I’m still in the hardening phase with my seedlings, gradually increasing their outdoor time. A couple days this week were so ugly and windy and rainy that I didn’t chance it, but I think slowly they are getting more used to the wind and the sun. I figured this is a good time to talk about some of the mistakes and mishaps I’ve encountered this year, in case you are dealing with them too and need a bit of reassurance.
I have had a couple of seedlings that appeared totally healthy just wilt over and die randomly. I am not sure if I forgot to water or maybe overwatered those specific plants, but it’s too late now. Luckily I had others of the same variety.
I burned a few plants by leaving them out in the sun too long during early hardening. The leaves took on a silvery, transparent appearance and won’t really recover from it (but the new leaves will grow in fine). This is one reason why proper hardening is important. I think they are close to being past the stage where they will burn now, but I’m still being careful because if I burn off ALL the leaves, the plant will die.
If we are being honest, I absolutely started my plants too late. I like to grow heirlooms with a long maturity period (some 80-90 days) so I really should have started them in February or EARLY March – definitely not April, like what happened with a few. Some of them are still soooo small. It’s okay though – I’ll get fruit eventually, and I learned a few tricks last summer to encourage ripening. I also bought a few plants from the greenhouse that should be producing ripe fruit by July so I won’t have to wait until September for all of them.
I somehow screwed up the germination on my most coveted seeds! It’s a long, multi-week story about how I even ended up getting them, but once I finally did, they didn’t sprout and it was too late to try again. I am disappointed that I won’t get to grow one of my very favourite varieties (green grape) this year, but I germinated three “surprise” plants from a variety mix and perhaps one of them might end up a new favourite.
As I said to a friend today who was asking how my tomatoes were doing, I always have a few each year that nearly die after planting but somehow come back and grow and produce just fine. I’ll keep saying: tomatoes are so resilient. Even though I made all sorts of mistakes and had some bad luck so far, I’ll still be be marveling at how the plants that seemed so tiny and close to death in May are 5 feet tall and dripping with fruit in August.