Sunburned Tomatoes

So as everyone knows this is my first time planting my own vegetable garden and I learned something EXTREMELY important for next year.  Plants can get sunburned!  I had no idea this was even possible but four of my tomatoes have actually died from sun exposure.

Here's the deal, most vegetable plants need a lot of sunlight to grow and produce food.  But if you started those plants inside and then suddenly take them outside they will wilt, the leaves will start to turn white, and eventually they will die.  I bought my tomatoes early this year at our local nursery during a flash sale for 50% off.  How could I resist that, right?  Well, the problem was that we hadn't even started building our garden and they spent a lot of time growing in our window sill.  When we got the planter boxes built and dirt inside of them I eagerly planted my tomatoes outside.  The next day I noticed that the plants started wilting, I was hoping that it was just from the shock of being planted but when the leaves started to turn white I started to panic. Here's what the poor things looked like:

Lucky for me my co-workers husband does quite a bit of farming and he immediately figured out what I had done wrong. When you transfer your tomatoes from growing inside to outside you have to give them some transition time, put them outside for a couple of hours a day or keep them in the shade at the beginning and then move them into the sunlight when they can handle it. He told me to give the plants a few days and if they're leaves started falling off they probably wouldn't survive, but if they started getting new growth they would most likely pull through. Unfortunately only two of my plants survived, but I was so happy when I saw the new leaves coming in! You can see them starting to grow off of the dead branches.

In the end, my new starts ended up costing between $1-$3 each to buy new ones. I think next year I'll skip the tomato sale and buy my starts when we're ready to plant them.