Vegetable Garden Q&A

Vegetable Garden Q&A

Here are four questions that there wasn’t time to answer during the recent Vegetable Gardening Webinar.

Q: I have tomato seedlings with purple foliage. Can I save them? Purple foliage on tomatoes usually indicates stress. The most common cause is that they are too cold. Cold temperatures prevent the tomatoes from absorbing the nutrients they need. If you’ve already planted them outside, you’ve done this too early. If they aren’t in the ground, but are in pots, move them back indoors to a warm, sunny location. If they are still in small pots, transplant to a slightly larger pot and fertilize with a mild application of a general fertilizer. Don’t apply just one nutrient if you don’t know that a deficiency is the problem. It’s most likely the cold.

Q: Our seedlings are “leggy.” They were planted a month ago, and this week we put a fan on them. Will that help? The fan should help but don’t have it on continuously. Have it on for about four or five hours a day. However, the fan won’t solve the problem if the seedlings aren’t getting enough light. If they are under grow lights or florescent bulbs, be sure that those lights are no more than three inches above the plants. Plants stretch to reach for the light. If they aren’t under lights, but are in a window, you need either a greenhouse or lights.

Q: Can I plant onions now? Yes! Onions sets, plants or seeds can be planted in late April on Cape Cod.

Q: Can I use last year’s soil in containers? Or do I need to use new potting mix? You can use last year’s for one more year but you should dump it out into a wheel barrow, and break up the clumps, removing old roots. Then mix in some compost (about 1 part to every 7 parts of old soil) and a handful of organic fertilizer such as Tomato-tone or Plant-tone. Don’t just add compost to the top of the old stuff, because it’s compact and still has root remains from last season. If you don’t break it up well and then refill the pots, your plants won’t do as well.

Although we record some of our virtual events, this one wasn’t recorded. Sometimes you just have to be there! The links to all of our events are put in our weekly newsletter, so if you want to participate in the future be sure to sign up for our email list. (Link on our home page!) If a virtual class is recorded you’ll find the link on our Events page.

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