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We have a bunch of seedlings grown from late Feb / early March to now -- May 11th -- that are very small.  We're talking tomatoes that have been two leaves and a stalk for over a month, maybe two.


We've tried them in the greenhouse and out of the greenhouse.  We've tried watering several times a day and once a day.  We've tried skipping watering.  We've moved them around, transplanted them, etc. and they are still small.


We're starting to worry that the composted soil we're using could somehow either be retarding growth or not encouraging growth.   Last weekend, we resorted to some Miracle Grow and see very little or no change.


What in the composted, aged soil would stop tomatoes AND peppers AND melons AND carrots AND turnips from growing for weeks at a time, but not kill them?


Other than sun, water, temperature, gardener error, or soil, what could keep the plants so small??  We need them to grow!


Thank you,



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Replies to This Discussion

There is a concern now about compost made from horse manure since it may contain herbicides from when the hay was made. Jeanne Davis of the NC Ext. Service has some info out on that subject. That is one possiblility. There is a germination test where you start bean seeds in that compost and then compare them in some other soil that you know is not contaminated. Here is her link http://ncalternativecropsandorganics.blogspot.com/search/label/compost
I also had a very slow start with tomatoe starts. They would not get past about 1-1/2 to 2 inches tall, no matter where I put them. I put them in the ground anyway and they stayed small a few more weeks. Then all of a sudden they took off and are now 4' high. I don't know why they had such a slow start. Someone told me that if you start them too early they will be runts and it's better to start them a little later as the early start does not make them grow any earlier. The soil temperature has to be right for them to grow.
If they are not in the ground, I'd just stick them in there and let them go. If they don't grow, then replant with new healthy starts from a nursery. If they don't do well, then you have soil problems. Take samples and send them off for analysis. Get soil sample info and mailers from the Extension Serivce in your county. Hope that helps and good luck.



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