Tomato Plant Progress
Would you LOOK at these tomatoes?
Last year I had such a miserable time starting tomatoes from seed. This year Id say i got it right!
This tray of tomato plants was started in my bedroom on March 5th, 2010 and I’m amazed at the progress they’re making. I planted Rutgers, Beefsteak and Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes (oolala). Originally started under warm spot lights, until they burned out, then move under florescent lights. I did nothing special, a nice fluffy peat starter soil, seeds and water.
by March 26th, they were making some progress.
Here they are, one month later on April 25th, a little more progress… getting there
Later that evening, I started pulling the tray apart and planting them in drinking cups of all things, with a lot of drainage holes drilled in. I used Shultz’s ‘Potting Soil Plus’, with extended feed plant food (2 cubic feet was on sale for $6 bucks!) After reading that tomatoes like to be ‘buried’, I sunk them in deep, all the way up to the first leaves. All the little hairs on the stem will grow in to roots if covered with soil, creating a ultra strong root system.
In just under 2 months they grew to 7″ tall.
But here’s the impressive part. In 10 days, some of them grew 3 more inches! The ones in front are 8″ tall, the ones in the back are 10″ and the tallest clears an entire foot.
And now I have 30 tomato plants in these cups! (3 more in regular pots)
And though it looks kinda scraggly, there are at least 15 more decent plants left in the tray.
I’ve started hardening them off, taking them outside for a couple hours a day when the weather is extra nice. The wind does a number on ’em so I’m extra careful to baby them a little longer. Soon the nights should be above 50 degrees, and they’ll have a happy life outside.
When its Time to Plant:
Last year I had a terrible time with the tomatoes. What the deer didn’t eat, the fungus killed (tomato blight). NONE of them did well. Most of them rotted before they ripened.
This year, I’m just going to bring them all on the patio. My plants aren’t all the patio variety, so some consideration must be taken when its time to plant.
Beefsteak tomatoes are large indeterminate tomato plants, meaning they can grow quite tall and continue producing fruit throughout the season. Alternatively determinate tomato plants grow to a fixed height and ripen all at once. I have yet to find someone who can tell me whether Rutgers are determinate or indeterminate, but I get the feeling they grow at least 5 or 6 feet tall. In any case, these plants will need at the very least some large pots to grow in.
It might be a crazy idea to plant Beefsteak tomatos on your patio, but Im going to try it. I read that cutting a garbage can in half, and drilling some good drainage holes would make a great home for large tomato plants.
A 5 gallon bucket may almost cut it for Rutgers, but it might be time to get creative with something a little bigger. Plastic laundry baskets or toy bins might do the trick??? Time will tell.
I have a ton of pots to plant the Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes in. Im excited to see if they’ll really look this good. Theyre supposed to be super sweet!
Last but not least, I hear the winning mix is peat with perlite and a lot of organic matter mixed in.
other posts you might like
- How to Make Good Garden Soil
- Build a Compost Pile
- Compost Bin Designs
- Types of Bonsai Trees
- When To Start Vegetable Seeds
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