I commited the number one gardening crime this weekend. I pulled my tomato plants up by their roots to see if they were growing. Now you all can gasp and sputter and wonder why I would commite such a heinous (and obviously stupid) crime. Well, I had some (questionably) good reasons for digging up my plants.
My tomato plants were grown from seed by someone else. And they had been grown in some kind of peat-y thing that had a sort of fabric-y thing surrounding the roots (which made them super easy to transport) and I'm sure is the best way to grow seedlings. For whatever reason it didn't occur to me that the fabric-y thing would be a problem for the roots, so when I planted them, I just planted them as they were.
A week or so after I planted my tomatoes I was attempting to repot a couple of my indoor plants and one I was trying to split one of them into two pots I discovered, among other things, that it was planted in styrofoam (this is a story for another day). While I was trying in vain to split the two halves of the plant I broke up the roots and generally gave the plant a good shock. I figured I'd killed it. But it sprang back better than ever in less than a day. I've never seen that plant look so good--which was fabulous when I gave it to a friend for a house warming gift. (Apparently I've become one of those people who has plants and gives them as gifts and stuff--this caught me by surprise. Almost as much as when I discovered that I'm one of those people who actually really likes vegetables.)
And then not long ago I was reading a blog post about planting/designing pots for your front porch and it talked about the importance of making sure you break the roots up and such when you repot things. This seemed to jive with my experience with repotting my own plants. And seemed like a good explanation for why my tomatoes after having been in my garden for a couple weeks are no bigger than they were when I planted and if anything looked worse.
So, I decided the only thing to do was to pull them up and take off that fabric-y stuff I should have taken off originally. And I did (and you know, pretty much none of them had any roots that had poked through the fabric-y stuff). Sadly, I can't say that they've since grown amazingly or even look any better. But maybe when the sun comes out they'll grow?