Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8, 2011

Let's call this the tomato post.  In case you haven't been reading, you know I have a whopping 3 tomatoes out of 10 that are going gang busters.  Another handful are languishing and three are refusing to germinate despite multiple attempts with 2 seeds each.

So, just how amazing is the growth of those big three?  Here is what they looked like the day before I decided to pot them up.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, the CD case is just there for perspective, and to raise seedling trays to allow for gravity to feed water to the plants better.  And I used to like Depeche Mode. Hehe.

Yes, I know the seedlings were past time to be potted up.  I don't know what I was thinking?  When I went to re-pot them, I realized I really don't have a good place to do that, other than my chest freezer in the garage.  Since I gave them a brief walk in the yard, I decided to do the surgery on top of my yard waste container.  Don't they look like they want to start flowering already?!

Well, my waiting so long to pot these up was immediately apparent when I tried to free them from their 9 ounce cups.  They just DIDN'T want to come out.  One plant actually started to fall apart from the potting soil, such that I was very worried that it wouldn't survive the transplant. Anyway, here's what they looked like before I threw them on a tray and brought them back upstairs for their tanning session.

My brother says he pots up his young seedlings up to the first leaves.  I bury them up to the first true branch.  Not sure which is right, but I want the dew leaves or whatever to become roots.

Aren't they magnificent looking? I sure hope the compost I planted them in isn't too fertilizer rich that they shoot up again. I can't handle more than 18 inches including the pot in my light system, and it's a long time before April 15 (our traditional last frost date).
Speaking of roots, my Legend seedling (shown on the right below) that's about ready to be potted up looks like it's been almost cut at soil level in it's cup. I would HATE to lose it since my other Legend planting is one of the never germinated 3.  I have got to pot that up tomorrow.

Another one I need to pot up is my 3 seedling cup (on the left above).  I've since noticed one of the seedlings has simply disappeared, so now it's just two healthy seedlings battling for dirt in that 9 ounce cup.  The question was still, which seedling is which.  THANKFULLY one seedling has potato leaves and the other traditional tomato leaves.  A quick search online found that Stupice tomato plants have potato leaves, so I know which one I need to survive.  The other is gravy.  Well a bit more meat and potatoes than gravy, since I don't even have enough tomatoes to fill my SWCs yet.  Here's hoping EG is right and splitting tomato seedlings is easy.  I get the process but I hate playing with fire.

Now before you post that I should really plant more seedlings next time, you''re absolutely right.  My brother has the right idea to plant 6 of each to keep the best one and give away the rest.  I have always had good luck with planting multiple seeds in each cup, but only one cup.  My results were horrible this year, so I'll make room for more next time.  Maybe I'll just start them in soil blocks and pot them up sooner. I could fit many more in soil blocks than I can with those unwieldy cups.

Well, that'll just about do it for tonight.  Thanks for all the birthday wishes. I got some money that I'll use to pay bills and maybe even fund the construction of my chicken coop!

Enjoy your garden.


  1. Very nice looking plants, dude.....They definitely needed potting up, though! Splitting those 3 in the same cup will be easy - just water it well and allow the soil to become saturated before messing with them.

  2. Wow those first three plants are really thriving and are huge! They look awesome. Hopefully the transplanting will not result in any losses and they will settle into their new and more room root home quickly. I repotted several of my tomatoes aweek or so ago and they all bounched back nicely but my shop is kind of cool and nothing is growing at the pace that you are getting - I think the difference must be a warmer room they are in.

  3. If the tomato seedlings do break off just put them in water they will send out new roots in about a week. Then you can just replant them. Also any of the first suckers you get off your plants you can do the same thing if you need more tomato plants.

  4. Thanks Kermit, I'll remember that about putting in water. May just save my Legend!

    EG, great reminder. Better head up and soak them now!

    KitsapFG, my light system room keeps between 60 and 70 as it's unheated but the rest of the house heats it nicely.

  5. I'm going to have lots of extra seedlings (I went a bit crazy with the tomato starting)...if you can get down to the SODO area I'll have my DH bring some up to Seattle for you...

  6. Your tomato seedlings are off to a great start!! They look so healthy that I bet they won't suffer at all from a little mangling from separating the seedling.

    Remember once the tomatoes are transplanted to the garden, you may be able to root up some sucklings for additional plants. I just place them in water until they form roots, then plant them. They seem to catch up quickly to the other tomato plants.

  7. Those are some nice looking tomatoes! I had problems with a few tom's not germinating this year too. Hate when that happens.

  8. Hey, happy birthday! Didn't realize till I read the post. :)

    Your tomatoes look awesome. I have serious mater envy! My seedlings haven't popped true leaves yet. Great job!

  9. Wow Rich! Your seedlings look great.

    BTW, I'm been having trouble posting comments to your blog so I installed Firefox and it works (IE wasn't working for me).