Monday, April 12, 2010


The first week of April brought unusually warm temperatures for the mountains of western North Carolina. This wasn't much of a shock since our Winter was "unusually" cold. I'm learning quickly that there is never anything "usual" about the weather here in Asheville!

Although it is a little early to think about hardening off the vegetable seedlings I sowed in early February, I thought I would bring the tomatoes out to stretch their legs in the warm sunshine.

tomato seedlings

I am growing Costoluto for the third year, because it's my favorite variety and has proven itself year after year. I'm also trying two new varieties; Cupid , my first grape tomato, and my first yellow variety, Jubilee.

I decided to retire my love for Marcellino this year after an awful mess of cracked fruit last Summer. I just can't handle another heartbreak like that!

Last year I used a seedling heat mat when sowing the veg to speed germination, then placed them under artificial grow lights. Something went wrong, because all the tomatoes were thin and spindly - poor little things. I did some research this year and corrected my mistake - you have to place the seedlings no less than 2" from the light source. I propped the seed tray up on a couple of boxes to get the plants closer to the light, and this year I have a healthy lot!

hairy tomato legs

At 8 weeks the stems of these plants are thicker than the ones I planted in the garden last year at 14 weeks!

Have you ever wondered why tomatoes have such hairy legs?

hairy tomato legs

I've looked all around the Internet and can't find a conclusive explanation. One source claims the hair secretes an antibiotic, while another claims the little hairs assist new root growth. If you have your own answer, please share it with me!

Now I just have to hold off until Mother's Day weekend to set these beauties in the ground. Blast mother nature for trying to trick me with this warm weather! I know there's another hard freeze around the corner, lady. You can't fool me!!

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At 2:14 PM , Blogger Priscilla said...

Well I had heard/read? that the hairs are a root growth thing. They tell you to bury a tomato plant up closer to the leaves and roots will form on the stalk.

At 5:56 PM , Blogger michelle said...

Wow - your tomatoes are so big! I just planted my tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant inside a couple weeks ago. With the move I am a little late on some of the plant starting, but it's coming along! We just planted 21 blueberry bushes and 31 (out of the 100 I got from the forest people) crabapple tree seedlings. Little baby things - we'll see how many make it. Need any? This year will be my garden experimental - glad to see you are actively posting so I can learn from your experience

At 6:07 PM , Blogger subashri seshadri said...

Hi, I am trying to costoluto tomatoes too. I bought a small plant from a person who grew these from seed. But they don't seem to be doing too well. I am not over-watering them , just once in two days, and give them good sun. I live in the Bay area, Northern California, so the weather is pretty balmy. The plant seems to be kinda shriveling but no alarmingly so. I am trying to see what I can do. Please let me know if there is anything I can do. The plant is about 7 inches high but not very leafy. Thanks a lot.


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