Spring Has Arrived And The Battle Begins

The official first day of spring, the Vernal Equinox has arrived. Celebrated in the northern hemisphere, spring offers a rebirth…the start of new beginnings. I am celebrating the day by starting my tomato seeds. And this is where my battle begins with “mother nature”.

Will this year’s garden be blessed with sun, balmy breezes, and soft rain showers. Or will it  be subjected to gray days, high winds, torrential rainstorms, menacing gnawers and chomping critters.

Today I am going to enjoy the unusual warmth, the sunshine, and commune with “mother nature”. I will praise all the glories that this day offers and hope she knows that whatever she has in store…I still love gardening. The pleasures certainly outweigh the problems most years and today is the new beginning of my growing season.

Last year I depended on garden centers for my tomato plants with mixed results so this year I’m starting from seed. We will see how the experiment turns out. If I don’t have good results, the garden centers will be my back up plan. Lets go out to my potting shed and start seed.

Potting Shed

I’m going to plant most of the same tomatoes as last year with the exception of Kellogg’s Breakfast and Big Beef. I’ll be trying Gary Ibsen’s Gold which was a free seed packet that came from Tomato Fest where I ordered all my seeds. I also added Brandywine which I had a lot of success with when I grew my tomatoes in New Hampshire.

Starting Tomatoes...Everything You Need

I went by the instruction sheet that came with my tomato seeds. I’m using organic sterilized plant mix to avoid harmful bacteria and shallow seed starting flats. I’m planting  three seeds of each variety, using tweezers to place one seed in each cell. After covering with no more than a 1/4 inch of soil, they are watered with a misting bottle, labeled, and covered with plastic wrap. If they haven’t germinated in two weeks…I’ll plant more seed.

Tweezers Help Get Small Seeds Planted Properly

The seeds have all been planted, misted thoroughly and covered with loose fitting plastic wrap. Now all they need is warmth and then in a week or two they should pop up out of the soil.

Even though my potting shed is heated, I’m going to keep them in the house until they germinate. The warmest spot in the house is my bathroom, so I’m keeping them on top of my claw foot bathtub. You have heard of hot house tomatoes…well mine will be bathtub tomatoes for a while. LOL.

A Warm Spot To Germinate

I’ll post about the progress of this little experiment. If all goes well, they will be planted in the garden at our summer cottage in Maine the last week of May. That is when the threat of frost will be over.

Happy spring.

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171 thoughts on “Spring Has Arrived And The Battle Begins

    1. Hi Mad Dog, Thanks for your comment. My bathtub gets sun for a good portion of the day. The seeds should be nice and warm there. I hope the Brandywine tomatoes will be as good as they were in the past.

  1. Your potting shed is just adorable! I love it. It makes me want to garden. We’re going to attempt herbs this year. We’ll see how that goes – I’m terrible at growing anything. That’s why I love these gardening posts – always inspirational (and impressive!). 🙂

    1. Hi Kristy, I think my potting shed is perfect. Everything a gardner needs…but cute besides. You should have no problem with herbs. They really take care of themselves. The only thing I have to replant in Maine each year is rosemary…it gets to cold to overwinter.

  2. What an incredible potting shed, Karen, you are indeed quite fortunate to have such a gorgeous place. I never have much luck with seeds, nor the patients, so I shall be going to my local nursery for my plants again. We shouldn’t really plant before May 24, but I have a feeling this year will be earlier than normal.

    1. Thank you Eva. The potting shed was created in a space that used to lead down to our basement. When we restored our home, I thought it was the perfect size for the potting shed. I had the hardest time finding my heirloom tomato plants last year and I thought I would try from seed this year. We can’t plant until the end of May either…hopefully I’ll have nice strong plants by then.

  3. You write.You cook. You travel (everywhere). You steal/replicate recipes and make them better. Now you are starting your own tomatoes? What can’t you do? I would like to see a post about that ; ). Bathtub tomatoes…indeed! I have a feeling they are going to turn out, Karen. And I will bet you will have the best tomato growing/eating season ever. You may think the success will be to organic this or organic that but we will all know the secret will be in the bathtub beginnings. ~~Bliss

    1. Oh Bliss!!! You make me laugh. Let’s hope my bathtub tomatoes will be happy and grow up big and strong. We have such a short growing season in Maine that I’ll do whatever I can to get a chop of delicious tomatoes.

  4. I love your potting shed. 🙂 I don’t have anything as functional, unfortunately, and only one of the windows/ledges with sun in my house can be used to hold flats or small pots. It involves the lid of my chest freezer and a bit of juggling when I need to get inside.

    I’m only doing herbs again this year (it’s my second year) and I’ve got a lot of little seeds sprouting though the rosemary and lavender seem to be late sprouters compared to the 2 kinds of basil and oregano. I just picked up a 3rd variety of basil and a package of thyme.

    I’m used the ‘drop a pinch of seeds in each cell’ planting method … will have to try your precise single seed tweezer delivery system next but seeds are relatively inexpensive and I’m impatient. 🙂

    1. Hi Boleyn, I am very fortunate to have been able to have my potting shed built with four nice windows. Most people plant more seed than I do in each cell. I have a problem in that I hate to get rid of plants and I know that I would be very tempted to plant every tomato that germinates. If most of my seeds germinate, I’ll still have too many plants. Friends will receive those.

  5. Fantastic with a potting shed – not a garden person … don’t have the patient – but I really like the interior of it – pretty enough to be a guestroom … like look of the bathtub – isn’t a bit to fancy for the tomatoes ??? or maybe that’s just want they need. Sure everything will just storm off .. in that environment.

    1. Hi Viveka, Thank you for your nice comment. The potting shed is cute even if you are not a gardener. Having an apple orchard…it gets a lot of use. I guess my plants will be a little spoiled living in their temporary home. They will face the real outside world soon enough.

    1. Hi Judy, Thank you for your nice compliment…I think the shed is perfect. When the weather is as nice as today, there is nothing better than doing a little gardening.

  6. Love the potting shed and the bathroom! We buy plants because so many of Big Man´s family work in agriculture on a large scale, but I am impressed with what you are doing! Fingers crossed for speedy sprouting 🙂

    1. Thank you, Tanya. It is so nice when you have a source for good plants. It is hard for me to buy my plants in Maine. By the time the nurseries start selling them, I should have nice strong plants…hopefully. People will probably give us a strange look when we drive pass them on our way up from New Hampshire to Maine with a car loaded with plants.

  7. Hi Karen! What part of your house is not to die for?? I’m excited about your experiment. I am a complete novice to gardening, so I will be closely following you even though our timelines will be a little different being in GA. I would love for you to share all of the essentials one needs to have in a “potting shed”. Happy Spring:)

    1. Hi Marietta, Thank you so very much for the nice compliment about our house. My potting shed is attached to the side of our house next to the barn which you can see in some of the photos from previous post. It was built over old stairs that led to our basement. It was the perfect spot because I was able to run heat and water from the basement to the shed. I have a wooden two level potting stand on wheels. I also have a smaller second one that is two levels with a stainless steel top. I have a double stainless steel sink with drainboards on each side. Everything was custom built…all the stainless steel items came from salvage yards. The shed gets a workout as I keep all my orchard tools in there and it is used at harvest time.

  8. Love your photos, Karen! I so wish I had a potting shed. I would definitely put it to good use!

    Happy Spring!

    1. Hi Allison, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. I think anyone that enjoys gardening wants to have a potting shed but you really don’t need one to grow plants from seed. Having mine between my house and barn makes my life easier when I’m working in the apple orchard. If I didn’t have one, I would use my garage like I did before living at the orchard.

  9. I tried Cherokee Purple seeds this year. I had 29 healthy seedlings, but something fatal (fungus? root rot?) hit them after they were about 4 inches high and I lost them all. My garden center has supplied me with replacements since Cherokee purple is my alltime heirloom favorite. I also have Indigo Rose, Green Zebra, and Brandywine. Our Texas Gulf Coast gardening calendar has us planting much earlier than you, of course since the larger tomatoes won’t set fruit at all after our days start exceeding 90 degrees (all too soon!). Your potting shed is lovely!

    1. Hi Mary Ann, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. Each section of our country has so many growing concerns. Ours is a very short season because of frost until the end of May and as early as the end of September. Too much heat is just as bad for you. What kind of growing medium did you use and did you change that on the second planting.

  10. Things are looking good, Karen! Looks like you’ve got things well under control. This is my 2nd year starting seeds and, although I’ve only started relatively few, all have germinated and are doing well — so far. It’s a long way between now and Insalata Caprese, however, and may good luck favor us both. 🙂

    1. Hi John, Thank is terrific that all your seeds germinated and are doing well. I didn’t want to start mine any earlier since they can’t go into the ground until Memorial Day. You are right…we have a long way to go before Insalata Caprese. It wasn’t until the middle of August until I had a slicing tomato last summer.

  11. LOVE the bathtub photo!
    I’ve made several attempts at getting a potting shed built, but it hasn’t happened yet. The basement isn’t nearly as much fun!
    Happy Planting – and Planning!

    1. Hi Marie, Thank you so much for you comment. It is a good thing that we have a shower as well. Hopefully the seeds will be happy and germinate.

  12. Looks like you’re off and running – mine have their second leaves and since it’s so warm they are already out of the green house. I used the oven with the light on to germinate and they popped up very quick. You have a great looking place to do your potting and I’m trying a couple of Mortgage Lifters this year. I tried them a few years ago with so-so results so decided to give them another try. I see you have Cherokees and they are a favorite here and won my tomato tasting last year – http://bigdudesramblings.blogspot.com/2011/08/tomato-tasting-2011.html.

    1. Hi Larry, I had to laugh that you used your oven for germination. If I did that, I’d probably forget about them and preheat the oven before I smelled melting plastic. The first year we grew Mortgage Lifters, they were the best tomato we had. Last year they were very disappointing but I’m planting them again, hopefully with better results. Purple Cherokees were great as well as Black Krim. We will see what this year gives us…you never know.

  13. Karen – My thought exactly, that’s why I had a sticky note on the oven switch announcing their presense. I’ve tried many germination methods but this worked the best ever, popping up in 4 days -http://bigdudesramblings.blogspot.com/2012/03/2012-garden-is-underway.html .

  14. Good luck, I can’t wait. The anticipation of seedlings makes me crazy! I’ve had a bout with my Spring gardening so far. Squirrels!!! Cute little b**terds so I’ve left them alone and they’ve (he’s, there’s only one fat one) eaten most of my radish crop 😦 He hasn’t touched the carrots, turnips or green onions so maybe I’ll have a few goodies. 🙂
    I’ll be waiting anxiously for the arrival of your babies. Love your potting shed, by the way. 🙂

    1. Hi Zoe, Thank you…I glad you like my potting shed. Critters are the worst. Last year a ground hog ate every beautiful head of romaine lettuce in one evening. I hope the squirrels don’t eat anything else in your garden. If he continues going through your garden one crop at a time, try a Have A Heart trap but never leave them out at night. If you have skunks, you’ll end up catching one. I learned this the hard way.

      1. Oh, it’s heartbreaking to watch your tender younglings get devoured, and all at once overnight, wow. I have a great plan of attack if the little guy keeps at it – I’ll have to critter-proof my garden, but he’s been absent for days now. My fingers are crossed that he only liked the Easter Egg Radish. I have to admit, I giggled at your skunk tip, even though I can imagine it wasn’t funny at the time. 🙂 That would be my luck!
        Happy Planting Karen!! 😀

      2. Yes Zoe, the trial and tribulations of having a garden. Animals that we might consider cute if viewed in a zoo…are our enemies when trying to grow our own vegetables. I can giggle about the skunk incident myself but at the time it really presented a problem. Would you believe…that incident was one of the inspirations for starting my blog. The funny thing is that I never did a post about it.

  15. Love where and how you placed your seeds in the bathroom! Very smart decision. We have to put our seeds in little pots as soon as Christmas is over. Good luck, I look forward to watching!

    1. Hi Kelli, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. The bathroom is the warmest spot in our home and it seemed so logical. I can spray the flats each day and not have to worry where the water goes.

  16. Oh for such a potting shed. If I had one, it might make me take up gardening again! As it is, I heed the advice that some friends gave us when we moved to the country decades ago: “You’ll do it for a few years, and then you’ll see that the farmer up the road does it much better and just buy from him.” Plus, we gave our garden over to chickens… So, keep posting, and I’ll just live vicariously!

    1. Thank you Michelle, for your nice comment. I’m happy that you want to follow along and live vicariously though my blog about the garden. My potting shed is a wonderful feature of our home. I use it during apple season as well as a home for plants to stay warm before they can go in the ground each spring. I know that farmers markets are a wonderful option for many people. But growing our own is not only cheaper but we get our favorites as well. We end up having so many fresh tomatoes that we are able to have fresh tomato sauce from our freezer all winter long.

  17. Karen, your shed is adorable, your tub is wonderful and I am sure your cottage in Maine is out of this world, as is your home we get views of from time to time…Isn’t life grand? Good luck on your seedlings.

    1. Hi Rufus, You and me both. Here’s hoping that all the seeds germinate and they grow into big, strong tomato plants that give lots and lots of delicious tomatoes. Now do you think that is wishful thinking?

  18. What a darling potting shed! And I see you have sunshine. I wish I had a green thumb. Although in my defense we’ve had some terribly cool summers of late and my tomatoes never turned red. So lots of fried green tomatoes on the table.

    1. Hi Karista, I totally appreciate what you are talking about. The year before last was terrible in Maine as far as our garden was concerned. Actually it was terrible for us humans as well…we saw very little sunshine, cool daytime temps and ever cooler at night and lots of rain. No matter how green your thumb is…you can’t fight “mother nature” and win all the time. Let’s hope all gardeners have a wonderful growing season this year.

    1. Hi Ruth, Thank you for making me smile. “A spa treatment”… that is great. Let’s hope they appreciate the care that they are being given and peak their little green sprouts up soon. Then they will go under grow lights or should I say a tanning booth.

      1. You are totally right…I hope they all have loads of tomatoes that turn bright red. As for me, that’s what I do if I don’t have tons of sunblock on.

    1. Hi Kathleen, I’m sorry that you have given up on your garden. We have lots of deer because of our apple orchard. I can usually see eight or ten in the orchard in the evening. I have a picket fence around my garden in New Hampshire and it seems to keep them out. But then the reason may not be the fence, when they have three hundred apple trees to munch on. I’ve only seen one deer at our cottage in Maine where we grow our tomatoes. Thank you for stopping by and wishing me luck.

  19. This makes me yearn to get into the garden. I only have room for my herbs here, but maybe I can grow one big pot of tomatoes. At my last house I had a relatively small garden, but one year I managed to cram in 28 tomato plants of varying types … hybrids and heirlooms. The yard had a tomatoey day-of-the-triffids feel to it by the time late summer rolled around, but I enjoyed homemade tomato sauce the entire winter!

    1. Hi Marlene, Thanks for your nice comment. 28 tomato plants is a lot if your garden was small. Last year, I planted 19 but I am going to try and control my tomato greed this year. We will see what happens if I get loads of strong lovely little plants.

  20. A solid start, Karen. I started my seeds about three weeks ago and they are up and already getting a little gangly. I need to get them in the ground soon. Even in our very temperate climate it is a guess! Our May and sometimes June isn’t cold, but we get a marine layer that hovers over the day and we refer to the weather as “May Gray” or “June Gloom”–and then sometimes the plants actually get mildew. It gives me great respect for the farmer doing this for a living! Good luck on your end 🙂 Debra

    1. Hi Debra, Thank you for your comment. Maine gets a lot of the same damp, gray, cold days in the summer. I always tell people who come to visit to make sure they pack a sweater or sweat shirt. The poor plants sometimes just don’t thrive. Let’s hope for sunny days ahead.

  21. Karen, you have the most beautiful potting shed I have EVER seen – and as for your bathroom, well just from a little glimpse, I can see its magnificence! Nice to see more of your splendid home in these pics. I love your patience and dedication in planting individual seed using tweezers. Looking forward to seeing the success of your planting.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. Hi Mandy, Thank you so much for your nice compliment. I do really enjoy my potting shed this time of the year. I thought it was easier to plant just one seed in the center of each cell to give them a good start. Working with tweezers made the job easier because the seeds are so small.

  22. I just love your germinating tub! Only a true gardener would do that! Is this your first attempt at starting your own veggies??? It is so satisfying to take a little tiny seed and have it grow in to a big plant that provides so much food.

    Good luck and keep us posted on their progress!

    1. Hi Robin, In the past I have always used starter plants. Last year I special ordered certain heirloom varieties from a gardening center. When I went to pick them up, they only had one of my varieties which had me scrambling for plants. This year I decided to take matters into my own hands. Hopefully the results will be good.

  23. It’s a fun time of year isn’t it, getting things started for the garden. And I’m pleased to see that someones else’s home also has seeds germinating in odd places:) Love the tweezer idea too

    1. Hi Claire, I love this time of the year. Not only will my tomatoes be bathtub tomatoes, they will be traveling tomatoes when they make the two hour journey to their final home in Maine this summer. The tweezers really helped…especially with the tiny cherry tomato seeds.

  24. I really had to smile about how neat and clean your potting shed is! I’m such a neat, orderly person, I won’t say “freak” and that is exactly how I’d keep my potting area – if I had one! The bathtub too…so funny!! What happens when guests arrive? A nice little surprise! Good luck on your seeds, can’t wait to see how they turn out!

    1. Hi Linda, Thank you for your nice comment. To be a success grower, I think it is very important to keep everything neat and clean. No surprises for the guests…they all have their own bathrooms. But I might give them a little “greenhouse” tour. Haha.

  25. Love growing those guys from seed… Especially if you have a back up resource. Do you have lights for the little guys? We used an easy set up with Costco metal shelves and lights from home depot. Then you avoid those spindly stems. I used to grow Stupice which was always my early reliable variety in the northwest. I love Purple Cherokee and Brandywine. Green zebra is another fun one and they are small so they mature early. I’m living vicariously as I am gardenless at this time. Have fun!

    1. Hi Wendy, Thank you for stopping by and your nice comment. Yes, I have lights. As soon as they have all germinated, they will go back to the potting shed and under lights until they are ready for their first transplant. I know that so many people enjoy Green zebra…I may try that next year.

  26. What a charming potting shed! Years ago, we built a storage garage with a garden side for me. Then the surrounding trees grew so large I couldn’t get enough light to grow anything in it!

    Good luck with your tomatoes! There is nothing better than a home grown tomato.

    1. Thank you Susan, for your compliment. Light is definitely important. There are four windows in mine as well as a roof window. I have lights that will hang over the plants when I return them to the potting shed once they have germinated. I’m hoping for a good tomato crop this year but you never know. There truly isn’t anything as good as a homegrown tomato.

  27. Karen, I love watching garden adventures of those who are lucky enough to have a garden. With my humble balcony I can only plant herbs, but I also sow some rocket (arugula 😉 ) which grows like crazy and even chili peppers and sometimes cherry tomatoes which make me believe I have almost a tiny garden 😉
    I would never think I could use a tip from someone who has a real garden, but your tweezers trick sounds excellent. I haven’t sown everything yet, so my next seeds will be placed with tweezers. Thanks a lot for this tip and good luck with your future harvest!

    1. Hi Sissi, Even when you only have space for a pot or two, gardening is to rewarding. It is so nice to have fresh herbs available. The tweezers really make planting tiny seeds much easier.

  28. Bathtub tomatoes! I love it. I currently have kitchen counter broccoli (although I’m wondering now if I should have started the broccoli back in December since it’s been so warm!).

    Happy Spring to you too! 🙂

    1. Happy spring, Robin. Kitchen counter broccoli…I can relate to that. This summer my kitchen counters will be overtaken with tomatoes if all goes well like last year.

  29. What a smart idea to use the bathtub!! I would say I could actually do this in my apartment…but I don’t have a window in there, so nevermind. I’ll have my own garden soon enough. For now, I can just drool over yours, ha!!

    1. Hi Caroline, The bathtub is working out well. I just removed the plastic and misted them with water. No worries about the wood floors getting wet. You can share my virtual gardening any day.

  30. Mine are in, up, and blooming (!) already. Gotta start early around here or the heat becomes too much for the dears. I stick with “cherry” types that I can container grow, they do better for me. Best of luck and keep the pictures coming – love the tub!!

    1. Hi Rachel, I can’t believe your tomatoes are in and blooming. Actually, I think you are smart. Last year you summer in Austin was brutal. Mine won’t go in until Memorial Day…that is our last chance of frost. Last year I pushed it up one week and was lucky. Thank you for your comment and have a good growing season.

  31. Ah I’m so jealous of everyone getting their gardens ready this year. We will be in transition this summer, so no garden for us. Booooo. Love the pic of the tomatoes over the bath tub.

    1. Hi Jeb, I truly understand. It is hard not planting a garden when everyone is talking about it. There is always next year and wonderful farmers markets can keep you supplied this year. Thank you for your nice comment.

  32. Good luck Karen – I planted some seeds on the weekend too, although I don’t have much hope – all my windows face the midday sun and always dry out when I’m at work – still, I can always hope! I usually buy some seedlings as a “backup” in case though 🙂

    1. Hi Charles, If you look at my last photo, you will see that after I misted my flats real good I covered them loosely with plastic wrap. It holds the moisture in. You might give that a try. My flats are getting a lot of sun which I think is good. It keeps the soil warm and should help with the germination.

  33. I can’t wait to see how this experiment turns out. I think it will be great and I can’t wait :). And by the way.. LOVE the tub. It just looks so darn beautiful

    1. Hi Kay, Thank you so much for your very nice compliment. I love my bathroom…I wanted it to be very girly and I think my tub creates the feeling I wanted to have. I hope my tomato experiment turns out good…if not, the garden centers will have plants. Maybe not my heirlooms but…I’m just going to keep thinking positive.

  34. So JEALOUS of that potting shed. I am sure my husband would be, too, since every surface in our kitchen and dining room will be covered in seedlings in a few weeks. 😉 Best of luck with the tomatoes and the rest of your gardening adventures!

    1. Welcome Pivochik, and thank your for your comment. My little potting shed seems to loved by a lot of my blogging friends. Let’s hope this is a good gardening year for all of us.

  35. wow, you are amazing! I am too scared to try the long way from seed. I just plant in the ground and hope for the best 🙂 Good luck!

    1. Hi Tandy, This is my first year for tomatoes by seed. Last year I was so frustrated trying to find heirloom plants. When I did find a few, the plants were so small for my short growing season. Thanks for wishing me luck.

    1. Hi Charlie Louie, The potting shed is not big so it is easy to keep organized. I’ve got my fingers crossed that all the seeds will germinate. Thanks.

      1. I know what you mean, I used to live in Florida where most homes were stucco. Our home, built in 1730, is the oldest in our town in New Hampshire.

  36. I know very little about gardening, but my Mother absolutely adores it, so it’s hard not to feel enthusiastic whenever I see her pottering around in the garden! A great post – I learned something about growing tomatoes, too! 😀

  37. I had intended to start tomatoes from seed this year, but I’m running a little behind. Story of my life.
    Your potting shed looks so cute! And I love the tomatoes in the bathtub. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    1. Hi Pixie, Our lives can get hectic sometimes…I had wanted to start my seeds a week earlier. I’m glad you stopped by for a visit and thank you for your compliment.

  38. You have a wonderful planting table/potting shed. My husband has a kitchen sink exactly like yours that that we have been carting around with us each move for the last 10 years or so (yes, … even the kitchen sink 🙂 ) I think we should hook it up next to my outdoor potting table, and hook it up to the spigot. Good luck with your tomatoes!

    1. Thank you for stopping by Sheila and your nice comment. The sink is perfect and gets a real workout during the apple season. You definitely should hook your sink up.

  39. Hi! Just discovered your blog! Looks fun and I love your potting shed! I must get my tomatoes started too but I have to wait till back from vacay. I grew Cherokee Purple last year and had lots of tomatoes. I’ve never thought of tweezer to help with tiny seeds so “Thanks.”

    1. Thank you for stopping by Andrea. I’m glad you like the blog and the tip about the tweezers…it really helps with the tiny seeds. Look forward to your visits.

  40. Love your bathtub tomatoes! I’m glad that you have had good luck with Brandywines–I haven’t had great success with them the last two years, so I’m going to pass on them in favor of more Cherokee Purples.

    It seems to be unusually warm across the nation—so early. Who knows what this year will ultimately bring for the garden? Every year is different, a challenge but a joy.

    1. Hi Linda, I have had a couple of good years with Bradywines but I think so much has to do with the weather each year. Purple Cherokee has always been a winner for me…large and a wonderful taste. The weather has been crazy. We have had five days of record setting heat and but the weathermen are talking about frost next week.

    1. Hi Becky, Thank you for stopping by and your nice comment. The bathtub germination station is working. Five little basil sprouts have poked up this afternoon. I’m hoping the tomatoes will be following shortly.

  41. I admire the patience of anyone who starts tomatoes from seed. I usually just buy plants. I have one hearty tomato plant that never stopped bearing even in December and January and is flowering again now in March — don’t know how that happened! (The rest died off in October).

    1. Hi Sharyn, That has to be one hardy tomato plant. Too bad you don’t save seed. Wouldn’t it be nice to have more like that one. I could wait and buy plants in Maine in the middle of May but they would be small and the season is too short there. If the seeds grow, I should have nice big and strong plants to take up there and plant.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Donna. It will be fun to see how we both do, hopefully we will have a nice crop of tomatoes. I look forward to your return visits.

    1. Hi Beth, Thank you for stopping by to visit my blog and your nice compliment. Hopefully the little hothouse will have the tomato seeds sprouting in a few days.

  42. Happy Spring.. sorry I’m a bit late:) I just love your potting shed.. it looks more like a home than a shed. And that tub.. so pretty!! I can’t wait to see your little seeds sprout and grow over the next few weeks!

    1. Thank you Lorraine. I think this is a lovely season for both of us. Spring is full of beautiful flowers and new beginnings. Fall is colorful leaves and cooler temps. I enjoy both…they are gentle seasons.

  43. Growing tomato plants from seed seems to produce stronger plants for me. And the harvest is almost double compared to the store bought plants. I can’t wait to see your bushels of tomatoes in a few months. Enjoy this early warm weather!

    1. Thank you Mary! I hope you are right about stronger plants. I have been to a famous grower’s nursery where I have seen plants with soil so dry that I wouldn’t buy anything from them. At least I know I will be giving my plants tender loving care each and every day.

    1. Hi Carol, My tub hothouse seems to be working…I have some of the tomatoes already germinating. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Ducky, I’m so happy to say that about half have already germinated. They like their little bathtub hothouse. I’ll keep everyone up to date. Thanks for the good wishes…I’d love a good crop of summer tomatoes.

  44. Hi Karen
    Looks like you found a great spot to germinate your tomatoes. I’ll be sowing some today and am excited to get the new gardening season started. I’ve been on vacation and was quite surprised to come home to such warm temps. Has your weather been crazy too? The forsythia and daffodils are blooming close to 6 weeks early here. Really makes me want the summer! Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Sue, Welcome back, I hope you had a great vacation. We are having the same crazy weather. We had 5 days of record warmth and my daffodils and forsythia are in full bloom since I did this post…amazing. Now it is back to normal and we are going to have lows in the 20’s next week. I hope you have a wonderful growing season and I will watching with envy on your blog.

  45. Haha, I love the bathtub tomatoes. I love your photos showing each step along the way. It makes me want to get out and plant – although living in Winnipeg makes planting at this point perhaps not the best idea.
    I am considering starting some seeds inside, though. Does that plastic wrap trick work only for tomatoes or should it be done with all plants?

    1. Hi Jenna, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. I’m happy that you enjoyed the photos. Yes, I would definitely suggest using the plastic wrap…so far all of my seeds have germinated except for three in less than one week. Our temperatures will be in the 20’s for lows this week so I understand where you are coming from. Starting inside gives us an advantage since we have such short growing seasons. I will be posting updates on the progress of the tomatoes.

      1. Sounds good; I look forward to reading them. Hopefully I’ll have time within the next little while to plant them. Yesterday I bought a bunch of seeds, but I’ll have to plant them inside to start – usually in WInnipeg (I’m told) it’s safe to start planting after the May long weekend.
        Seems a bit late, but it is Winnipeg, after all.
        Looking forward to those tomatoes!

      2. Hi Jenna, I think what you have heard about planting in Winnipeg is correct. I live in New Hampshire and most people don’t plant until Mother’s Day. My tomatoes will be going to our summer cottage in Maine and the last frost date there is the end of May and that is when we will pant them. By that time, my tomato seeds sound have grown into nice big, strong plants, ready to be transplanted from large pots into the ground.

  46. First your comments in your post had me laughing and then the bathtub photo got me laughing even more THAN the conversation about starting seeds in the oven had me falling out of my chair with laughter – it almost convinced me to start seeds but than we all know how husbands never read the notes left for them!!! So I buy plants each year and all but one year (the first) I have grown them in BIG pots but they have been doing crappy ( I had “mortgage lifters” last year too and the corny jokes just never got old!) So this year I am giving some precious real estate in my 6’x8′ plot to the tomato plants and will put things like pepper plants in the pots. My fav red tomato is Brandywine and green is Zebras! Have had success with both in the past!

    1. One thing about my blog, Carol…it is never boring and there is usually a laugh or two. I had tomato greed last year and my cherry tomatoes ended up in half barrels. I know I would have had a better crop if they had been in the ground. I also had “the bad” our chipmunk last year that thought the cherry tomatoes were planted so that he would be able to eat vegetables along with his diet of nuts. I think he heard about the recommendations for a healthy diet. Anyway, this year I am hoping for a nice crop of tomatoes.

    1. Thank you for considering by blog for this award. I’m alway so happy when I am recognized by fellow bloggers. I appreciate it very much.

  47. I’ve just started my tomato sprouts (although mine are merely on a windowsill, not in a bathtub), and planted the snow pea seeds directly outside since it’s been so warm, too. The incredible weather makes me hopeful for a good growing season… Fingers crossed for both of us!

    1. Hi Hannah, Thank you for stopping by for a visit. We have had wonderfully warm weather but tomorrow’s low is supposed to be 18 degrees. We are back to the real world. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for both of our crops…let’s hope they will be bountiful.

  48. I love the way you have planted your seeds. I’ll have to try that. This is the first time I’ve planted seeds..I have 4 different types of tomato’s, 4 different types of peppers, yellow squash, basil, cilantro, cucumbers and a few other things….So, far everything has come up! I’m super excited! Keep us updated on your plants. Can’t wait to find out how yours are doing:)

    1. Hi Pam, Thank you for stopping by and your nice comment. It sounds like you are going to have a wonderful garden. I will be doing updates, thanks for being interested.

  49. I TRULY love your bathtub tomatoes! How delighful that you have such sunshine streaming into your bathroom! It looks like a wonderful place to start them off!

    1. Hi Katia, Thank you for stopping by and your nice comment. The bathtub is working out terrific because it is a sunny and warm stop. The first seeds that I planted germinated so fast…five days.

  50. I’ve been starting my tomatoes and peppers from seed for a few years now – certainly a project but the selection of seeds out there makes it fun to try new varieties each year! I love your potting shed and am glad to hear that your seeds have sprouted. Beautiful blog and best wishes!

  51. Can’t wait to see updates on your seeds! My peas, beans, and onions have sprouted, but I haven’t seen any activity from the squash, celery, basil, or cucumbers I started at the same time. I think it’s a little cold for them still since I have them down in the basement. Hopefully they’ll get going soon!

    1. Hi Liz, I will be doing an update soon as I will need to be transplanting my tomato seedlings into little pots. I’m surprised that none of your basil hasn’t sprouted. Mine was the first to germinate in three days. Do you have your seeds covered with something like plastic wrap? Perhaps you could bring them up from the basement to someplace warm. That may be your problem…too cool.

      1. I’m sure that is the problem. Unfortunately if we bring them upstairs the cats will eat them. I may try putting a heating pad underneath them to warm the soil up a bit.

      2. I wouldn’t want your cats eating the plants. A warm closet would work since the seeds don’t need light until they germinate. Good luck!

    1. Hi Reg, Thank you for stopping by and your comment. I would be very happy to have my blog added to your sites. I really appreciate it!

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