Monday, April 12, 2010

Hardening off & Tomato Problems

Why should we get to be the only ones to enjoy the great weather?

I took these seedlings outside on Sunday to get a couple hours of outdoor time. They seemed pretty happy. Next weekend is our last frost date, so it is time to start hardening them off.

I have been having a little trouble with my tomato seedlings (and now maybe the peppers too). I think they are malnourished. The tomatoes have lost their bottom leaves, which turned purple. The upper leaves got little brown flecks on them (not wet-looking) that have grown in some cases to large black spots.
I used two storage containers of potting soil I dug out of my shed when I transplanted these, and I think some of it was less than fresh. A couple of the Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes are doing fine, but a third is dying. Check out this picture two of the same kind of tomato transplanted at the same time and sitting next to eachother ever since:
What a shame the rest of the tomatoes all must have gone into the same soil as that one on the left, as they are all doing poorly. I have added fertilizer and am hoping for the best.


  1. Oh, poor tomato plants. Here is some info I found on tomato problems:

    I couldn't find anything that combined purple leaves, seedlings, and brown/black spots.

  2. Well, if you could have grown those seedlings with sheer will power, I think they would have been as healthy as a horse by now. Too bad we have to rely on sub par soil. On a related note, how can you tell fresh soil? What makes soil go bad?

  3. Matty, yes, I know what you mean. I went to a lot of sites and looked at a lot of images. I'm still hoping for a nutrient deficiency. Cross your fingers for me!

  4. Nicholas, I suspect that this particular container of soil was probably used for another plant a long time ago and I stuck it in the shed rather than compost it like I should have. Used potting soil gets depleted of nutrients, and also the organic particles in the soil start to decompose.