Full Member
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:51 pm
Location: Zone 7a. Central NJ

Seed starting vs store bought plant

I started growing tomato plants from seeds last year. This year I decided to get a store plant as I couldnt find seeds for that variety. The plant came from a small garden store.

I was comparing my plant(started from seeds) to the store bought variety. Even though both plants were similar height, the stem from store plant was much stronger and roots were really thick. Whereas my plant was not as strong and roots were much thinner.
I also felt the store plant had better soil.

My question is what contributes to such big differences. Especially roots.

Posts: 14096
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: Hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Remember growers are a business. They do buy quality soil mixes and seed. They know what fertilizer recipes to use and provide the right environment to get optimum growth. They will also use growth regulators on some plants (usually not vegetables) to keep them from outgrowing their pots too soon. Usually, they plant in time for their market. That is why if you want to order a large number of plants you need to give them 4-6 weeks notice to grow them out.

If you are growing indoors you may not have enough light and you may not be giving the plants enough of the right fertilyzer at the right time. Plants get thinner when they don't get enough light but have stockier stems in good light. Root development depends on the pot size, timing and composition of the fertilizer. It sometimes depends on the tomato variety. Determinate tomatoes have shorter internodes and stockier stems than indeterminates.

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