Houzz Logo Print

Where did I go wrong? (aka Honey, I shrunk the tomatoes)

15 years ago

So a few weeks back I was all smug, thinking that I was going to be able to bring some gorgeous tomatoes to the swap. I'd started the seeds (Cuor di Bue, Black Cherry and Bl**dy Bu****er) on April Fools, and CdB and BB promptly sprouted, with BC following a couple of weeks later. I then transferred the sprouts (at the first true leaf stage) to 16oz cups with Miracle Grow Potting Mix (they'd started in Miracle Grow Seed Starter Potting Mix, a much finer mix). Then something went badly wrong.

The plants are now 2-3" tall, pale green, with leaves pointed skyward like hands in prayer (that someone would come and take better care of them). They've hardly put on any growth in the last two weeks, although a couple are starting to show some new leaves. I have three suspects:

Too cold - I took them outside on the sunny days, sometimes in the 50s, and one afternoon when a front moved in the temperature probably dropped into the 40s before I got them in.

Overwatering - the Miracle Grow Potting Mix has the odd habit of forming a hard crust on the top even when the bottom is still moist. Until I realized this, I was watering every couple of days.

The mix - the tomatoes seemed to love the superfine seed starting mix, but then again they stayed mostly indoors at this stage, and I was able to tell easily when they needed more water (color change and shrinking when the soil dried out).

The good news is that the Black Cherry plants, having started so much later, have only recently gotten to the transplant stage, so I'm taking better care of them and they seem fine, though still only 2-3" tall.

I've already put a couple of the worst out to the compost pile, and I noticed that there were roots throughout the mix, down to the bottom of the 16 ounce cups.

So what do you think was my big mistake? All of the above? Something else? Thanks for your help!


Comments (17)