Friday, June 1, 2012

Tomato Stem Primordia

So I'll start with a story: Last year (my first year gardening) I started my tomato seedlings inside in....February. Yeah. I know. They were too big for their containers, and very leggy from lack of light (as I've learned since). Anyway, I had 3 Glacier tomatoes and 1 Black Cherry that I finally planted outside in the beginning of May. The Glacier tomatoes died. I don't think they really had a chance. The Black Cherry did amazingly, but all that is to say that I didn't really have a chance to learn hands on any of the diseases/bugs/etc that can happen when growing tomatoes. I read a lot about in books and online, but I never actually saw it in real life. 
This summer I decided to buy transplants, and got some volunteer tomatoes from C, so I'm actually taking time to see what's going on with my plants. 

This picture is from my Amish Paste. I saw that stem and started thinking that something horrible was going on- this was after I'd torn of almost all the suckers on my Big Mama Hybrid because I thought they looked like there was some kind of fungus on them. What I discovered is that it's (mostly) normal. It's Tomato Stem Primordia. The bumps are actually the beginning of a new root node. They show up when there is too much water- like in high humidity or over watering (which is probably what is going on with mine) or if there is too little. Actually, that might be the issue too, possibly. They were pretty dry when I got back from Michigan. I was worried they were some sort of bug that had buried it's larvae in the stem or a fungus. Now to figure out the leaves. I forgot to take a picture of those. 
And I did find some aphids on the leaves and worm holes in two of my Big Mama tomatoes. Grumble. 

Lets talk about happier things- like my cucumber seedling. The first of two, planted where I had the broccoli growing. The second set of beans that I planted a few days ago have started to sprout too. I love seeing the little half circle/curve of beans just barely poking out of the ground. Speaking of beans, the bush beans have started fruiting. It seems that with beans it's very fast from the time the flowers bloom to when the beans start growing. At least I'm only a week or two behind C. The wax beans have flowered and the bush beans are going to soon. It looks so cool with the tee pee trellis starting to fill out. I've been tucking the ends back into the structure so they aren't hanging out in the air. 
Bush beans next to pole beans
Bush beans
Wax beans

 And finally, a potato update. The ones that took the "drought" hardest were the red potatoes. I planted them on March 18th, and from what I've read they take about 100-120 days till maturity. It's only been about 75. So I'm still going back and forth on if they're ready. I could probably use them as new potatoes- I dug one up to see how they looked, and it was the size of a golf ball. I think I'm going to go ahead and leave them in there, and hill them some more. My reasoning is that I read you need to "cure" them in the ground before you dig them up- leaving them in the ground until the vines completely die. Since more than half of the vines seem to have come back, I'm going to wait it out.

I'm also planning on trying to get a bunch of basil plants growing (from seed). I've always loved pesto, but now I keep looking at my one lone lemon basil plant and think.....if only. The peas were ripped out yesterday, after a final harvest and I think I'm going to plant some squash there. Hopefully the peas haven't left too much nitrogen behind. I'd really like to put some more melons there?


  1. Great blog. Stem Primordia...interesting. My first year (last year) gardening, everything looked like some plant disease. There is a lot to learn about growing vegetables!

    1. Thank you! I know, I feel like everywhere I turn I keep finding something else out. But I love it so much, I don't think I'd rather be doing anything else sometimes. And it might sound creepy stalkerish, but I love reading your blog, partly because I'm in SoMD, so I feel like if people nearby are doing/dealing with the same things I am, then maybe I'm not doing so bad :)

  2. Here's how to know if the potatoes are ready: when you see the flowers form on the plants you can dig them up at that point for baby-sized potatoes. If you want full-sized just wait until the plant tops die off and your spuds are done!