Sunday, May 9, 2021

Tomatoes are Potted Up

This weekend, I potted up the tomatoes. They are not as far along as they normally are but I'm not overly concerned.  They tend to grow really quickly once potted up, so much so that I've moved their sowing date up by at least a couple of weeks over the years as they were getting too big before I could transplant them outside.

This year, however, I had a few issues with germination.  I'm not sure what was going on, but most of the seeds ended up on the tail end of what I would consider the normal germination time.

Usually the seedlings are at this stage by the end of April

As far as I could tell, there was no difference this year from any other in terms of the basics such as how I sowed, the temperature, the soil mix, etc.  Just one of those quirky gardening mysteries, I suppose - every year seems to have a few.

So this weekend, the starts were finally at the perfect stage to pot up into extra deep cups (I use rinsed take-out coffee cups that I horde in the garage).  I pinch off the seedling leaves and bury the plants as deeply as I can, while still leaving a nice bit of green at the top.  Tomatoes tend to go crazy with growth once they are potted up as they develop roots along the entirety of the buried stem.  It's amazing, quite frankly, how quickly they grow at this stage.

This Chico III seedling, which was about 3" tall,
now has most of it's stem buried in the soil

The smallest of the bunch was a true straggler - Apple Yellow.  It took almost 2 weeks to pop up and I had basically given up on it and was prepared to use an extra from the other varieties.

I would normally wait until a seedling is at least 2" or 3" tall before potting up but decided to go ahead and do this one anyhow (even though it was barely 1" tall), just to make my life simpler.  It won't hurt the seedling at all and burying it, even just a bit, will hopefully give it's growth a much needed push.

Only about a 1/2" of the stem was buried,
but even that little bit is bound to make a big difference.

With the reduced bed capacity this year, I'm only growing a handful of tomatoes and concentrating on paste varieties:  2 each of Amos Coli & Chico III, as they were the largest producers from last year, as well as one Opalka and Speckled Roman.

While having enough to preserve is a priority, I'm also squeezing in a couple of fresh eating cherry types - Mexico Midget and the aforementioned Apple Yellow, an All-America Selections winner.  I first tried it last year and fell in love with the bright taste and crisp texture.

A tomato harvest basket from 2020 - 
a handful of Apple Yellows are on the bottom left


Yum....can't wait!

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

10 comments:

  1. Tomatoes are the one vegetable crop I value most, although last year rats got 90% of mine and I haven't planted any this year as I've got space constraints of my own. It's funny how difficult seed germination can be some years. While I'm not currently growing tomatoes, my cool-season flower seeds, as well as my dahlia tubers, have all been VERY slow in germinating/sprouting this year for reasons I can't entirely explain. It's hard not to blame both on our pathetically low rainfall but I have been irrigating to compensate. It's a puzzle.

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    1. Those types of mysteries are the most frustrating, especially for an A-type like myself that needs to at least have some sort of clue as to what the issue could potentially be.

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  2. I had to make a second sowing this year, one type didn't germinate at all but they did second time around with seeds from the same packet. It's odd why that should happen. The ones which germinated from my first sowing have been potted on a second time and are in the greenhouse, the ones from the second sowing are a couple of weeks ahead of yours and still on the windowsill. They always seem to catch up no matter if they've been sown later though. Fingers crossed for a good tomato year.

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    1. I'm having similar lack of germination on some nasturtium varieties &, like you, I've done a 2nd sowing, just in case. At least with flowers, I'm not in as much of a panic when it comes to timing as there's no harvest to consider.

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  3. Looks good! My tomatoes are doing ok, but I only have 4! 'Black Charry' and 'Veranda Red Hybrid'. Given how cold its been not sure if we can plant them before June 1.

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    1. I hear you! All of my transplanting has been delayed this year too - but thankfully, looks like temps are on the rise as tomorrow.

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  4. We have had really slow germination which I put down to the lower than average temperatures. The weather seems to be a month out of sync and our gardening is much the same.

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    1. We were off to a great start in early April, but after that it's been cold, cold, cold.

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  5. Fun! Your plants look very healthy. I only have four because I don't have much sun. But there's nothing like fresh tomatoes from the garden!

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