Two weeks ago I started a seedling experiment in response to a question posed by a fellow gardener. I had guided her through the seed starting process and the topic of potting up was presented. She had inquired as to whether this step was necessary and I responded that it would help her plants grow bigger and stronger much faster. To test this theory, I set up a side-by-side trial of tomato seedlings that were potted up and those that were left to grow in their original peat pellets. I was confident that the seedlings that had been potted up would be bigger after two weeks, but I had no idea that the difference would be as profound as it has proven to be. Check them out!!
You’ll notice in the photo below that not only are the roots highly exposed and unhealthy but that the bottom side of the leaves is a vibrant purple color. This is typically indicative of one of two things (or both); either my artificial lighting is too intense or they are phosphorous deficient. All of the plants in the photo above are under the same lights (to minimize variables for the sake of the experiment) so I don’t think intensity is the big issue here. The poor root health however, would limit their ability to take up nutrients, including phosphorous.
Now comes the next challenge…can I save them? Check back in a few weeks to see if they’ve made a strong recovery. In the meantime, go pot up your seedlings so you have healthy, robust starts for your 2021 garden. Cheers, friends!