Monday, October 12, 2009

A tale of two tomato plants

It's now a complete month since I planted my Aerogarden VeggiePro. Take a look at what's happened to the first of the two tomato plants:

After a shaky start and a little bit of the nudging as I described in the last post, it looks like the first tomato plants are finally making some progress. In total, three plants showed up, one anemic one, but two fairly strong ones. The plants still are very, very much behind what the instruction manual says I should see at this point in time--the manual says that at 4-5 weeks the plants should be extremely thick and ready for pruning. As you can see, the plants are nowhere close to that, but at least they're in the game now.

Since the two "good" plants were about 1-2 inches now, per the instruction manual I took some scissors and thinned them to all but one plant. The one weak plant was easy to get rid of, but it was hard deciding which of the two healthy plants to chop. I chose the one with the slightly thicker stalk and more leaves.

Now for the bad news. The other pod is still extremely disappointing. The very first seed that sprouted is completely dead now. Three others have sprouted. One of them is barely an eighth of an inch tall, and another is about half an inch. In both cases (the same as with the first doomed stalk that came up), the seed outer "shell" portion never came off but stayed stuck to the top of the stalk. I'm no agriculturalist, but I get the sense that this means the plant is not getting the needed light it needs to grow.

In the case of the fourth plant, the seed outer shell finally did come off, but very, very late, which I'm guessing led to the stunted growth you see below. This is after 4-5 weeks, and this, the tallest plant, has a tiny amount of malformed leaves and is not even 1 inch tall. Terribly disappointing.

I'll be contacting Aerogrow this week to explain and to see if they'll send a replacement for the second tomato pod, as this seems highly unusual. I'll let you know what they say.

In all, not a very auspicious start for the VeggiePro. The plants are not growing close to the pace that was suggested on the pod or in the manual, plants are growing under the paper shield, plants are growing stunted.

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