Saturday, May 15, 2010

Update on the Tomato Seedlings

The tomato seedlings had their first taste of real sun this weekend as I began the hardening off process. They were placed in an area sheltered by the wind and under a patio umbrella for their first hours. I am going to try to take my time hardening them off. My plan is to plant them out around Memorial weekend if the weather is warm enough. If not, I will wait a week.

I seem to have two batches, the healthy batch:

And the not so healthy batch:

I can already see the mistakes I made with my first tomato seedlings. I took too long to move some of them up to larger pots and these suffered as a results. Also, I think I was too stingy with the fertilizer in the beginning. They were potted up using an organic potting mix with fertilizer. Within a week I noticed the new growth was a much deeper, healthier green than the old growth. I’ll know better next year.

Only the healthiest plants will be planted in the garden which doesn’t seem to be a problem since I seem to have more seedlings than the original plan. I was impatient with the germination, so I kept starting a few more, then seeds that I gave up on ended up sprouting. I suppose too many is better than too few. However, I am running out of room under the lights.

I took the opportunity to adjust my shelving and lights again while the tomatoes were outside. Some of the tomato plants had reached the lights which were positioned as high as they could be. I had to disassemble the shelving, remove the bottom shelf and increase the spacing between the bottom and the middle shelf to hang the lights. Hopefully this will be enough room for them for a few more weeks. I am hoping the weather cooperates so the seedlings can spend more time outside than under the lights.

I was planning on assembling some Self Watering Containers today, but the wind is making it impossible to work outside. I had to run across the yard several times chasing down totes and yogurt cups that were blowing around. Maybe tomorrow will be better.


  1. I make mistakes everytime I start seeds for tomatoes. Like you, I neglected to pot them up when time for it.

  2. I think what you're doing is really smart. I've started hardening off my melons and am babying them at the moment. Unfortunately, I was too heavy handed with my tomatoes and they are looking pretty stressed as a result.

  3. Your robust plants look really good and even your not so robust plants look just fine. I find that once I get them out into full on sunshine - they really take off for me. While lights are good - sunshine is best.

    I waited too long to re pot this year too and could see the same result.

  4. EG: I was surprised that one week made such a difference.

    Thomas: I am trying to be patient with my seedlings. However, I have to admit that I have not been patient with purchased transplants in the past and often planted them out without much hardening off. I have found that usually tomatoes do ok no matter what abuses I subject them to.

    kitsapFG: Just placing them outside for a couple days has made a big difference already.

  5. Your tomatoes look good. Thankfully tomatoes are a forgiving plant. I had to relearn not bring home low end potting soil.

  6. You know you're a real gardener when you keep starting seeds. . . tomatoes are such troopers.

  7. John: Yes, they seem to be forgiving so far. I don't think they would have recovered if I had used low end potting soil.

    Stefaneener: Or an impatient gardener.