Plants Do Strange Things

We’ve got a couple interesting plant happenings around the garden this morning.

First, the amusing one. I noticed some kale had popped up in the garden next to the walk, but since there was no kale planted in that bed last year, I was pretty confused. I pulled it up, since it was out of place, and technically a “weed.” This is what I found:

Apparently there was a stalk of old kale that somehow found its way to the garden. (I think I blame Bob…I know he had a lot of kale in his yard last year.) The stalk of kale started rooting on the end (the right end), and then the side buds sprouted upwards. Quite ingenious kale, actually. I had no idea that kale would do something like that!

The other plant mystery of the moment is the tomato seedlings. The germination percentage wasn’t as good as I expected, and the plants are not looking healthy. It’s either a nutrient deficiency or a virus. (Or maybe some really strange thing going on that isn’t even on my radar.) For right now, I’m calling it a nutrient deficiency, because that is something fixable. The only problem is that I’ve fertilized twice in the last week, and the problem is not looking any better.

All of the plants have a rather sickly, yellowish cast to them. Some of them are yellow between the veins (scientifically called “interveinal chlorosis” ), and some of them have yellow veins and green in between the veins. Some have a purplish cast on the undersides (likely a phosphorus deficiency). To top that off, the root systems do not seem to be as well-developed as I would expect of 2 week old tomato plants.

After talking with a couple of the K-State specialists, the potential diagnosis is that they have damaged roots…potentially from overwatering (how could it be possible?!?), and that they will probably outgrow it as they grow new roots, but that they may never recover the vigor they need to be truly productive.

The solution? Start some fresh seedlings and see if they are healthier, while continuing to nurse the others along!

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on April 5, 2010, in Around the Garden, Plant Problems & Diseases and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Oh no, I hope your tomato plants recover and produce a good crop. Keep us updated on them. I’m intrigued as it is all very new to me, I will be keeping an eye out for deficiencies and root damage from now on!

    Good work!


    • Yeah…it’s new to me too! Usually overwatering just straight up kills the seedlings, usually with the help of a disease like damping off! I started some fresh seeds yesterday to see if I have better luck with them.

  2. That Kale is awesome. I had no idea it could do that!

  1. Pingback: Sickly Tomatoes, Part 2 « The Demo Garden Blog

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