The heirloom tomato seeds that I planted three weeks ago germinated in less than a week. If you read my earlier post about spring, then you saw how I planted them in a seed flat. I took them from the potting shed and placed them in my bathtub to germinate.
The sunny bathtub worked wonderfully. I had also planted basil seed and it all germinated in three days. After all the seeds had germinated, the plastic came off and the flat was placed under a fluorescent light with daylight bulbs to help the seeds grow. The seedlings have now grown to a height of three inches and are ready to transplant.
Many readers expressed a desire to see the progress of growing tomatoes from seed. I’ll take you to the potting shed and show you how the seedlings have grown and show you how I transplant them. As you can see, the shed gets lots of light from north and south facing windows and a skylight. Since the potting shed is over the basement, the shed was easy to heat and stays warm on our cold spring nights.
The potting shed has always been very useful during our apple harvest. With hundreds of apple trees, it is a great place to wash apples and store all of my pruning equipment.
During the springtime, it has been a great place to pot up plants and keep them warm until they can go into the ground. It is also a wonderful place to wash off all the dirt on just picked carrots and beets.
As you can see, the seedlings are now three inches tall and need to be transplanted. The basil and some additional tomato seedlings will stay in the flat until they have at least two sets of true leaves.
I save all the plastic pots when I buy plants and reuse them. When reusing pots, be sure to wash them well and disinfect with a mix of Clorox and water (1 part Clorox to 10 parts water) to make sure not to spread any disease that might have been in the soil.
I will be transplanting everything into four inch pots for the first transplant. An old fork is very useful in getting the seedlings out of their small containers. I use organic seed mix and put it in a plastic bin. Working over the bin keeps the counters clean when planting the seedlings. And of course, I use a waterproof marker and labels.
I pinch off the Cotyledon leaves ( the bottom seed leaves) and plant the seedling to the bottom of the first true leaves. I mist the soil well, wait a few minutes and them water well.
You might be wondering what the pots are sitting on. They are locking lids from plastic storage bins that I use for storing apples. They have holes drilled in them and their lip is raised up so they will let air circulate around the pots. The lids also protect my wood potting bench.
It will be a long time before these tomatoes can go into the ground. They are destined for the garden at our cottage in Maine. When the roots have reached the edge of the pots, they will be transplanted again.
I hope this post will be helpful to anyone who is considering starting plants from seed.