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Argh...  Tomato redo...  Again!

Category: Vegetable Gardening | Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:36 pm

I'm not sure what happened this time.
Something in the ground, too much water, too little water, something else?

Two out of three of my beefsteaks flopped. I'm strongly considering going out and buying some seedlings, if I can still find any available.
I planted the seedlings, they were a little over an inch tall. I put a cut toilet paper core around the little guys to avoid any issues with cutworms, I watered them when they needed it. They still died. I don't know why. When I was working on the fence in that area, I did find a couple of cutworms, but they didn't look cut. They looked like they either died from lack of water, or too much, or something with the underground environment. I don't know what happened. I still have one healthy one left.

Just as a note -
Adjustments for next year:
I will plant the seeds, in seed starting soil, in my egg carton/chinese food container mini-greenhouses but next time,
I will cut the bottoms of the egg cups to leave a hole for the roots to grow through more freely.
At the same time, I will set small pots up with potting soil and a spot in the center where the egg cups will go once the sprouts are ready.
Once the sprouts start to grow to about an inch tall, I will put the egg cups into the pots. I WILL NOT WAIT AT ALL. One inch. No procrastinating.

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marlingardener wrote on Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:47 pm:

The seedlings were an inch talal when you planted them "out"? Out where--in the ground or into a larger container than the egg carton cups? Those are wee babies at 1"--let them grow up a bit before introducing them to the wonderful world of outdoors. We start tomatoes in January and when they are at least 5-6" tall, plant them into the garden. Tomatoes here go into the garden in March, and we are picking now in early June.
I hope you can find some starts and have a good tomato harvest! Remember, there's always next year (the gardener's mantra).


Beeker wrote on Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:12 pm:

Thank you.
Yes, they were about 2 inches when I planted them. That is what I did last year too, but all went very well last year. I had been hardening them off for about a month before planting them. I admit, I did start the seeds later than I had planned, as mentioned in a previous blog entry, but still earlier than last year. Also, a co-worker of mine said that they would be fine outside and take off as the days got warmer. New England can be very difficult. We don't expect harvest until mid-July if not later.
One point that has been bugging me: For some odd reason, these seeds didn't grow as fast as last year's did. They sprouted, grew one set of new leaves and stunted at that point. Why would that be? I had them in better conditions than last year, but they didn't do as well this time.


Green Fingers wrote on Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:58 am:

Beeker, this year I sprouted the tomato seeds in a moist paper towel in a zip lock and left them against a sunny window. They sprouted in 4-5 days and I sowed them in small container and left them on the deck in full Sun. They came up in next 3 days and there was no need to harden them off. As soon as the first set of true leaves appear I gave them some organic fertilizer with high potassium number in order to develop the strong root system before they went in the raised bed and faced all the bugs there. I agree with Marlin on waiting till the plants are 5-6 inch tall and in the meanwhile keep them fertilized. Good luck.


Beeker wrote on Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:59 am:

Thank you for the info.
I'm still new to the chemistry of this so I don't know which minerals are best for what and when. So, high potassium is best for root growth. That is good to know.
As far as hardening them off goes, I didn't last year because I waited until early June to plant them outside. It was so warm by then, it wasn't necessary. But, I also didn't get anything until September.
If I lived further south, it would be great to be able to start planting earlier and not having to worry about hardening off, but I don't have that luxury here without the cost of a much shorter harvest season.

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