I can remember it like it was just a few weeks ago. I was all proud of my little tomato seedlings. They were growing up so big and strong, putting out all kinds of healthy green leaves. I took them out of the nursery and that’s where the problems began.
Those little tomato seedlings decided they wanted to be different. They went and colored their leaves yellow and purple. Started looking sullen and just didn’t perk up any more when I came in the room.
At first I figured is was just a passing phase, something they would grown out of. Then one day, I came in to find two of them laying on the ground, non-responsive. I rushed to help them, but it was too late. They were gone. It was then that I made my decision. My little tomatoes needed an intervention and fast before any more of them took their own lives.
At first, I felt like I was all alone. Like somehow I had failed them. Had I not provided enough food for them? Did I not feed them right? Or perhaps I had not had them in the right light?
But then I found that other gardeners have this problem too with their tomato seedlings. Yes, I had failed them, but not in the way I thought I had. I had let them out of the nursery too soon was were I had failed.
My little tomato were suffering from a phosphorus deficiency. At first I was surprised because I had specifically added phosphorus in the form of bone meal to the soil before planting them. The issue is that, apparently, if tomato seedlings do not get enough heat, they can’t take up the phosphorus in the soil.
When I took my seedlings out of the plant trainer, I also took them away from the heating pad that I had under the plant trainer and put them in the direct path of drafts from the back door. Oops. Live and learn and kill a few seedlings along the way.
But the problem has been solved and my tomatoes are now in a tomato heating rehabilitation facility. I think that if they complete the one month program, my little tomatoes can live out the rest of their lives as the happy and healthy little plants that I know they can be.