Today, I finally got my tomato seeds started. I probably should have done this mid Feb, but just like every other aspect of my life… I’m running behind! At least I did better than last year, it was already April before I started my seeds then!
I did things a little differently this year. Last year was a total disaster! I started my seeds in potting mix, over watered, left them without light for too long, and eventually they all died. Not a single seedling survived the torture they endured at my hand.
My mother-in-law actually brought me some tomato plants, out of sheer pity I think. They did pretty good, until all of the tomatoes got Blossom End Rot! I didn’t go completely without tomatoes though. I was totally shocked to find a couple of beautiful tomato plants randomly growing in the goat’s pen! I couldn’t believe the goats turned out to be better gardeners than I was! At least now I know that goat poop is great for tomato plants!! That’s good to know this time around.
So, here’s what I did this year:
I had these cute little terracotta pots, so I decided to use them for some of my seeds. I’ve also saved little yogurt cups to start more seeds in. You can start seeds in just about anything that will hold water.
Seeds grow best in a soilless medium. One highly recommended mixture that you can put together yourself is made up of equal parts of fine vermiculite and milled peat moss. Since my husband could not find any vermiculite at the store, we opted to buy a $4 bag of Miracle Grow seed starter mix, which is made up of peat moss and perlite.
Once the pots were full, I watered them a bit to make sure they were thoroughly damp. Using a pencil, I made 2-3 holes in the “dirt” of each pot, about 1/4″ deep. Then I dropped 2-3 seeds into each little hole, and covered them back over.
I put the pots in a plastic container that I’d saved from some baby spinach we’d purchased. What’s cool is that the container has a lid that snaps on, creating a perfect little greenhouse.
Remember, when you are starting seeds you need to cover the pots (or flats) with plastic (or zipped in a ziploc bag) and keep them out of sunlight for the first few days while they germinate. They need to be in a warm place; I like to set them on top of my fridge.
In a couple of days the seedlings should emerge. Then I will move them into the light. Watch them daily, these little guys come up quick and if you leave them too long without sunlight they will grow tall and leggy, and will be weak.
If you’ve been following me you know I tend to do some experimenting. Last year my seedlings did not grow well in the window sill. There just wasn’t enough light getting to them. This year I’m going to put one group of seedlings under the grow light on my AeroGarden, in their own container. I’m thinking that should work well. I’m also going to set some seedlings out in the new cold frame my husband just built for me. Hopefully the fragile plants will get enough light this time around, and get off to a good start!
I’m trying Brandywine Heirloom tomatoes again. I’m also going to seed some Amish Paste tomatoes.
*Crossing my fingers that they grow better this year!*