Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Happy Little Peas and Onions, and VERY Unhappy Tomato Plants

Green is said to be a very relaxing color. I'm sure this is true. When I was a new mom and had trouble letting my milk down, I would look at my houseplants (it was April). It really worked! I could relax and let it flow. It's still very relaxing for me to look out the window, or be outside near the garden. I especially love looking at the peas and onions this time of year. The green is so brilliant and beautiful.
That said, I'm not enjoying looking at my tomato plants. Especially the cherry tomato. It has issues, and I don't know how to help. Is it just too cold here? It's potted and placed on the sunniest side of the house. It's still tiny and looks sick. When I potted it after picking it up at the nursery I watered it with a diluted manure tea that I picked up at the local dairy. That was about 2 weeks ago. I hoped it would help it thrive, but...
I never have had success in getting any tomatoes to ripen here. I did see Mama Pea's set up. Wow! What sweet looking plants those are! I guess I'll have to do some serious work if I want tomatoes like hers!?! Beautiful, Mama Pea! If you want to diagnose my sick tomato plants, please see the photos following. Mama Pea...Erin...? THANK YOU! ;)

Happy looking peas.

Happy onions. What do you think, Erin? Are they OK?

small and sickly cherry tomato plant

healthier top growth

Sickly looking bottom growth that seems to be spreading toward the top of the plant. The Early Girl planted next to it seems to be slightly affected by whatever it is too. The leaves turn a very dark, spotty green and then the edges begin to dry up. It is well watered, though, so I don't know. That's about all I know about gardening at this point. Weed, water, fertilize...


  1. Do you take the tomato plants inside if it gets below 55F? That might help. -Renee

  2. Thanks, Renee. I'll definitely keep that in mind. I wasn't actually sure what temps the plants could tolerate. I haven't taken in the basil either, though, and it is doing well. I would have thought the basil would have to be warmer than the tomatoes?
    I was wondering about phosphorus deficiency. It sort of looked like that in the photos I saw online. Any thoughts on that anyone?
    Also, I read that the bottom leaves should be removed from the plants because fungus affects them first. Yay, that sounds good! I removed all of the affected leaves. Now can I pretend there was nothing wrong with them? ;) Maybe since it is warming up and I have used the manure tea again, the roots will be able to take in the phosphorus (if that's the problem) and they'll be OK?
    All this over 2 tomato plants...but I would like to grow more in the future, and have sauce, salsa, soup...Mmmm!

  3. Your onions look good! Since you don't get too hot there, hopefully your tops will simply brown and die back and you will know when to pull them, with mine, they got about 4 times that wide and sent up a stalk almost overnight due to the heat, yours look textbook! Your pics of the tomato leaves do look like some phosphorus deficiencies I have seen, but consider the obvious first, like overwatering or drainage in the container. I just got done battling drainage issues with the ones in my containers and I cut the bottoms completely away and the problem went away, and they also looked like that near the bottom with nice looking tops. That being said, I garden in VA now, so MamaPea would be the source for your tomato info, I know I will be relying on her for lots of specific stuff once we move up north! I'm with you on those cold frames, I know now hubby will definitely be building some of those and I already told my family back in MN to save any windows they replace for us!

  4. Your peas and onions look WONDERFUL!

    I do think trying to raise tomatoes up here near the tundra could drive us gardeners crazy. If it's not one thing, it truly is another.

    Did you use garden soil in the pots for your tomatoes? Not that I have had huge amounts of success with tomatoes (now there's an understatement) but ones planted right in the garden have always done better for me than ones in containers.

    When did you plant those little guys? Do they just need more time to take hold? What all of our gardens need right now is SUN!

    I've read that tomatoes need a night time temp of 60 degrees to set blossoms, but they should be able to tolerate (once they're established) temps all the way down to freezing without real damage to the plant itself.

    Don't give up on them. They're probably gonna be fine!

  5. Erin- Thanks. That is helpful. I didn't know that over watering was a problem, and I don't know if drainage is an issue. The soil does get a bit dry on top between waterings, and when I water it runs out the bottom. The soil in the pots even seems to shrink away from the sides of the container a bit between waterings, which I thought might be bad? So, I've been soaking it every day. Maybe that's too much.
    Mama Pea- Maybe I'll start taking them in at night. After all, what is a tomato plant without tomatoes? :) Also, it is probably true that they need more time. As you've probably read, patience is not my strong suit! As you mentioned, come to think of it, the one time I planted the plants directly into the garden was the best year for the tomatoes, except that something ate them before we could (or parts of them anyway). Do slugs eat tomatoes, by the way? I remember the slugs were terrible that year, and I was always trying to pick them out of the garden.
    Oh, and they're in pots with potting soil that I purchased. I've watered them twice with a manure tea. The rest of the time I just use plain room temperature tap water.