Do you want to know what I was doing at 11:00PM last night, when I should have been snuggled in a warm bed next to an equally warm husband? I was repotting tomato plants. *sheesh* The things I do for my garden.
Things have not been going well with my first batch of baby tomatoes. They went from rebellious teen plants to deathly ill in just about two heartbeats.
At first, I thought their issues stemmed from a phosphorus deficiency. Added some more bone meal and a little more heat and… well, the purple went away and the yellow stayed. They plants got paler and paler, till the yellow became more akin to white than anything else.
I tried more water, less water, fertilizer and mojo bags (I didn’t think it would help, but I didn’t think it would hurt either), all to no avail. The plants were dying.
The really baffling thing is that a batch of seeds I planted 3 weeks later is literally 10 times the size of these. They both got the same light, same watering regimen, same fertilizer applied. The only difference between the two is when the soil was mixed.
With the first batch, I did something terribly wrong when I mixed the soil, though what it was, I could not tell you. I thought I would be the uber-cool gardener and mix my own seed starting soil. It only contains Vermiculite, Perlite and Sphagnum moss. I tossed in a bit of bone meal for added phosphorous. How hard can it be, I had thought. Pretty hard, I guess.
When I repotted the little dears last night, I found that they had developed almost no root system. I am suspecting a nitrogen deficiency, but if that were the case, the fertilizer would have fixed the problem.
Beyond the fact that I have a dozen or so tomato seedlings that I am hoping make it through the week and recover some color, I also saved absolutely no money on making my own soilless mix. I only needed the little bags of vermiculite, perlite and sphagnum moss and they are not cheap. I would have been better off just buying a bag of the pre-mix soilless mix and being done with it. At least then I might have healthy tomato plants (you know, if it wasn’t for the fact that I was growing them in the first place).
So that’s it. I am swearing off seed starting soil making for the rest of my days. I’ll buy it by the bag from someone else. I am bad enough at starting seeds without having to worry about what the dirt is going to do to them.