Thursday, January 29, 2015

Starting Tomato Seeds Indoors

This year I am giving the tomatoes a head start by sowing them indoors.  I am counting on nursing these seeds and plants for about six weeks and hopefully I will be able to put them out in the beginning of March.

My friend gave me about two dozens seeds for Sweet Million Cherry Tomatoes and he couldn't stop raving about them.  He said that the fruit grew in long clusters which should make for easy harvesting.  They should be ready for picking in 65 - 75 days and the plants may grow to about three feet tall.  They are also disease resistant.

I mixed good soil from the compost pile with perlite to keep the soil from becoming too compact.  The perlite keeps the soil aerated and it also absorbs the water.  Some gardeners recommend that only store bought soil be used.  I figure that the seeds/plants are going to grow in the soil provided and they ought to get used to it.  This may be called 'tough love.'

I filled the pots half full and added a seed or two in each pot and covered them with a very thin layer of additional soil.  I then watered the seeds and have kept them soil moist.

I set the pots on a tray and covered the tray and pots with a plastic bag.  This is removed when the seedlings grow to avoid breaking the tender plants.

We happened to have a grow light and when I take the tray inside, I set it under the light and keep it on for most of the night but I turn it off when I go to bed.

The tomatoes have made it but unfortunately they are growing tall and spindly and I understand that is a common problem.  Some say that it is due to lack of sunshine/light and/or nutrients.  I plan to add a few morsels of fertilizer as soon as the seedlings are a little larger.

I didn't have any more commercial biodegradable or plastic pots for growing seeds but I surfed the net and came upon the very neat idea of "Creating Newspaper Pots for Seed Starting".  I thought it was an excellent idea:  it doesn't cost anything and I don't have to go shopping and I am also recycling.  I rolled newspaper around a tumbler and tucked the bottom in, removed the tumbler, and folded down the edges.  It will be sturdy once it is filled with dirt.

The tractor cat is still with me and she likes to check out the garden.  I put some basil in the newspaper cups.  I use the tumbler to water the seeds and the cat has to check that out.  She is one of the reasons that no pesticides or herbicides are used.  I want her, birds, and animals to be safe.

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