My goal is to have extra early ripe tomatoes by July 1st!
I planted Early Girl Tomato seeds in cell packs back in February and then transplanted them to peat pots. They are looking pretty good now.
They now need to be potted up again to a larger pot. Each time I transplant them, I bury the stem all the way to the first set of leaves. This way extra roots grow from what was the stem. Here is what the seedling looks like now compared to the first day I transplanted it.
These seedlings didn't start out as well as they are now. They germinated alright, but then we had a cold spell near 0 degrees and my basement got pretty cold. The seedlings still looked good from a distance, but upon closer inspection I noticed that the underside of the leaves were purple.
This has happened to my broccoli plants outdoors in the past when it was too cold, so I was familiar with it. Leaves turn purple when there is a phosphorus dificency in the soil or when the plant can not take up phosphorus. When soil gets cold the phosphorus in the soil gets "locked up", meaning it is not available to the plant at all until the soil warms back up.
Since my tomato seedlings were still inside, I had complete control over their soil and its temperature. I suppose I could have heated the plants and soil, but instead I decided to go ahead and transplant them up, using warm soiless mix and warm water. The tomatoes responded well, the outside temperatures and my basement warmed up, and now my plants look healthy as can be. They are enjoying being part of the cool season veggies, sitting in the flat beside my broccoli and lettuce seedlings.
There is more to be done than just transplanting to enjoy early ripe tomatoes. I will be warming the bed they will go in with black plastic, and will have to fashion something that can be covered with clear plastic after they get planted outdoors in April (about a month earlier than my main season tomatoes).
I will post more about that when the time comes. As for now, I am just enjoying my growing plants and dreaming of eating that first organic garden fresh home grown tomato - before the July 4th holiday! That is if I have a little luck and if I really do have a green thumb!
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