tomato plants growing. Only a couple of the corn plants came up. So, I just thinned out the area and will let tomatoes grow there.
You are so right -- planting when it's overcast helps your tomatoes survive transplant shock! It's hard enough for them to move, but when they have to deal with hot, direct sun, it's too much stress.
In addition to planting at dusk, you can also provide shade for your plant during the first few days -- by leaning a folding chair over it, for example.
Here's a page with more planting and transplanting information:
Planting tomatoes: top tips to help your new crop succeed