Friday, April 24, 2009

Transplanting Tomatoes

The Prairie Pride Tomatoes have overgrown their 2L margarine containers and needed upgrading to 4L ice cream pails. They were starting to droop even when watered and fertilized and turned out to be somewhat root bound.

Creating a mess in the kitchen.

This photo is just so I can remember which soil mix I was using
(and free advertising for Golden Acre Garden Sentre, where I went mostly "window shopping" last weekend).

I added calcium by grinding up some vitamins (Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc), as I've read that Blossom-End Rot is caused by calcium deficiency (employee at garden sentre recommended using Tums as a cheap calcium source since I didn't really need the massive container of bone meal they were selling).

However, after thinking myself so clever, I read more on the topic and discovered that adding calcium is not necessarily the best thing (if your soil is likely to already have enough). See link above for details.

After transplanting I added some Miracle Grow tomato fertilizer I bought at Golden Acre last weekend (where I ran into B & K, which was not too surprising :-). It is 18-18-21 (N-P-K) with magnesium, copper, iron, manganese and zinc. After I was thinking a root fertilizer might have been better (high P), but not likely a big concern [ASIDE: good reminder from garden senter worker regarding N-P-K and general functions: "Up-Down-All Around"]. I also buried some of the lower leaves and branches in the soil so they could be "recycled" and reduce somewhat the need for fertlizer. And apparently it can be good to minimize the fertilizer to help prevent blossom-end rot (slower growth better).

Hopefully the ice cream pails will be enough because I've run out of larger containers and room under the plant light!

The first flower has appeared. I planted two to a pot which my aunt recommended for pollination purposes. Here's their chance!

We had +15 C earlier this week and then -17 C wind chill (-8 lows) with 10 cm of snow. I'm just hoping I can transplant them outside by June, or else I'll have to transplant them to the bathtub!


The Blog Fodder said...

We've bought potting soil from several of the local garening stores and plants will not start in it and if they do the seedlings grow so slow as to seem stopped. Ideas?

Middle Earth said...

What is in your soil mix? The mix I use contains a lot of peat moss which according to the bag is slighly acidic, which I've read that veggies like. I had 100% germination on my tomatoes, and they have grown almost too rapidly (outgrowing containers), opposite to your problem. See next posting for details on the mix I've been using.

If the soil doesn't drain well, maybe the seed is germinating but then rotting before the seed comes up? Any other suggestions from readers out there? I'm a beginner gardener, hardly in a place to be giving advice!