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Thread: Tomatoes and Broccoli

  1. #1
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    Default Tomatoes and Broccoli

    We have had plants started indoors for weeks now, and some of my tomato plants are easily over 2' tall. This is the first year that we have started our own plants from seed so this is a learning experience, and it's been a good one! However, someone mentioned to me to make sure that my tomato plants didn't grow too tall and spindly, and I have been looking at my tomato plants wondering how I do that! lol There are branches that have grown out all the way up the plant, although there are not many of them, so I guess in a way they ARE kind of spindly! Will they fill out the more they mature???

    And speaking of spindly, we have also planted broccoli and cauliflower plants for the first time this year as well. THEY are definately coming up spindly! They look *nothing* like the full plants that I have purchased from the store in the past years! Most people say this is normal, and some say their's have done well, and some say their's have fallen over and died. How does the store get such heartier, healthier looking plants??!!

    Our zuchinni plants are doing awesome though, and it looks like they are going to start producing right here on the kitchen table!!

  2. #2
    Member Alaska Grandma's Avatar
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    I have found that tall and spindly plants mean that they are not getting enough overhead light, so they are always reaching for the sun. Do you have your starts near the window or do you have an overhead light on them? I have my starts in a bay window so they do get overhead sunlight all day and it really helps. I also have some just sitting near the window and those tend to do the tall and spindly thing. If possible try putting a small florescent light right above your starts/plants and that will really help. I also try to brush them gently with my hand twice a day or put a small fan on low nearby so they get the feel of a gentle breeze. It will make the stems stronger. Especially for tomatoes you want a stout, strong stem that will later be able to support the fruit.

    3 1/2 weeks till planting time here and counting down…
    Good luck,
    Grandma Lori
    If God had intended us to follow recipes,
    He wouldn't have given us grandmothers. ~Linda Henley

  3. #3
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    I have them lined up in the window sill....this window does not get direct sunlight, but it is a big window and allows for lots of light.....

    Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Insufficient light can make them reach, but so can excess nitrogen, especially when there's insufficient potassium. There's various sources for potassium if there's a deficiency.

    Tomatoes prefer a modest to mild nitrogen, moderately high to high phosphorous levels, and a moderately high dose of potassium. Too much 'N', too little potassium ('K'), and too little light, and you'll get plants that can't support their own weight.

    I turned to strictly growing determinate 'maters years ago (preferences for Oregon Spring, Star Fire, Gold Nugget, and a few others.) THese plants, for the most part, when fed a nice regimen of their preferred ferts, will be nice little bushy fruit producers, and I've had some of the Oregon Springs and Star Fires produce as much or more weight in finished 'maters as many others' indeterminate vining 'maters.

    We use fairly 'hot' organics, in raised beds, and try to compensate for the calcium carbonate in our well water.

    ruffle

  5. #5

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    When you are ready to transplant the tomato plants outside or into the greenhouse, just clip off some of the lower leaves and actually plant the roots and the spindly stem HORIZONTALLY, then gently bend the top of the plant up. What this does is allow more of the plant to develop roots and the bushiest part of the plant (the top) does it's thing without having to be supported by a spindly stem. Give the plants fertilizer and water and they'll take right off, within a couple of weeks you won't even remember that they started out spindly. I have purchased some terrible looking tomato plants before and they will shape themselves up in no time using this method.

    Try transplanting the broccoli and cauliflower into bigger pots and plant them deep, this will help them from being as spindly. The best thing to do is to get them outside as soon as the weather allows. Since they are a hardy cold crop they can go outside pretty soon, especially if you place hot caps over them.

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