As I said earlier, I did get to plant out many of my tomato plants. We were working in a sprinkling rain most of the time, but we did get 12 put into this bed and another 7 put in other places.
These 12 are paste tomatoes (Amish Paste [Indeterminate, open pollinated] and Heinz 2653 [Determinate, open pollinated]) and are a bit farther from the shadiest parts of the garden than the other bed. Tomorrow I plant my Oxheart and Cabin tomatoes [both Indeterminate, open pollinated] that I grew from seeds I saved in 2009.
As you probably see, I have installed the weed barrier and cut holes for the tomato plants. After finishing these 12, I also got the black fabric laid down on the next bed before it was raining too hard and getting dark.
Don’t my helpers remind you of The Gleaners in this shot?
When we remembered to, we put a handful of crushed egg shells in each planting hole to help provide the tomatoes with the calcium they need to avoid blossom end rot.
The tomatoes will grow quickly enough, so I’ll need to start getting my trellis’ (trellii?) put together in the next week or so. The ones I’m planting tomorrow are already tall enough that I’ll have to tie them to a little stake or bury them quite deep.
I did not know if I should expect a good rate of germination from the tomato seeds I saved last year, so planted 3 or 4 seeds in each of these 72 compartments. Most grew. Now it’s time to thin the ‘maters. I just clipped them off with scissors.
Basil is too important to put just in one place. This will be growing in my wife’s herb bed, of course, but we’ll also have some basil in each of the 3 kid garden beds too.
Tomatoes have big long roots and grow very quickly from seed indoors. A few weeks after planting tomato seeds, while it’s still way too cold outside for tomato plants, they need more room. I like to pot mine up into half-gallon milk cartons because they are so deep. Here are some photos and notes of my process:
When seedlings have a couple sets of true leaves, I pot them up into something bigger.
My container of choice is a tall waxed paper half gallon milk carton.
Carefully remove the seedling from it's planting cell and then . . .
Pinch off the seed leaves. This part of the stem ends up under the dirt.
Pot the seedling as deep as possible. Tomatoes will grow new roots along the buried portion of stem.
I probably could have gone even deeper when repotting this tomato seedling.
Firm up the dirt a bit.
Over half the height of the seedling is buried now.
This container will be enough growing room for 3 to 4 more weeks. Hopefully the next transplant will be to the garden.
Any questions? I’d love to get your comments.
Here I am tonight at my seed table. I’m sitting down about a foot under the ceiling of our crawl space.
The tomatoes below were planted March 5th. I’ve been able to keep most of them down to between 8 and 9 inches high by keeping the lights close to them.
I have three double-40-watt-bulb fixtures over the seedling table. The fixture on the right side of the photo below is hanging higher on one end in order to provide a height gradient to match the growth rates of all sorts of different plants.
A tray of all the seeds I’m trying in 2008.
Starting the last few seeds…zuchinni. Also in the photo below are jalapeño and green pepper, cantaloupe and the cups of the tomatoes.
My son has one of his mini-pumpkin gourd plants started and seems very proud.
As I said in another blog post, my broccoli and cauliflower plants were all already transplanted outdoors. It’s 42 degrees outside tonight and forecast to reach 30 by morning. I’ve taken steps to keep them a bit warmer!