Transplanting: A Tomatillo Adventure, Part 1 of 3

If you are an experienced tomatillo gardener (unlike me), you might be wondering just how long it was before the lack of sufficient water, sufficient nutrients, or sufficient space forced me to transplant my tomatillos to bigger and better pastures. You might also be wondering exactly where I transplanted them to. Or you might be wondering if the peppers survived at all in the shade of those large vines. Well today is your lucky day because this is my tomatillo transplanting update!

I just looked back at my post about planting the tomatillos and find it extra hilarious that I thought I had six to ten weeks to replant. About the time the third week came around, I was both really excited to see how healthy my tomatillos were and also realized that if I waited another three weeks, everything was going to die.

The peppers were being heavily overshadowed by the tomatillos, especially Little T, which of course is the largest of my four plants. In addition, the tomatillos, while overall very healthy, were showing signs of stress. How does a tomatillo plant show signs of stress you ask? Well let me show you...

After seeing that, I of course panicked and started looking up various reasons why my leaves were developing holes, the worst of which in my mind was some sort of invisible insect infestation. After finding a discussion on GardenWeb with a picture of a leaf that looked a lot like mine, I finally figured it out. Here's the breakthrough revelation from rhizo_1:

"BUT! I really think that this is a case of edema, caused by an imbalance of such environmental factors as moisture levels in the potting mix, humidity, temperature, air circulation, and temperature."

Curse you, edema! Okay, so my planter was too small, my peppers weren't getting enough light, and now I was possibly underfeeding, overheating, or, you've got to be kidding me, overwatering my tomatillos?!?

Something had to be done.

I had been doing some research on hydroponic setups for tomatoes for quite some time (growing tomatoes is supposed to be very comparable to growing tomatillos in many ways), and came to the conclusion that a drip system would be the easiest to set up, pretty healthy for the tomatillos, and take up the least amount of space in my apartment.

I spent two weeks trying to figure out how to build a drip system myself, decided I was not at all prepared to do anything of the sort, and bought a bunch of supplies for an all-in-one bucket drip system. Times four.

To this day, I'm not sure why I thought I could fit everything in a 3' x 4' space (probably because I initially forgot to account for lighting), but that was my plan, to set them up on the 12 sqft space next to my desk.

Once I realized I forgot about lights, I ordered two lights and the equipment needed to hang them (or so I thought). After double checking I had ordered everything correctly and that it would indeed be brought to the door of my fourth-story, elevator-less apartment in two days or less, it all arrived and I tried to put everything together. I shortly realized that the only space big enough for all of this was, unfortunately, my living room. I also realized I needed one more piece to successfully hang the lights and placed a final order for my project (probably...).

I was then stood up by the tease that is Amazon Logistics Same-Day Shipping. AL, as they like to go by on the shipment tracking page, likes to play hard to get just to remind you why you, the modern American who forgot what real stores are, would be nothing without their wide selection and (often-false!) promises of quick delivery. So five days later the last pieces arrived, but I was forced to move past my abusive shipping relationship and refocus on my project. I proceeded to put it all together in three different phases - transplanting to the planters, setting up the lights, and setting up trellises. Today's post will focus on the actual transplanting portion.

Transplanting the tomatillos to their own planters

First things first. The new planters needed to be set up somewhere and the tomatillos transplanted to them.

What I Used

Steps