Seedlings - To fertilize or not to fertilize?
I've been reading a lot of books as well as posts on this forum. There are a lot of ideas about how to fertilize (or not fertilize) our tomato seedlings. One conclusion I've come to is that most of us *over*-fertilize our tomato plants. But there are so many different ideas about what to use, frequency, dilution ratio, etc.
Some say a very dilute solution of kelp or seaweed, or miracle grow. Some say the nutes in the mix are enough to carry a tomato through to transplant time.
One poster on here, digdirt, claims that it's unnecessary to fertilize seedlings at all until transplant time!
Here's a snip from one of his posts:
"Personally, while I add some compost to my mix for leafy greens and a few other veggies, I don't feed any of my tomato seedlings anything - ever - never have - until they go into the garden and then the planting holes get well-amended as they are planted. They get started and grow on in either Jiffy mix, Metro mix, or my homemade peat/vermiculite mix whichever I have available. Been doing it that way for over 40 years."
So what to do?
Here's one possible starting point: I think it's important to determine just how much "food" a plant is carrying with it, in seed form. A plant can't grow without nutrients. That's obvious. But all seeds carry a small packet of nutrients to jumpstart growth and sustain a seedling to a certain point in its journey. My question is, where is this point where a seedling has exhausted its supply and needs to obtain nutrients from the surrounding environment?
So let's solve this thing once and for all (yeah right.) I welcome anecdotal evidence but science and research on this subject would be great.
I look foward to ya'lls answers!