TareqPhoto
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Growing Tomatoes for first time

Hi all...again,

Well, now is coming the veggie that i put it on top list of plants i want, and what else than tomatoes!!!

So, i only started this year as you saw from my threads, and i keep testing my plants in pots or containers, and i planted some tomatoes 3 different types within 1-2 months, and here are photos from different pots and containers you can see, so tell me what i must do as next steps from now to insure it will keep growing or grow fine?

Pot 1, not purchased by me, found it when i moved to the house, so i used it and don't know what type of soil or content of it.
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

Pot 2

Also not by me, and maybe the same soil as the pot 1, and i am surprised to see the plant grown faster or more in this pot where it is sharing with another seeds of tomatoes same type., but i feel this plant can die or wilt anytime or not grow anymore, so what to do, transplant it, leave it as it is? or just forget about it and it is just a test?
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

Container 3

Here i planted S. Marzano 2 type seeds after germinated in cotton, and i see one is almost growing and the other are no go.

The soil here is the mix of potting soil, red or orange sand, and a sewage treated fertilizer.
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

Container 4

Here i planted Campbell 33 type seeds after germinated in cotton, and from what i and you can see it didn't go well, still very small seedling and it didn't grow since a while 2 weeks or 3.

The soil is same as the mix in container 3 above

So, maybe my mix wasn't good after all?

I will try to replace that sewage fertilizer with a cow manure one, to me it sounds the first 2 pots have natural more like manure than industrial one, and also i don't know what amount of each component i should add

In all cases, i planted in different pots and containers almost in the same period, about 2-4 days apart as maximum and not all growing at same rate even in same container or soil.
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

So from 4 above posts, what do you think about the plants? what do you suggest? any tips?

I have some pots empty i can use, should i try another or different soil mix? should i transplant something? any treatment for those already grown seedlings i can use?

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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

The seedlings look pretty healthy, especially the photos of white pot. I suspect the one in the black pot is growing faster either because it is getting some shade from being deeper in the partially filled pot or because the black is creating warmer environment. But as that seedling grows, you should fill with more soil, burying the stem, until the pot is completely filled.

The orange long containers ("windowboxes") that you said are not doing well could be they got sunburned from when transferred/planted from the cotton (was that indoors?) and then placed in the sun too quickly without acclimating. Another possibility is you are watering all of these on same schedule -- vast difference in soil volume and rate of evaporation.

I'm also trying to remember -- I think all San Marzano type long fruited tomato varieties (and heart shaped fruit varieties) typically have what is called "wispy" leaves -- they are thinner, droopy and look weak and wilted by nature.

You mentioned it's a bit cooler now in another thread, which is good. Tomato seedlings prefer temperatures that are comfortable for you -- not too cold and not too hot.

...

To be honest, I don't like using sewage based fertilizer for edibles especially modern sewage containing too many chemicals and heavy metals. Honest-to-goodness properly composted "night soil" " humanure" might be a different story, though that has its own inherent risks.

What are your other fertilizer options? Maybe I should go discuss this with you in your overall first time gardening thread.... For now, I will say, you will want to start fertilizing these seedlings now that they have true leaves. I'm currently regularly watering my tomato seedlings by putting in used coffee grounds and tea leaves, rice rinsing water, etc. Last dregs left in beverage containers (juice, milk, soda) are rinsed out and added to a holding bottle. And I put a small amount of this in the water used for the seedlings and other plants. I also put a red wiggler (earthworm) from my vermicomposter in each pot. They make fertilizer for the plants in the pot.

AACT (actively aerated compost tea) is an excellent way to boost your plants' health and add fertility to the soil depending on formulation. Has <making your own compost from kitchen and yard waste> been discussed in the other thread? (I really need to catch up)
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

Thank you very much for your reply.

You have a point, maybe a black pots can absorb heat more so it may give more warmth as you said, but can't depend on it, i will keep watching, also just about half an hour by typing this post i transplanted that one from container 3 [S. Marzano] to a black pot that deeper and not small, i think it is 8" diameter, but i think it will die sooner or later because the soil wasn't strong sticky enough so the seedling wasn't in place when i transplanted, hope i didn't damage the roots, in all cases i just transplanted and i have to keep watching it and see if it will keep growing or i killed it already.

I wanted to transplant one of the two in that black pot #2, i don't know if 2 seedlings in addition to one small new grown one can be fine in that one pot, i can fill it with soil, but i don't know what kind of soil it was used in pot 2 as i mentioned earlier, i am worried if i put soil that is not much same as the original existing soil in the pot, that will not affect the seedlings?

I moved that pot #1 to have another location where it will receive more sun, before it was in a place that couldn't receive enough sun light longer before it goes under the house shade, so i moved it a bit away from the house shade so it can have more sunlight during the day, maybe that what caused it not growing faster or better, also i will keep watching.

I planted 3 types of tomatoes and i said i don't want many varieties, but i would like to give it a try and have one more type, but i don't know what to choose, i don't anything not red color and i don't want that sweet type, so which one to choose? Maybe i want something that give me smaller sizes like dwarf or mini types, not too small but let's say in tennis ball size or little smaller if available, not the size of table tennis ball definitely.

In one arabic forum about plants and gardening, i checked one topic about tomatoes, and one member pointed out about a kind of disease or pest that attack the tomatoes, i saw one pic he included as an example[maybe not taken by him] and to my surprise or shock i saw that in my tomatoes seedlings in that container 3 and the second smaller seedlings in pot 2 above, he said this kills the productivity and health of tomato even if you give the plant 100% perfect environment, so maybe this will slow down or kill my tomato plant before even i can see any growing to flower at least, and he said there is no solution for it except if i cover that seedlings from beginning when they sprouted out which is late already, or use some kind of babies toy at animal form in the pot maybe to scare that pests, hahaha, funny!!!

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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

Oh so those ARE squiggly white lines inside the leaves in #3 container -- Leaf Miner trails? I was hoping I was seeing strands of cotton that you talked about.

There are two types of leaf miners. One is a moth caterpillar, and the other is a fly maggot. Did the member in the other forum who shoes an example mention which kind is prevalent in your area?

If the seedlings are growing well, one way to handle this is to remove the affected leaves or snip off the portions of the leaves that are being tunneled already.

As a preventative and a way to find out what kind of pests they are, you can buy sticky traps if available in your area or may be by ordering from an on-line source. You can also make your own by smearing some kind of sticky substance -- petroleum jelly or grease if it's not too hot that they will just melt right off otherwise I'm not sure what to suggest (normally I say product called "tanglefoot" used to cover trunk of fruit trees) -- on a piece of yellow plastic.

Actually sticky traps come in yellow, white, and blue. I believe yellow attracts most kinds, but blue and white are specific for some others.
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

The usual assumption is that you need at least a 10 gal container for EACH tomato plant -- say 35-40 liters? But it really depends on the variety. Some get HUGE and you have to grow in the ground or in a big tub/half barrel. Also, some of the limitation stems from tremendous water consumption and sub-irrigated planters with automated water re-supply using siphon tubes and a large separate water reservoir can compensate.

And recently, there are more shorter sized varieties for growing in pots... sometimes recommended as patio sized. However, some so called "dwarf" varieties still grow pretty big which some varieties that are not officially genetic "dwarf" grow to less than 3 feet. I am experimenting with many of those for growing in 3 gallon or smaller sized containers indoors during Fall-Winter months.

I'm also trying tiny "micro" sized varieties that can grow in 1 gallon container and produce masses of cherry sized fruits, though not many have very good flavor as yet. Breeders are working on improved varieties.
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

It is hard to tell in the pictures, especially in my phone, but the seedlings look dwarfed and not that vigorous to me. And definitely leaf miners in the last pic.

I don't know anything about seed starting in pots outdoors, I guess it depends on the heat, but for indoors those pots are way too big for starting seeds. Much better to "pot up" frequently, starting in seed starting trays, and eventually move to the final size when they have a rootball to suit it. The seedlings love it and the mix keeps better even proper moisture. But outdoors in hot sun, it may dry out too fast.
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

I planted the germinated seeds in shade and not in direct sun or hot weather, it was not much warm, and i planted quickly from the box directly into the soil, and if it failed then i will never see any seedlings or at least sprouting, but the question is about what if it sprouts?!!!

So now what i have to do, keep going with what i have right now or try again with new seeds?

I think the best way is if you can point out the look of the pots or containers that are suitable for growing tomatoes, telling me about the type or only diameter will not tell me much, so pictures about suggested or highly recommended may help me to choose the right pots/containers to start with.

Also, i still think to have some tomato plants/seedlings growing in the garden ground, but i don't know if i should plant seeds or plant seedlings when grow a bit longer.

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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

From another forum the arabic i mean, the member said that this bug/pest called "tuta absoluta", not sure if that is true.

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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

Yep. That's the moth kind -- Tomato Leafminer. Little tan colored moth adults. Green caterpillars tunnels between top and bottom surfaces of the leaves in -- not so much meandering squiggly lines as with the fly maggots but more like -- pockets leaving dark green poop behind as they advance. :x

In both cases, the larvae will crawl out of the leaf to drop in the soil to pupate and emerge as adults later to repeat the cycle in several waves over the season.

It's best if you can get them under control in the first wave. If you are diligent, you can squish them between the leaf surfaces, but once they are everywhere, it gets harder and, as long as the tomato plants are actively growing, it's easier to remove part or entire leafs (they need to be disposed rather than tossing them around the garden).

Tuta absoluta will also rapidly infest eggplant/aubergine leaves and occasionally but not so much pepper leaves (these plants are all related).
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

Is there something with strong smell i can place around pots that may prevent from pests or at least to drive out those pests? i don't know if i can find any spray for plants, but i am new and i don't know good ways for treating the plants, in fact i did remove the affected leaves but i don't think this may help much, but i keep it this way.

It is really so surprising about from where those pests come? it is like they are waiting any plant to show up then attack.

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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

Are you able to obtain neem seed "cake"? This is what is left after pressing the neem seeds for the oils. It is scratched into the soil surface around the plants.

I believe they are mostly exported from India.

I have heard that in addition to being an organic fertilizer, the residue from the neem seed cake is absorbed by the plants and surrounding soil to repel the pests and weaken if not outright kill them in the soil dwelling stage. Some people have touted it as the organic gardener's answer to systemic control.

In this instance, I have no experience with the product, and am just passing along some information that I have heard about. But I have read some good reports from reliable gardeners who tried using it this past season. I don't know if the product has been in use long enough to be reliably certain of long term health safety, especially if chemicals, etc. are used for neem oil extraction, and the seeds are not simply mechanically cold pressed.

---

Try also the sticky traps I mentioned in the previous post. In the house, I just put UNpetroleum jelly (not petroleum based -- I don't know what it is exactly) on plastic cups and utensils and hang them or put them in the soil near the plants. I did buy some commercial product this year to see if there is a significant difference from home made versions.

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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

Ok. This blue one is described as attractive to leafminers but I'm not sure if that includes the tomato leafminers.

Hydrofarm HGSLTLT 5-Count Sticky Thrip Leafminer Trap (Pack of 5)
by Hydrofarm Link: https://amzn.com/B000I6JUBQ

I remember I was looking into Tuta absoluta a couple of years ago when I had an outbreak in my Winter Indoor Tomatoes -- I think I was reading translations of Central America and Brazilian articles -- describing sticky traps baited with pheromone attractants specific to Tuta absoluta. At the time, I couldn't find a reasonably priced source in the U.S.
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

If you Google "potting up tomatoes", you will find tons of articles and pictures.

On mature plants the leaf miners aren't that big a deal... but you've got tiny seedlings. Applestar definitely knows more about this than me.
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

Thanks!

I will just keep watching the few tomatoes seedlings that are growing slowly and try to water it regularly and give it much sun to be better growing, i just feel all the pots are small and they will not grow good enough, if i transplant it when they grown bigger a bit in pots it may cause more problems as the roots are longer, while if i can transplant it while it is still not much big and the roots aren't that much long then it may work fine, right?

So what i have to do when my garden become ready, should i transplant the tomatoes seedlings that are already grown even not much or i should plant new seeds and forget about those potted/containers tomatoes seedlings?

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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

Ok, the tomatoes in pots sounds they are keep growing, i thought i will see them die quickly or they don't grow anymore for long time before they grow again, but looking at them today i feel they are keep growing, and what make me just partially happy is that they give nice leaves, and to my surprise, 3 pots and 3 almost different seedlings of tomatoes, two so very similar leaves but the other one is a bit different than both, later i will take photos and post here to show you what i mean.

My only worry is, how long it will take those seedlings to grow fine and flower at least? and will those posts can handle the tomatoes seedlings until they can give flowers at least? I don't want to make risk by transplanting them to the ground, i may damage/kill the plant from roots as the soil isn't going holding together around the roots, so what will be the possibilities if i exposed the roots by mistake when transplanting that it will keep growing?

I really can't wait to prepare my garden, after seeing some plants growing as i never expect them to grow or even germinate within 2-3 months now i feel i want to plant in the ground permanently so i don't have to disturb the plants and watch them grow high or healthy enough, next year i will try to make sure i focus on making things right so i don't have more mistakes or failure, i think once i get the seedlings to grow up high enough or healthy enough then i will not look back and just enjoy getting the results out of those plants later in the future, and tomatoes sure will be one of them in top of m list, i am thinking about dishes i like to eat that including tomatoes and salsas or sauces.

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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

Unlike some other plants -- cucumbers for example -- tomato plants are one of the easiest to transplant. Even if you damage the roots somewhat and set them back a bit, they can grow new roots from anywhere on their stems.

Here's an extreme example of tomato seedlings rootbound in their small containers before planting in the ground:

Subject: Recycled containers for seed starting and uppotting
applestar wrote:One more update photos of the tall plastic cups and sod bottles with vertical slits.

It's possible for them to get completely root bound :oops:
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...rest of the plant...
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In the following photos, I'm holding the rootball upside down.

I think the roots do tend to grow down rather than around:
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...rest of the plant... :wink:
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In this photo, you can clearly see where the slits were. They do seem to have affected the direction of root development:
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With the cut off soda bottles, the roots grow down following the contour of the bottle. Reminds me of the specialty star shaped cell trays and pots:
Image
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

I see, good to know, i will try to transplant it quick from pot to the ground directly and add soil around the roots, all these just to make sure that the plant don't feel much of changes when transplanted, and the seedlings aren't that big yet so maybe the roots aren't those so big as well, in all cases i am in front of two choices or decisions, either i leave the seedlings in the pots and forget about transplanting, or just transplant them normally and it will be good hope so.

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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

Here is a pot where i planted seeds from tomatoes bought from the market, not sure about what type, doesn't matter what it will give, i accept it, and it is the faster grown seedlings i can see out of all other tomatoes seedlings, and it is not alone in the pot, this is really strange.
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

And here is a pot where i transplanted one seedlings from a container of S.Marzano 2 type that i mentioned before, i wanted one seedlings to be individual so i transplanted this into this pot, not sure how it is grown so far, i will wait and see
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

Here is a white pot that i mentioned before that it is not purchased by me, but it is mine now because the man left it for me.

What making me to worry about it is that i just noticed there are very small seedlings started to grow near by the main one, i don't remember i planted more than one seed, and i am not sure if those small plants are of tomatoes because the pot was all the time far from the ground on a stand holder, so what i should do here? suggest/advise me please.
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

Here is a container where i planted Campbell 33 seeds, i see this is the only seedling that keep growing, i am not sure if i should transplant this to another pot as i did before or keep it in this container, the container isn't that much deep but it is wide and there are another seeds planted but i think only another seedlings grown but stopped or died so i can remove that another one, also it is just a test seeds.

So from all above pics to me i can see differences in the leaves, i am sure they are all tomatoes, you have doubt about it? also should each type of tomatoes have similar leaves but different at the end?

What do you think with all those so far? you can compare those last photos with the ones i posted in the beginning and see how it is going on so far, 3 types of tomatoes so far, and i may add the forth in the future not sure which, but was thinking about mini small or cherry-like one, i don't want too many varieties as i said and only i want the red ones clean round ones, actually i should only go with one type but wanted to see different types, who knows i may like other types too but definitely not non-red/orange one as i tried one that is nearly green matured and it wasn't tasted so good, and yellow or whatever color will give us a bad idea that it isn't a tomato, so i will stick with known red/orange one only.
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

It is better to fill your containers all the way to the top . Fill them up, water it so the soil settles, then fill it again , Your little seedlings are in the shadow of the pot edges.
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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

rainbowgardener wrote:It is better to fill your containers all the way to the top . Fill them up, water it so the soil settles, then fill it again , Your little seedlings are in the shadow of the pot edges.
If i fill it then it will bury the seedlings, that may kill it, so i was thinking to wait until it grow little bit more so the leaves are high enough above the soil surface even after i fill it.

How i can fill it without damaging the main plant? i may fill the edges or around the plant itself, but then it is pointless, i should have more soil just right under the plant itself to make it higher, but this means i have to dig the plant again and re-fill and re-plant it again, i am not sure if the plant is already fine after it is transplanted already, same with another pot that has 2 or 3 seedlings and it is not filled to the top or high enough, one plant is grown great faster than all other seedlings, i am not sure if i try to take it out to fill then getting back will not damage it or the other next to it seedlings, i hope i got your point correct.

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Re: Growing Tomatoes for first time

And about that seedling in the container, i am still not sure if i should keep there or transplant it to another pot as i did before, and this time if you suggest me to transplant it then i will make sure to fill the pot all way to the top.

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