Ask a Question forum: Are they goners? :(

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Name: Linda Richardson
Yellville, Arkansas (Zone 6b)
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GoBoldlyHomestead
Apr 30, 2015 6:03 PM CST
Oh, I'm just devastated.
My red & green tomato seedlings were off to such a good start. I've started hardening them off slowly, meticulously, religiously by-the-book.

Look at them! The uppermost leaves have started turning white, and curling. They appear to be sick. No longer thriving.

They aren't going to survive the scheduled transplant for this weekend into their 5-gallon buckets, are they?

I could REALLY use some good news, but please - keep it real as always.

Your verdict?
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Why shouldn't things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory? They are so, and we are so, and they and we go very good together.

- George Santayana
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 30, 2015 7:17 PM CST
Linda, I think it's possible the problem is those peat pots you have them planted in. I hate those things, and for plants that put out deep, vigorous roots, they totally block the new roots from forming. The peat is most often packed too tight and too thick for the pots to break down fast enough to let the roots grow through.

I would tear off those pots and transplant them to some bigger, deep pots with fresh potting soil. Or if the weather forecast is good, put some of them right into the ground.

Don't forget tomatoes can be planted much deeper than they are in their starting pots - all those little hairs on the lower stem will form more roots. So plant them at least 2in. deeper, in rich soil and give them a feed of half-strength soluble fertilizer.

Good news is, it's really hard to kill a tomato plant. They probably aren't goners. But take off those peat pots for SURE!
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
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chelle
Apr 30, 2015 7:45 PM CST
I agree Removing the (moistened) peat pots is number 1. If your buckets are easily transportable I'd suggest deep planting them, like Elaine said, then keep them out of hot sunlight for a week or so. Some morning sun might be okay, but they do look like they could use a gentle recovery period. Smiling

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Name: Linda Richardson
Yellville, Arkansas (Zone 6b)
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GoBoldlyHomestead
Apr 30, 2015 7:52 PM CST
I'll be using a 50/50 mixture of potting soil and cow manure/compost in my bucket containers. Also mixing in some egg shells I've been saving.

Some shade can definitely be arranged, even if I have to rig up a tarp-brella. I'm so eager to revive these things.

Should I plant the peat pots (after much trimming) directly into the containers, or remove them entirely?

(Edit: I see where removing them is suggested above)

Thank you guys SO much!
Why shouldn't things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory? They are so, and we are so, and they and we go very good together.

- George Santayana
[Last edited by GoBoldlyHomestead - Apr 30, 2015 7:54 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
May 1, 2015 4:29 PM CST
GoBoldlyHomestead said:I'll be using a 50/50 mixture of potting soil and cow manure/compost in my bucket containers. Also mixing in some egg shells I've been saving.


That sounds like a very rich, water-retaining mix. You might consider adding some coarse material like coarse Perlite or bark nuggets to open it up a little and let more air diffuse in. Say, chunks around 0.1 inch or 0.2 inch (around 1/8" or a little smaller, up to smaller than 1/4")

With big, thirsty, hungry plants like tomatoes, it IS a difficult trade-off between getting enough aeration to keep roots from rotting, and retaining enough water that you don't need to water 2-3 times per day.
Name: Linda Richardson
Yellville, Arkansas (Zone 6b)
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GoBoldlyHomestead
May 1, 2015 6:00 PM CST
Bark nuggets from mulch would work okay? A local lady talked me into adding a bit of Epsom salt as well.

Transplanting tomorrow, so any last minute tips I receive are HIGHLY appreciated!
Why shouldn't things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory? They are so, and we are so, and they and we go very good together.

- George Santayana
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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dyzzypyxxy
May 1, 2015 6:26 PM CST
Epsom salts is great stuff, but I'd be careful of adding it to the soil mix, Linda. Better to add it to the soluble fertilizer you'll need to water them with after transplanting. About a tablespoon per gallon is a good amount to start with.

Bark nuggets from mulch are pretty big, better to use something a bit finer, I think. The 50 percent manure might be a little bit rich for small plants as well. Manure releases an initial rush of nitrogen fairly fast once you are watering regularly. Any chance you have access to alfalfa pellets? It's horse food that hasn't gone through the horse yet, so without all the urea compounds that make manure so high in soluble N. The pellets are available at a feed store or Tractor Supply for about $15 for a 50lb. bag. It will last you all season.

Are you planting in the ground or in pots, Linda?
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Linda Richardson
Yellville, Arkansas (Zone 6b)
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GoBoldlyHomestead
May 1, 2015 6:56 PM CST
I'm planting in 5-gallon buckets.

I have a ton of organic seed-starting mix that is pretty heavy in perlite and moss and little wood pieces. Would that be a sufficient mix to add?
Why shouldn't things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory? They are so, and we are so, and they and we go very good together.

- George Santayana
Name: Linda Richardson
Yellville, Arkansas (Zone 6b)
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GoBoldlyHomestead
May 1, 2015 7:02 PM CST
I will not mix 1/2 potting soil and 1/2 manure compost. I'll use just 1 part manure compost to 3 parts potting soil, then.

I've saved about 6 dozen egg shells to grind up, but I read last night where the calcium doesn't even release until it's composted for awhile. Guess I'd be better off just adding those to the compost bin for next season, huh?

So much conflicting info out there.
Sad
I just want to make homemade salsa, darn it!

Pepper plants are absolutely thriving!
Why shouldn't things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory? They are so, and we are so, and they and we go very good together.

- George Santayana
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
May 1, 2015 7:57 PM CST
The seed starting mix sounds like a better option for lightening up the mix.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Linda Richardson
Yellville, Arkansas (Zone 6b)
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GoBoldlyHomestead
May 2, 2015 8:31 AM CST
Thank you, Elaine!

Today is the big day. First time transplanting.

*GULP*

Blinking
Why shouldn't things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory? They are so, and we are so, and they and we go very good together.

- George Santayana
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
May 2, 2015 1:45 PM CST
They should be fine. I once inadvertently snapped one of mine off at the soil line, went ahead and potted it up, and it STILL survived! Just took it a little longer to make new roots. My first thought was that your plants might have gotten a bit too much sun too soon. And I agree, peat pots are NOT the way to go with tomatoes. Good luck!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
May 4, 2015 3:35 PM CST
>> Bark nuggets from mulch would work okay?

In a 5-gallon bucket, don't use nuggets that are TOO big. A quarter-inch (6 mm) is probably too big, unless you desperately need much better drainage and aeration. 1/10" up to 1/8" is probably best.

Reducing the amount of compost also reduces the amount of "lightening" needed".

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