Monday, April 19, 2010

Potted up tomatoes

Today was the day.  I have been putting off repotting my tomatoes.  Normally, I would have done it about a week ago.  I got a little depressed about the failure of the great majority of the cole crops and then just got lazy. 

I am now the proud mama to 50 tomato seedlings.  There are 17 Legend, 31 Amish Paste and 2 Mystery tomatoes.  The mystery tomatoes are from a volunteer that came up last summer.  It was a nice big blocky slicer, so I decided to see what would happen from saved seed this year.

Many of the seedlings are looking a little ragged right now from their hard day, but should perk up in a few days.  They still have another 4-6 weeks until plant out time. 

After my last post about seedling failure, I began wondering if my whole problem could be a result of being cheap.  You see I bought prepackaged seed starting cells from a very cheap store around these parts.  Yes, for you New Englanders, it was the Job Lot.  Bad Heather!  Anyway, I may try again next year with some higher quality soil.  I'm not sure what I was thinking.  I know that good soil produces good plants. 

Hopefully all the tomatoes will make it.  There are simultaneously too many and too few seedlings.  There are too many for just me and too few to share as much as I wanted to.  I would start a few more, but don't have enough seeds.  Next year I'll save more. 


kitsapFG said...

I always have lots of attrition in tomatoes from beginning of seed starting to final plant give away time. Some year's it can be as much as 50%. Transplanting seems to be my biggest loss event... the stress of the potting up or transplanting process takes out quite a few and I tend to ruthless cull the plants when I am handling them and can see that a plant is not thriving. Soil quality does make a difference. In fact, I have a whole tray of tomato seedlings currently that were potted up using an inferior soil mix that I had on hand (not my usual favorite Master Nursery - Gardener's Gold)and they have been yellowing and stressed looking while comparable plants treated the same in every other fashion are stocky and good colored right next to them. I was just marveling at the difference this weekend.

Daphne said...

Soil plays an amazing role in how your transplants grow. I love a local brand, which is the Vermont Compost Fort V potting mix. It is hard to find though. Sometimes Whole Foods sells small ones. If I could I'd buy lots, but it is just too expensive to get shipped to me. So now I just make my own. It is a PITA but it works and I know what is in it. And I use the Vermont Compost Company's compost in my seeds starting mix. Mine just isn't as good.

The Mom said...

Kitsap, it's funny that you have such attrition in tomato plants and I have such issues with cole crops. I'll be trying a better potting soil next year, combined with later starts, should solve a few problems.

Daphne, I'll have to check that out at WF. I've been looking around locally and haven't found anything that looks too good. It is awfully pricey to have it shipped.

Robbie @ Going Green Mama said...

OK, I have to ask, how did you get your tomato seed starting to work? Mine failed miserably.

The Mom said...

Robbie, it seems to be a bit of a crap shoot. For some reason I do really well with tomatoes and peppers and poorly with cabbages, broccoli and the like. I use a heat mat under them, but that's the only thing I can think of.