Growing By Leaps And Bounds

It is fascinating to plant a tiny seed and watch it grow. I know what you are thinking…she must be some kind of a nut if she thinks watching plants grow is interesting. But if you look at the photos, I think you might agree. My seedlings are growing by leaps and bounds. If nothing else, I hope this post might encourage you to think about starting some plants from seed.

Now my plants are not your ordinary plants, no sir. They are heirloom tomato plants…you know, those tomatoes that taste incredible. If you are lucky enough to find them at your local market or farm stand, they are usually very expensive. I paid less for my seeds than what a small bag of vine ripe tomatoes will cost this summer.

The Potting Shed Has North And South Facing Windows And A Skylight

I’ll take you out to my potting shed once  again and show you how much they have grown. Isn’t this fun, it is kind of like when someone says “would you like to see pictures of my children. You won’t believe how tall they are…they seem to be growing like weeds”. Instead of saying that your children grow like weeds, maybe you should say that they are growing like tomato plants.  If you haven’t been following along, you can see how I started the seeds  in my post Spring has arrived.

Two weeks ago in my post Heirloom tomato seedlings, the tomatoes had germinated and  had grown to three inches tall. It was time to transplant them from their seedling flats into four inch plastic posts.

Before And After Transplanting

You can see that I planted them deep in the four inch pots…up to the first set of true leaves. The tomato seedlings will grow roots all along the buried stem and will make a nice healthy plant with a good root system.

Growing in the heated potting shed and under a fluorescent light has encouraged them to grow straight and tall. They have gone from three inch seedlings that I transplanted two weeks ago

Three Inch Seedlings Growing Under A Light

to 14 inch tomato plants today.

The Tomato Plants Have Grown

From Just Two Leaves Showing To 14 Inches Tall

I have to continue raising the fluorescent light that I think is important to their growth.

It is now time to transplant them a second time into 6 inch pots. I will continue planting them deep to encourage more roots. For this planting, I am using an organic potting soil instead of seedling mix.  I haven’t given them any fertilizer as yet as they look nice and healthy. It has been 38 days since I planted the seeds, amazing don’t you think.

Mortgage Lifter Tomato, Three Stages

In this photo you can see a three inch  Mortgage Lifter seedling, a Mortgage Lifter tomato plant ready to be repotted and a Mortgage Lifter after transplanting for comparison.

When I started my seed, I planted one seed in each cup of the seedling flat. I have six varieties and planted three seeds of each for a total of 18 plants. Not all tomato seeds grow strong. Just look at the photo below. Two are growing normally and one is barely existing even though they were planted on the same day under the same conditions.

Not All Seedlings Grow Strong

When the tomato plants are ready to go into the ground in late May, I will choose twelve of the strongest plants and the smaller plants will be given to another gardener.

Hardening Off In The Filtered Sun And Light Breezes

To get them accustomed to an outdoor environment, I put them on my front porch for a couple of hours a day when the weather is warm enough. The filtered sunlight and a light breeze  will harden them off so that they can survive the weather when I plant them in our  Maine garden this summer.

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About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
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160 Responses to Growing By Leaps And Bounds

  1. CorkAndSpoon says:

    They are getting so big!! When are you planning on planting them?

    • Karen says:

      The plants really are getting big. We will plant them in our garden in Maine at the very end of May, when there is no more threat of frost. We have very cold nights both here in New Hampshire and Maine in the spring. The next two nights the forecast is for lows in the 20’s. Thank goodness I have the potting shed.

  2. savourytable says:

    I guess since you are dealing with the Maine weather I need to quit making excuses and get with thinking about mine here in Colorado. I only wish I had a lovely potting shed to start mine in. Packing them in and out is my life when I do. I can’t wait to see what you prepare with these. Heirlooms are one of life’s little treasures.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, I know that it is hard for people that live where frost can be a problem to grow tomatoes. It is a bit of work when you have to take them in and out. Hopefully, by the time the plants go into the ground at the end of May they will be big, strong plants. There is nothing better than an heirloom tomato picked right off the vine.

  3. Mad Dog says:

    Oddly the height of your tomatoes is a lot more interesting than pictures of peoples’ children ;-)

  4. Oh gorgeous…. Your babies are growing! I’m loving this.
    Here’s what I used at about this stage for transplanting. See what you think-

    http://www.gardensalive.com/product.asp?pn=82302

    I’m already tasting fresh tomato salads. I can’t remember – did you have some cherries in there?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Wendy, Thank you for your comment and interest in how the plants are growing. I have not used that fertilizer before. Yes…I am growing black cherries and sweet 100’s. I had wanted sun gold but couldn’t get seed this year.

    • Bliss says:

      Oh my…you two foodies are like two peas in a pod. I can’t even imagine the cooking orgy that could take place in your four hands. If money were no object, I would fly both of you (and me…someone needs to eat the food) to Le Cordon Bleu (PARIS), kick their famed chefs/instructors OUT, and let the two of you show how it is really done.

  5. ChgoJohn says:

    Your babies are looking good, Karen! Really healthy looking and so large. Mine are doing fine and I’ll start acclimating them next week. It won’t be long now before we’re all talking about our first tomatoes of the season. YAY!

    • Karen says:

      Hi John, Glad to hear that your tomatoes are doing well. The babies are really growing fast. Hopefully mine will be happy in the 6 inch pots for awhile. It is so cold and windy here that I can’t put them out very often. When it gets warmer and they are bigger, I’ll put them in wagons and they will stay out during the day and go into the barn at night. The first ripe tomato of the season is so welcomed.

  6. Robin says:

    I don’t think you are crazy at all! I too am so fascinated to watch a little seed grow into such a magnificent plant that provides so much food. Nature is just amazing!

    Your plants look very happy and healthy! They are going to be very big by the time it’s ready to plant them out up your way! I think you’ll be very busy doing the seedling shuffle for the next few weeks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Robin, Glad to hear that you don’t think I’m crazy. I’m happy that so many people have enjoyed the posts on growing tomatoes. The seedling shuffle has started but it will help them face the real world. Right now they are used to 70 degrees and perfect growing conditions in the potting shed.

  7. kate says:

    Wow, your plants look terrific! My tomato plants have a long way to go!

  8. What gorgeous babies! That’s one helluva lot of tomatoes! wow!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maureen, I’m glad you like my tomatoes. There is a disease among gardeners known as “tomato greed”. You want to grow so many different varieties and you tell yourself…what’s one more. I will pick the strongest to take to Maine for the garden there and give the others to friends. Everyone ends up happy. Hopefully it will be a good growing season.

  9. I love this post. Growing plants from seeds is the most fun of all. I have started my beloved zinnias, nasturtiums, lemon cucumbers, arugula and it is so fun to watch all the stages.
    My tomatoes are already in the ground with flowers ready to turn into tomatoes…it has been a very warm early Spring so I expect tomatoes will be an early crop. Power to the Gardeners of this World!

    • Karen says:

      Yea Teresa! Flowers on your tomato plants…that is wonderful. We are going to have lows in the 20’s for the next couple of nights. You really have to be patient in the Northeast if you want to be a successful gardener. I probably won’t have a ripe tomato until August. Your garden sounds like it is doing terrific.

  10. lulu says:

    Well, my dear, you are proving that you are just as good in the garden as in the kitchen. I’m following along carefully hoping to learn a few things. I especially want to try your approach next winter when we are back in Houston.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lulu, Thank you for your very nice compliment…I appreciate it very much. I hope you will have good luck. So far so good with the tomatoes. I know that they will be nice and strong by the time they are planted in Maine. Hopefully the weather will be nice this year and I’ll get a good crop of tomatoes.

  11. Kristy says:

    Look at how much they’ve grown. My how time flies. ;) They do look quite healthy and like they are going to be wonderful tomato plants. We planted our very first seeds this year. So far we have a few sage plants growing and a few rosemary plants. They are all still very small though, but I’m just happy they are growing! :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristy, Haven’t the tomatoes grown. I’m glad to hear that you are doing well with the herbs…they grow slow. My basil that germinated two days before the tomatoes are only 2 to 3 inches tall, so don’t worry.

  12. viveka says:

    I would grow like that too … if I was standing in your potting shed. They are looking very healthy and strong- well done. You should be a proud gardener – looking forward to see the progress. Have a great weekend !!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Viveka for your very nice compliment and the chuckle. I’m glad that you are enjoying the posts about the tomatoes. Have a great weekend as well.

  13. How gratifying to watch plants grow and change. I love your garden stories.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Victoria for your nice comment. I’m glad you are enjoying the garden stories. Hopefully I can let people know that growing vegetable is not all that hard.

  14. I heard they had another frost in Michigan today. So I am assuming being up in Maine you need to wait until after mothers day to plant? Your plants are beautiful I looks like you are going to have a good harvest this year.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bam, The weather has been very cold here in New Hampshire at night. It is going to be in the 20’s for the next three nights. Our cottage in Maine is two hours north of our home in New Hampshire and is in Zone 4. Would you believe we are not supposed to plant before May 28th because of the chance of frost. That is why I will have big plants grown in my potting shed to take to Maine. The growing season is so short there.

  15. Larry says:

    Looks like they’re ready for the ground – I planted mine on April 7 then had to put floating row covers over then during the cold snap we had – I should get maters by mid June this year so I’m excited.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Larry, I sure wish my tomatoes could go into the ground but that won’t be until the end of May. You will be getting tomatoes way before I do…usually August. Having a garden in zone 4 can be a challenge.

  16. Larry says:

    I forgot this – “I know what you are thinking…she must be some kind of a nut if she thinks watching plants grow is interesting.” I know just what you’re saying, as after working in the garden, I like to just sit in the shade and watch it grow.

  17. terry1954 says:

    i enjoyed your post. to a mere seed grow into this is wonderful

    • Karen says:

      Hi Terry, Thank you for stopping by and your nice comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Isn’t it amazing how a tiny seed grows so fast.

  18. Haha.. loved your metaphor.. I want to squeeze those little leaf cheeks (gently of course) and say, my how you’ve grown! I didn’t think you are a nut watching your little plants grow, I thought, hey.. here’s someone just like me:) Have a wonderful weekend!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Smidge, It is nice to know that there are others just like me. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for your nice comment and have a great weekend as well.

  19. Rachel says:

    Actually ate my first cherry tomato of the year yesterday. I meant to take a picture, but I just oculdn’t wait :-) Mmmm… I’ll be jealous of you in July when my vines are burnt up…!

    • Karen says:

      A cherry tomato already, you lucky girl. It will be late July or August before I get a tomato. You are right about how different our growing seasons are.

  20. The fact of not having fresh out the garden heirlooms this summer is rather depressing, so I’m going to have to live vicariously through you Karen. :-) Enjoy your weekend!

  21. How fine! You’re so right, seeing things grow is the greatest kick! I’ll be following your tomatoes and your wonderful food posts. Your potting shed gives me idea of something else to beg for! :D

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mater, Thank you for stopping by my blog and your very nice comment. I look forward to having you visit. The potting shed really does help me get a good start with tomatoes.

  22. They look great Karen :)

  23. They’re beautiful! I’ve just started some seedlings of my own, and I am still amazed at their continued growth. Hoping to rent a garden plot in town and try this out for the first time. I’ll document progress on my blog, but I’ll continue to keep up with yours for any tips, etc. Thanks! :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Heather, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. I will enjoy seeing how you seedlings progress and I look forward to your visits.

  24. They look great! So hearty and healthy. Looking forward to seeing some beautiful tomatoes on those plants and some delicious tomato recipes!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol, The tomato plants really do look good and healthy. I can’t wait to show photos of nice large tomatoes and recipes to go along with them. Fingers are crossed that it will be a good growing season.

  25. Well Karen if you are a nut for watching your seedlings grow, then I’m in good company :) I love watching them grow and potting them on, it gives me so much hope for summer

    • Karen says:

      Hi Claire, It is a pleasure to be in your company even though we are thousands of miles apart. I love watching the vegetables and flowers evolve over the months ahead.

  26. spree says:

    Karen, if one was lacking for gardening inspiration, they need go no farther than this! What a glorious sight! I noticed you have florescent light, but not full-spectrum “grow lights”? They seem to be quite happy! So let me ask you, having never started my tomato plants from seed…if I began the process beginning the end of next week, would I have begun too late? Should I just buy heirlooms pre-potted and ready for the ground? And of the heirlooms, do you have a very favorite? or two? Thanks for the encouragement !

    • Karen says:

      Thank you so much Spree for your very nice compliment. I really do appreciate the kind words. If I am right, I think you live in the Portland area on the west coast. I would think that early April to the middle of April would be when you would want to start seeds for your area. If so, you might be a little late starting the end of next week. I would call or go by a local garden center (not a big box store) and speak to one of their growers. They are usually very helpful. They should know your planting dates in regards to the last frost which I would think should be around the middle of May. You might want to buy some healthy plants from them and plant seeds next year. My favorite heirlooms are Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Black Krim, and Mortgage Lifter. I also like Black Cherry, Sun Gold and Sweet 100’s for small tomatoes. If the garden center doesn’t think it is too late to start seeds, I think you will be amazed how fast they grow (38 days from planting the seeds until the photos). You are right…I do not use grow lights just the daylight florescent bulbs and the plants do seem happy. I am happy that I have inspired you.

      • spree says:

        Thank you SO much Karen!!! I’ve had the Cherokee Purples, the Brandywines and Sun Goldens, but the others are new to me! With my schedule these days, I think I’ll do best to plant some already started. My local nursery should be getting them in soon. NEXT year I’ll follow Karen’s lead!! Thanks again for such a thorough reply! You the best!

      • Karen says:

        It was my pleasure, Spree. I think that is best for this year.

  27. Looking nice and strong, Karen! Hoping to get mine in the ground in about 2 weeks…
    Freeze warning for tonight down here, but looks like only one night for us.
    Happy Gardening!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Marie! The tomatoes are doing really good. We have three nights of temps in the 20’s. Good thing my potting shed is heated. Let’s hope we have a good growing season.

  28. You’re a real inspiration for a novice like me. Oh, and that potting shed….I’m actually salivating – how wonderful to have your own little gardening nook. Thanks for visiting my blog – I’m so glad to have discovered your wonderful space here.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Traci, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your very nice compliment. I’m happy to hear that you enjoy by blog and that I have given you inspiration.

  29. grainnep says:

    I love this post , greatlics. My daughter is growing her tomatoes and gets so excited each morning to see the growth overnight..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Grainne, Thank you for stopping by and you nice compliment. The tomatoes really do grow overnight. I have to keep raising the light that I have over them.

  30. grainnep says:

    That should say great pics!

  31. I am so excited for you! Your heirloom tomato plants look strong and healthy. I can just imagine all the wonderful fruit you are going to harvest from them this season. I live in a tiny NYC studio, so please grow and eat some for me!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Daisy, I know it is hard for people who enjoy good food and fresh vegetables not to be able to have a garden for those wonderful vine ripe tomatoes. The good thing is that you live in a city that also has some of the best markets anywhere. If I was your neighbor, you would definitely be getting one handed to you over the fence.

      • It’s true: I am incredibly lucky to be served by one of the best greenmarkets in the mid-Atlantic!

        But it never beat the love and care poured into a tomato from an neighbor! My grandfather grows peaches. Peaches! In the middle of QUEENS! And I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to be the recipient of a bag of them every summer.

        Maybe it’s because it’s my grandpa, but I really do believe that they are the best peaches in the whole wide world!

      • Karen says:

        Daisy, I have to agree…home grown tomatoes are the best. I’m sure your grandpa’s peaches are wonderful. When we first moved to New England I was so surprised to see peaches being grown up north. I always thought peaches only grew in the south. We had a lovely grove of peach trees in our orchard but they died of a disease called “X” disease because they don’t know what is killing the trees. But when the trees were growing…the peaches were so sweet picked straight off the trees.

  32. Charles says:

    Haha, I can’t believe the name of the tomato is “Mortgage Lifter”? :D How on earth did it get its name, I wonder? :D

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charles, The story goes that the tomatoes were first grown by a man named “Radiator Charlie”…he was a mechanic. The tomatoes he grew were so large that he sold them for so much money that he paid off the mortgage on his home. I do have to say that the tomatoes are very large and have a great taste. I don’t know if the story is true or not but I have grown this tomato for several years.

  33. What they’re not in the fancy tub anymore? I love seeing the trees in your yard. We’re so far ahead of you seasonally, it’s weird to see buds. Can’t wait to see your heirlooms.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Greg, No more sunny tub for the tomatoes. They have moved on to a little place of their own…the potting shed. I love the way blogs let others know how the seasons are so different. Our next three nights are going to be very cold. We will have temps in the 20’s here…which is probably more like one of your coldest days in winter. As for the buds, everything is early if you can believe that. The apple trees bloomed one month ahead of time. I’m sure your tomatoes are blooming already and maybe even have tomatoes. We both are experiencing spring but it really is very different.

  34. I am glad that there is someone out there that is fascinated by plant growth just like me. :) I am excited for your garden!

    • Karen says:

      It seems that there are a lot of people that feel the same way as I do. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post and appreciate your comment.

  35. I think it is cool to watch plants grow. Your tomatoes will taste so delicious this summer. Fresh tomatoes from the garden are the best.

  36. wow, those are really something…beautiful plants! i wouldn’t have the patience to grow mine but living here, i don’t have to…they’re everywhere…every nursery, grocery and heirloom place and yes, we can buy the heirlooms already started out here… aren’t they something? i love the yellows and brandywine-i think it’s called that. trouble is i cannot eat them anymore! nightshade-free diet for arthritis… blah. it would be different up there in NH …it will be interesting to watch their journey.

    and thank you so much for commenting on my baby blog… i am envious of all your comments. ;) takes time… X

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, Thank you for stopping by my blog for a visit and your nice comment. It must be hard not to be able to eat tomatoes anymore but you must do what keeps you healthy. I do enjoy all the people that take the time to leave a comment and love responding to what they have to say.

  37. haha, i forgot about the turkeys…we have them here to the point of being pests. how do you ever get any apples with them roosting in the trees? well, good luck with that! my great pyr-bella the big dog has taken a distinct dislike of them so they have been steering clear….so far. :)

    • Karen says:

      Yes…the turkeys. Thankfully they don’t roost in the apple trees because our home and orchard is surrounded by woods. That is where they roost at night. I never would have thought of turkeys as being pests in California.

  38. I don’t think your crazy benig excited that your tomatoes are gowing so well. It is one of the best parts of gardening for me to watch the seeds become plants. I am like a child full of glee when they finally produce. I hold the vegetable in my hand and say “look what I grew”. Enjoy your self.
    I wanted to also say that it is interesting that you are growing Mortgage Lifter tomatoes. I was watching a episode of P. Allen Smith, an AR gardener and landscaper, on PBS today and he was planting them. He told the story about the name saying that a man, who’s name I forgot, grew them outside his Auto repair garage and they grew and sold so well he was able to pay off his mortgage with the profits. Hince the name. Thought you might find this interesting.
    Happy Gardening!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Farmerette, Thank you for stopping by to visit and your nice comment. The man’s name behind the story of the Mortgage Lifter is Radiator Charlie. I have grown these tomatoes from several years. They are a very large tomato with few seeds. One tomato slice covers a piece of bread making them perfect to a BLT.

      • Large tomato with few seeds. I would love to grow these. I’ve never seen them locally at the Nurserys. Do you have a certian place you get your seeds from or do you save them?

      • Karen says:

        I have bought Mortgage Lifter Tomato plants from my local nurseries in the past. I bought most of my seeds this year from a company called TomatoFest. I ordered everything over the internet and was happy with their service.

  39. Your seedlings look stunning! Oh, and your potting shed is adorable – I have “potting shed envy” LOL!!! I hope to start my seeds tomorrow! I hope I’m not too late! I got busy with a remodeling project and they slipped my mind! I can’t wait to preserve my summer produce! There’s nothing like opening a jar of garden fresh tomatoes in January!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary, I think you still have time. It has only been 38 days from when the seed went into the soil. I’m still using my tomatoes from last summer when I made a basic sauce and froze a large number of quarts.

  40. You seem to have a nearly perfect system, Karen. Mine are coming along well, but even with much warmer weather and good sunshine mine aren’t growing as quickly as yours. I also don’t think I transplanted mine as deep as you did. I remembered your post when you did the first transplant, but I think when I got in their to do the job, I forgot that step! I won’t forget next time! Debra

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debra, Thanks for your comment. I really think planting deep helps to develop a strong root system. With your very nice weather, I’m sure yours will be big and strong soon. Just think…mine can’t go into the ground until the end of May. You will have flowers and probably tomatoes by then.

  41. mykitchenstories says:

    They are coming along so nicely…. how wonderful. Soon we will be seeing all kinds of nice tomato recipes!

    http://www.mykitchenstories.com.au

  42. rokugatsu says:

    Wow, great post. Those are some lucky tomato plants…lots of TLC! Can’t wait to see the fruit!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you, Rokugatsu for stopping by and your nice comment. The plants are very spoiled living in the potting shed. In another month they will be out in the real world but will still be taken good care of.

  43. Actually, I love watching plants grow from seed and it makes me feel like a kid again somehow, anticipating how each seedling will have changed each day…hopefully! Your seedlings look grand and having seen how lovely your tomatoes and other veggies were last year, I’m looking forward to your results with this year’s crop. I’m growing tomatoes vicariously through yours as I don’t have enough sun!

    • Karen says:

      Bi Betsy, I’m glad to hear that you enjoy the posts about the tomato plants. We had a nice crop of tomatoes last year. I hope this year will be as good.

  44. Hi Karen,

    Your tomatoes are looking so healthy. Ours here in cold and rainy South Wales are way behind yours…night time temperatures around 4C and day time around 7C. My seedlings are still in the house as I dare not risk them yet in the greenhouse. Can’t wait for some warmer-and sunnier weather!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dragonette, We are having cold weather as well. I’m lucky that since my potting shed it attached to my home, it is heated and never goes much lower than 60F. I have to wait until the end of May to plant them in the garden in Maine because of the chance of frost.

  45. Susan says:

    You’ll probably have flowers and fruit setting by the time you plant them out in another month! They are so big and healthy. I wish I had a sunny place where I could grow more seedlings!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susan, The plants are doing really well. It is hard finding a room that gets enough light for seedlings. That is why I started mine in my bathroom. The nice thing about my potting shed is the north and south facing windows as well as the roof window. There is a lot of light on sunny days plus I have the florescent light that stays on them 12 hours a day.

  46. Dear Karen, You are not alone: I love watching my seeds grow and am always fascinated by the whole growing process. I even talk to my seeds and seedlings…:) I can’t wait for my tomato to ripen!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Marina, for your very nice comment. It is nice to know that I am not alone in enjoying the way you can take tiny seeds, plant and care for them, and the result is that you have delicious tomatoes. It is rewarding that a foodie can have truly local and delicious food from their own garden.

  47. I love this post. It’s so encouraging to see how fast your tomatoes grew. I planted tomato seedlings about three weeks ago and they’re two inches tall. Is it possible for the roots to get bound if the soil isn’t deep enough? My planters are the deep “egg carton” like planters, but my potting soil has gotten packed down. I’m thinking of adding more soil to the top level and then transplanting them when they grow another set of leaves.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Goddess, If your seedlings are three weeks old, they probably are ready for transplanting soon…that is when I did my first transplant. Have you looked at my previous post Heirloom seedlings? If your tomatoes look like mine, I would go ahead and transplant. I used seed mix instead of potting soil for the original planting and the first transplant. It is a very light mix that doesn’t compact. If you want to wait for another set of leaves before transplanting, topping off with some seed mix might help. What you might want to do is take one seedling out of its little planter and actually look to see if it is root bound. You can always put it right back in its little planter if the roots look OK. When transplanting, remember to bury the stem up to the first set of true leaves in a deeper container. Good luck with the growing season.

  48. I love watching plants grow and it is even more magical to watch them grow from seeds.
    I grow herbs on my kitchen window, mint, oregano, basil and rosemary. This year I got two little tomato plants from the nursery and I will try to grow them on the window too, crazy I know but I am very excited about it

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sawsan, Having fresh herbs available is so nice. It will be interesting to see if your little tomato plants grow happily in your window.

  49. I may not be much of a gardner myself but the joy I get from seeing flowers buds unfurl must be similar to you watching your beloved seedlings :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  50. hotlyspiced says:

    What a stunning green-house! Your heirloom tomatoes look like they’re coming along really well. I can’t wait to see images of the harvest xx

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlie, I’m glad that you like my little potting shed. It is the perfect place to grow my plants before I take them to our garden in Maine. I can’t wait until I can start harvesting tomatoes later this summer.

  51. Ali says:

    Hi Karen,

    Thanks for visiting Henbogle! I am so happy you led me to your delicious blog! I can hardly wait to try some of the recipes you have posted. I also think that someday I need to plan a visit to Bonta, as every dish sounds incredible.

    I love our hoophouse, it really does a great job extending the seasons for cold weather crops. A smaller version made with plastic or remay, pvc pipes and rebar might help your tomatoes along in Maine. It can be cool along most lakes, and something like that can get them off to a good start.

    And I must say, I just adore your potting shed! It is simply fabulous. Sigh.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ali, It is always nice to meet other gardeners from New England. Thank you for stopping by my blog and your very nice compliment. The tomatoes should be a nice size by the time we plant them in Maine at the end of May. Our biggest problem on Long Lake is the high winds we get. I think you would enjoy a dinner at Bonta.

  52. Judy says:

    Each spring it is the same story … I put tiny seeds under a little dirt, add water, watch daily, and stand there amazed and giddy when the tender shoot breaks through the earth. It settles in me a peace like the sun rising every day in the east. It is the constant and dependable things like a seed becoming a plant, producing nourishing fruit that helps keep the crazy, unpredictable at bay in life. At least that’s me.
    Your tomatoes plants are beautiful, well done.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Judy, Thank you for your lovely comment. Gardening really does add a lot of pleasure to everyday life. The tomatoes have made great progress in 38 days. They should be nice and strong by the time they go into the ground the end of May.

  53. I bet the tomatoes from those plants will taste amazing in the summer! Can you mail me some? ;)

  54. I love visitng your potting shed! And I don´t think watching seeds grow is dull. We got back at 11pm in the rain from the UK last night and the first thing we did was put the lights on in the veggie patch to run out and see how much everything had grown as there has been rain – and it had all shot up!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tanya, It is nice to know that there are others like myself who enjoy watching the progress of the vegetables growing. I’m sure the much appreciated rain really helped your garden.

  55. Sissi says:

    Fascinating post and wonderful photos! I am looking forward to seeing the tomatoes!
    You know, I love watching my seeds grow on my tiny balcony. Unfortunately some plants never grow (I plant some every year, read the advice on internet and they never grow).

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sissi, Thank you for your nice compliment. Some plants are not as easy to grow unless they are in a garden with lots of sun. We just have to be happy with what grows well where we have the space to grow.

  56. Jane says:

    That is amazing! It is fun to see the progress!

  57. That’s fantastic! I should get on the ball and get my tomatoes started…

    Will they grow well without the fluorescent light to get them started?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Julie, Thank you for your nice compliment. You don’t need a fluorescent light to get them started if you have plenty of natural light. My fluorescent lights are on a timer for 12 hours and supplement the natural daylight in my potting shed.

  58. Brittany says:

    Your tomatoes look fantastic! I hope mine grow like yours!! I’m open to any advice you have!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Brittany, Thank you for stopping by and your nice compliment. I think you are going to have a wonderful crop. Stop by anytime if you have a question…I’ll be happy to help if I can.

  59. Gobetween says:

    Your seedlings look strong and healthy, well done.

  60. Is it possible to have Shed Envy??!!! :)

  61. cabinet stew says:

    I just love your gardening posts! I grew “mortgage lifters” last year (from a nursery not seed) and the name just cracks me up! My favorite is Brandywine however – so yummy!
    I have to say that I love the comments and conversations that go on – I get kinda lost in them! (in a good way) – I shall refer to them as “Radiator Charlies” from now on LOL!

    • Karen says:

      I’m so glad that you enjoy my gardening posts, Carol. I don’t think I could have a garden without having Mortgage Lifter tomatoes…they are great. And yes, we could greet them each day by calling them Charlie. Brandywine and Cherokee Purple never disappoint either.

  62. Thanks for continuing to post about your plants. I love seeing the progress of them and can’t wait until we get to see actual tomatoes from them!

  63. ladyfi says:

    Mortgage Lifter tomatoes? If only… I love home-grown tomatoes – so delicious. Yours have grown very quickly.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ladyfi, Wouldn’t it be nice! The tomatoes are growing amazingly fast. That is a very good thing. I think we all love a vine ripe tomato…the flavor is wonderful.

  64. Your seedlings are gorgeous and no doubt you’ll be enjoying some beautiful salads as you near the warmer months. They look so healthy and strong, (sadly ours are trying to front the autumn chill right now…)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Alli, for your nice comment. I now it is hard at the end of the season to know that the wonderful flavor of tomatoes will soon be over. I hope you had a great growing season. Ours is just starting and I looking to that first vine ripe tomato.

  65. lvaletutto says:

    Your “babies” look great! Oh and I love to watch my plants grow too. Now that I have plants on our balcony again, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, leeks, strawberries etc. I can’t wait every morning to go out and take a peek at them!

  66. Your tomatoes look great! I’m in CA so I’ve already planted mine in pots. I’ve had a busy week so 2 days went by and I checked on them to find a jungle emerging!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laura, It really is amazing how fast tomato plants grow. I planted basil on the same day that I planted the tomatoes. The basil is 3 inches tall while the tomatoes are over a foot. Let’s hope we both get a nice crop of tomatoes.

  67. Hi Karen,
    I enjoyed reading this post and no, you’re not a crazy tomato watching lady! lol I planted seeds for the first time ever this year and I’ve been watching my seedings grow – it is quite exciting! I planted lemon basil and lime basil inside and so far, so good! In the Spring I take a walk around my flower gardens to see what else has come it – it is quite rewarding. :-)

    This year I will be buying my tomato plants, but next year I’ll give them a try by seed!

    Have a fantastic day!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cher, Glad to hear that you are another person that doesn’t think that I am crazy. Next year, do try growing tomato plants from seed. My tomatoes are much bigger than anything that I can buy right now. That is good since I have to wait until the end of the month to plant. I hope that by having large and strong plants that maybe I’ll get tomatoes before August.

  68. we just transplanted our tomatoes (mostly Bradleys, Cherokee Purples, and Lemon Boys) into the garden bed yesterday. It’s been a nice warm spring and they were ready. Each year is different, you never know what the growing season will bring. Best wishes for big juicy tomatoes!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nancy, Good luck with your tomatoes. Mine are big and could go outside but it is still not good weather wise. We have frost warnings for tonight and winds of 25MPH.

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  70. The seedlings look lovely! :)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Meditations, for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. Growing tomatoes from seed has been so easy. I’ll be doing that every year from now on.

  71. Hi Karen– Fun to find your blog– my husband has our tomatoes in the ground here in CA and we’re anticipating a big crop. Love your recipes– chicken quesadilla looks great!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rhonda, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. Let’s hope we both have a nice crop of tomatoes this season. I will be taking my tomatoes to our summer home in Maine next week and get them into the garden. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipes.

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