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Tomatoes: A not-so-scientific growing experiment. Week 4 update

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

Tomato plants in various amounts of compost and topsoil
Week 4 update: compost / soil experiment

It turns out that the yellow leaves that I mentioned in week 2 just dried up…so I cleaned a lot of dead stems off of the plants this week. I think that the “fewer” yellow leaves / stems had died off at the bottom of the plants. This was pretty consistent across all of the plants. Since they have a lot of new height, width, and fruit, I’m not going to worry about it.

Plant number 3 is still struggling while all of the other plants are doing well. I think that there are two most likely problems: 1) underwatering. It’s possible that the watering tube has gotten clogged for this one plant. 2) a soil-based disease (fungal or bacterial) that might have come with the original plant (since all of the other pots used the same source for the local soil and compost). Some of the other options—like pests, transplanting, cold weather, dust, companion plants, and overwatering—don’t seem likely since they would more readily impact the other tomato plants.

Lastly, the fullness different between the plants with small amount of compost (thinner) and medium amounts of compost (quite full) continues to grow. It’s really cool to see and the different groups of plants, so far, have directionally the same amount of small tomatoes.

Below are this week’s measurements. While I tried to count the small tomatoes that we forming, it’s so much harder than I thought! Thankfully, it’ll be easier to count as they are pulled (none yet!).

Plant 1:

0% compost, 10% topsoil

Height start: 14.5”

Height today: 42.5”

Growth: 193%

Tomatoes: 7

Plant 2:

10% compost, 90% topsoil

Height start: 16”

Height today: 44”

Growth: 175%

Tomatoes: 6

Plant 3:

20% compost, 80% topsoil

Height start: 14”

Height today: 30”

Growth: 114%

Tomatoes: 1

Plant 4:

30% compost, 70% topsoil

Height start: 14”

Height today: 39.5”

Growth: 182%

Tomatoes: 5

Plant 5:

40% compost, 60% topsoil

Height start: 16.5”

Height today: 43”

Growth: 161%

Tomatoes: 11

Plant 6:

50% compost, 50% topsoil

Height start: 16.5”

Height today: 40”

Growth: 142%

Tomatoes: 5

Plant 7:

60% compost, 40% topsoil

Height start: 14.5”

Height today: 45”

Growth: 210%

Tomatoes: 7

Plant 8:

70% compost, 30% topsoil

Height start: 13.5”

Height today: 41”

Growth: 204%

Tomatoes: 3

Plant 9:

80% compost, 20% topsoil

Height start: 13”

Height today: 42.5”

Growth: 227%

Tomatoes: 1

Plant 10:

50% compost, 50% topsoil

Height start: 15”

Height today: 39”

Growth: 160%

Tomatoes: 8

Plant 11:

40% compost, 60% topsoil

Height start: 10”

Height today: 34.5”

Growth: 245%

Tomatoes: 0

Plant 12:

30% compost, 70% topsoil

Height start: 10”

Height today: 35.5”

Growth: 255%

Tomatoes: 0

About us

Freestate Farms makes premium landscaping products—compost, topsoil, and mulch—by recycling food and yard waste in Manassas, VA. Our composts, topsoil, and mulches are specially designed to increase the health and productivity of local soils, and with our focus on sustainable practices, this lets the environment and your garden grow good, together. We sell bulk compost, bagged compost, bulk natural mulches, bulk dyed mulches, bagged dyed mulches, and bulk topsoil.


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