Country Lore: Match Trick for Transplant Shock

A single match helps tomato plants recover more quickly from transplant shock.

transplant shock - cartoon, looking for matches

Be aware that household members prone to nicotine shock might disrupt your efforts to prevent transplant shock.


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Here’s another tip for avoiding, or at least minimizing, transplant shock. I was recently given 12 tomato plants that a friend had purchased a month previously and never gotten around to planting. They looked terrible, providing me with the perfect excuse to try the "match trick" my grandparents had used for years. To make an experiment of it, I placed six of the sickly plants in holes with an inch of compost in the bottom; the other six were planted the same way, but with the addition of an unburnt paper match placed under each plant. The plants with the "match-ilizer" got over the shock of transplanting quicker, looked healthier, and grew larger than their matchless companions.

Arlene Raymond
Detroit, Michigan