I've noticed that the tomatoes for sale at the local nurseries, like Lowes, Home Depot, etc are extremely beefy and strong looking. I guess that is a good thing, but I am perplexed as to how this is accomplished. Also it is stunning that some are only 6-8" tall and are already setting blooms and fruit. I personally wouldn't let a plant this size set fruit, but I can see how tempting it is for the consumer to buy such a "perfect" looking plant.
I have been starting my tomatoes from seed and have had good success. However, mine were over 1' tall, and were only perhaps 3/8" in diameter on the stem, and certainly showing no sign of blooming. But those at the nursery, some are thicker than my thumb! 3/4" in diameter or more, but only 6-8" tall. How is this?
I've read that some nurseries use different gases to promote hardy looking plants. Is this true? Is it considered organic to do that? I'd like to sell my plants at the local markets, but I'm afraid the untrained eye would just as soon pay twice as much for the plant at Lowes because it looks so much better, not to say that it will be better. Is it a matter of proper lighting/fertilizing that will promote hardier looking plants? Or do I just not have the secret recipe for success that the commercial growers have?
Backyard Gardener Houston, TX