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