Monday, March 30, 2009

Transplanting time!

All the little tomatoes are in their root-trainers now! It's beginning to look a lot like spring... well, except for the snow outside. I transplant into pro-mix Bx - it has specialized root fungi - or mycorrhizae - included in the mix. This means I do not have to add any extra mycorrhizae when transplanting. I usually add 10% worm castings to my soil when mixing it prior to transplanting but my Magnesium and salt levels were so high when I had my castings tested that I decided not to do that this time. I am trying to figure out why a fruit and veg diet for worms has created such a high Mg level. The trouble with Mg is that it ties up nitrogen and at levels this high it might mean nitrogen is not available to the little plants. Anyway my worms are eating like crazy so I have a lot of castings.... I will use them up on the lawn later.

In previous experiments, purchased worm castings worked in at a 10% by volume ratio  kept plants stockier and less likely to sprout so tall and fast. Just a note on that: if tomato seedlings are longish as you do your transplanting, it is easy to plant them deeper than they were in their seedling flats. They are one of the few plants that can be planted deep and it definitely keeps them shorter. Now get out the grow lights and keep the small plants 20 cm from the light source.... that is only 8 inches. I personally like to have 12 hours of light and I do that by keeping the lights on a timer.

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