495FC6A2 ED7E 4F3F 9E3C 8633C435D988 Comparing Burpee Organic Seed Starting Mix vs Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix for transplanted tomato seedlings

Comparing Burpee Organic Seed Starting Mix vs Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix for transplanted tomato seedlings

While I was pulling weeds in between my Simple kettlebell sets this morning, I found a big six plug seed starting tray underneath the one of the holly bushes. Yay! I decided to try transplanting the Cherokee Purple tomato seedlings into it and test out the two types of planting medium I have for kicks and giggles.

The test candidates

The Miracle Gro is definitely damper than the Burpee mix. I guess that moisture control really works.

Miracle Gro on left, Burpee on right (lighter color)

I didn’t have my grow light set up immediately when the first seeds sprouted, and so the tomatoes in the first flat were a little leggy — some almost 4 inches tall! Planting them deeply will correct this, however, and the long stems will make for good root systems as the plants grow in their new homes.

Tomato seedlings, densely planted (second flat)

Since I haven’t shown it before, here’s how I broke up the densely planted tomatoes and repotted them into bigger containers. It turns out there’s a name for this: pricking.

Hear what the tomatoes look like in their seed cells. This is about 10 seeds in a 2 inch square cell.

Popping the seedlings out of the starting tray

The starting mix (Burpee) was dry, so I just shook it off the roots by gripping the base of the tomato plants and shaking the loose soil back into the original. A hard core gardener probably wouldn’t do that — fearing disease or whatever, but I am not a hardcore gardener by any stretch.

I separated the roots gently. Craig Lehoullier’s video is a lot more violent than what I did — and I had a lot less root damage than he seemed to.

Craig Lehoullier transplanting video

If you look closely you can see some taproots starting on some of the baby Cherokee Purple tomato seedlings:

Using my finger, I poked a hole down to the bottom of each cell and tucked a tomato seedling into each either up to the cotyledons or as far down as they fit without bending. I put the two that were very tiny — one with only cotyledons and the other with very tiny leaves into an old tomato container, hoping they’d grow up in time. I am hopeful they can be late planted in June for a second late flush of tomatoes when the first planting peters out:

It’ll be exciting to see how these turn out! I am planning to grow two of these in my garden this year, and I’ll give the other plants away.

Find the SURPRISING RESULT of this test.

Posted by Jenny Smith

I'm Jenny Smith. I blog about life on the 300+ acres of rolling farmland in Northern Virginia where I live. I like tomatoes, all things Star Trek, watercolor, and reading. I spend most days in the garden fighting deer and groundhogs while trying to find my life's meaning. I'm trying to be like Jesus -- emphasis on the trying.