Tomato Seedlings

Port Jefferson Stati, NY

Hello all. I am new here as well as a first time seeds to plant tomato grower. Last year I saved seeds and planted them. They are now three weeks old and some are doing great while others are not. I followed the instructions with lights, heating pad, etc. In the pictures attached you will see some in peat pots and some in plastic cups. The ones in plastic cups had the cheapest potting soil I could find (at Dollar Tree) and they are growing great. The ones in the peat pots are scrawny and not growing well. I water them all at the same time. The ones in the plastic cups were on the 'outskirts' of the grow light, yet they seem to be doing much better.

I am thinking I had the a) light too close to the peat pots or b) the peat post retain too much water.

Can anyone help me out here? Many thanks in advance.

Thumbnail by acemaker Thumbnail by acemaker Thumbnail by acemaker
Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

Your "plastic cups" seem to have printing on them. Peat pots are meant to be replanted, so their porous nature limits the effective available root volume. Even your tomato plants in the plastic cups are probably outgrowing their available root volume, and need to be re-potted to bigger pots. How close are you to being able to set your tomato plants outdoors into the ground? (Incidentally, when you do that, set the plants into the soil a little deeper than they were in the pots--tomatoes readily sprout roots from their stems.) If you are setting a peat pot into outdoor garden soil, it is probably better to remove the peat pot. They are supposed to be permeable to root growth, but in real life they are an unhelpful barrier.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

I agree with what Zen suggests and see other problems. Peat pots are great while those peat pellet pots are awful. Straight peat as a planting medium is too acidic, even for tomatoes, and poor in nutrients. Tomato seeds and seedlings have a store of nutrients until they lose the first set of primary leaves. After that they will struggle if not moved to a balanced medium. Try whatever fertilizer you use, half strength, and pot up in good quality soil as soon as possible.

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