Heirloom Tomato Seedlings

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.

A Warm Spot 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 North And South Facing Windows And A Skylight

Potting Shed

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.

Three Inch Seedlings Growing Under A Light

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.

Everything Needed For Transplanting

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.

Before And After Transplanting

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.

The First Transplanting Is Complete

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.

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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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186 Responses to Heirloom Tomato Seedlings

  1. Nice tutorial, Karen, with great pictures too.
    Totally jealous of your attached potting shed…I’d love to have a place to get things wshed BEFORE they got to the kitchen! :D
    The best transplanting advice I ever read – I think from Elliot Coleman – was to handle your seedlings by their leaves, not their stems. They can grow new leaves if you accidently damage one, but most won’t grow new stems…
    Happy Gardening!

  2. sheila365 says:

    Thanks for the step by step with photos. I did not realize you could/should plant the seedlings that deep (up to the first set of leaves). And I love how your shed is an extension of the house.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shelia, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. Just tomato seedlings should be planted deeply because they grow roots all along the stem. They will have a much stronger and healthier root system by doing this. Having the potting shed as an extension of our house is wonderful. We were able to have something built in keeping with the age of our home…with water and heat.

  3. Judy says:

    Good morning – Great post. One question – how long was it between the time you took the plastic off and they reached three inches? Thanks neighbor.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Judy, The plastic come off as soon as the seeds germinated (5 to 6 days) so it took them about two weeks to grow to their 3 inch height once they broke through the soil. The basil which germinated in three days only has just one set of true leaves and are about an inch tall. It really is amazing how fast indeterminate tomatoes grow.

  4. Karen, what a beautiful post. I am so in love with your home and love seeing little sneak pieces of it – I would love to come visit for tea and go on a tour with you! You clearly were born with green fingers – your seedlings are all just perfect! :-) Mandy

    • Karen says:

      Thank you very much Mandy, for your very kind compliment. Wouldn’t it be lovely to share a cup of tea and then give you a tour. This is the first year I have started my tomatoes from seed and so far everything is doing great.

  5. lulu says:

    Wow, your seedlings have come a long way in a short time and it looks like you should again have quite a crop of tomatoes. Will you take some of those to plant in Maine?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lulu, I can’t believe how well the plants are growing. Yes, we will take all the plants up to Maine. We will be a sight to see driving up the Maine Turnpike with a car full of tall tomato plants in the back. Hopefully, we will get a good crop of tomatoes again this year.

  6. Judy says:

    Your seedlings look great! Thanks for the tutoial too, I didn’t realize it was necessary to wash saved pots, good to know.
    Ahhh, the new life of spring! Just don’t get tired of that. I have had seed packets sitting on my kitchen counter for over a month now. I bought them early thinking I’d get a jump on things and there they still sit. (I put them on the counter thinking I’ll do something with them if I see them everyday!) Now it is raining, so I missed my “early” chance–nothing like rain for new seeds and plants. Oh well, it will get done like everything else and the sun will rise and set anyway. :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Judy, Thank you for your nice compliment. I had to chuckle at your comment about your seeds. I do the same thing…putting something where I see it everyday. But unfortunately, that doesn’t always work. I’m sure you still have plenty of time for your seeds. Thanks for starting my day with a smile.

  7. savourytable says:

    I can’t wait to see how your garden evolves over the summer. There is nothing better than homegrown heirloom tomatoes. We enjoyed many late last summer from my patio garden. If our soil wasn’t made of concrete I would love to have a proper garden. I will live vicariously through you.

    • Karen says:

      We had wonderful luck with our tomatoes last year. Hopefully we will be as lucky this year. Last year I grew two cherry tomato plants in very large pots and they did well, especially black cherry. I wish you will with your patio garden this year.

  8. That’s it, you may find me lurking around your house in Maine hunting for tomatoes! I love the whole idea of a potting shed. Here at Willard Beach, we really don’t have space for a nice garden. I’ve been using Earth boxes on the patio. Thank goodness for the farmer’s market! Another great post. Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Julie, for your nice compliment. I was looking at the Earth boxes the other day…I think they are a great idea. Would you believe that two years ago, someone dug up two of our tomato plants, two eggplants, took the tomato cages and metal stakes. They even filled in the holes. I think that they thought we wouldn’t notice they were gone. I guess they wanted to make eggplant parmesan. LOL

  9. Little Sis says:

    Thanks so much for the writeup. It’s funny but no matter how long you’ve been gardening, reading someone else’s process always brings a little kernel that you hadn’t learned before. Your plants look lovely!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Little Sis, I glad that you enjoyed the post. I always enjoy reading other bloggers posts…as you say you always learn something new. Thanks for your nice compliment.

  10. Lea Ann says:

    Fabulous. When I retire, I look forward to taking the time to germinate and nurture seeds like this. For now, I’ll have to depend on the greenhouses to start my tomato plants. Our average plant date here in Colorado is May 12. So I’ve got awhile before I can start thinking about that. Plus, lots of snow in the forecast for this weekend. I love your shed and look forward to the progress of your seedlings.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lea Ann, Thank you for your very nice compliment. Hopefully we don’t have any more snow in our future but our snow stakes that line our drive haven’t been pulled yet. Our plant date for our garden in Maine is May 28th. Since we have such a short growing season, I try to get the largest plants I can in the ground on that date. Hopefully, what I grow will be far bigger than anything I can buy when we go to Maine. It is very difficult to get heirloom varieties up there as well. I hope we both have a successful growing season this year.

  11. viveka says:

    Love your potting shed, you shown it before … you can grow more funny stuff there *smile That bathtub will fit my apartment perfect *smile Grow black berries ???? Don’t you have loads growing wild over there. ????? They always enjoy growing along railway lines for some reason. Don’t have any green fingers, but I will do my herb pots on the balcony again this year.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Viveka, for your nice comment. Yes, we have wild black berries, blue berries and grapes that grow on our property. Unfortunately, the birds, turkeys and deer eat most of the berries before I get a chance to pick them. You are right about wild black berries growing along railroad tracks. I don’t know why they grow so well there.

      • viveka says:

        - black berries are my favorite berry – and when I walk from the station in Simrishamn to my mums in September is the path full with big black berries. Don’t think the birds are into them, not the the Swedish ones anyhow. Wild turkeys .. we don’t – but we have a massive turkey farm in the county. We have wild geese.

      • Karen says:

        It is nice the the Swedish birds leave the blackberries so that people can enjoy them.

      • viveka says:

        the birds .. you mean *laughter – did I write wrong too ????

      • Karen says:

        Viveka you were correct…the birds is what I meant to write. Thanks, I fixed my mistake.

  12. I can’t get over how neat your potting shed is! I don’t have one now but my old one was a stand alone one I had built and I loved it. It was NEVER as neat as yours.

  13. That is am amazing (and so clean and tidy) potting shed! Everything is doing so well, but it´s been loved and cared for so I´m not surprised! Here´s to a fantastic growing year :)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Tanya, for your lovely compliment. My seedlings are definitely being pampered. Wait till they go out into the real world. I’m hoping we all have a good growing season. I know your garden must be well on its way.

  14. Looks like your are going strong! What kind of tomato plants are they? Love the potting shed!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kelli, This year I am growing Mortgage Lifter, Gary Isen’s Gold, Brandywine Red, Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Black Cherry and Supersweet l00. Hopefully they will all do well this year. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  15. niasunset says:

    Oh dear Karen, I wished to have a place for this… Seems so nice and so exciting. Good Luck for your tomatoes… Thank you, with my love, nia

  16. The tomatoes look wonderful, but your tub is what grabbed me. I love the look of it–in fact I love the look of your whole space! Thanks for sharing.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Victoria, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. I am really pleased with how good the tomatoes are doing. Our 1730′s house took five years to restore and I think that my tub fits with the character of the home well.

  17. Jane says:

    I love your setup! Your plants look great!

  18. ChgoJohn says:

    My seedlings look very much like your own, Karen. In fact, as I was reading your tutorial, I couldn’t help but think how I should start getting my supplies together so that I can transplant them as you’ve done. And like everyone else, I think that potting shed of yours is fantastic!

    • Karen says:

      Hi John, It is nice to know that your seedlings are doing good as well. It was good that I got them transplanted as they had already developed a nice root system. They will be much better off now that they are in four inch pots. It is sleeting right now so I’m happy that I have the potting shed…it is a warm place for my tomatoes to grow.

  19. Karen!! I love your shed.. and by the looks of it, your house as well.. and your yard! I would die to have that shed and your lights and wee plants! Oh, and those apple trees as well, now that we’re discussing what I envy;) I would be painting in there, I think.. or typing on my computer, surrounded by the heavenly green plants you have growing in there!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Smidge, for your sweet comment. I think we are very lucky to have our home and orchard. Our home is very unique and I am happy that we restored it. The orchard requires a lot of work but is good for the soul. I’ll post photos of the orchard when it is in bloom. Our neighbors say they can smell the blossoms when they drive by.

  20. Deb Platt says:

    First, this post was a great photo-documentary. Second, your potting shed is so well thought out: functional and cute.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Deb, Thank you for stopping by and your nice compliment. I agree with you that my potting shed is truly functional but cute was well. A girl has to have some cuteness in her life. It is a happy place to work in.

  21. Agree – you should post photos of your renovated home next – it looks gorgeous! :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pumpkin, Thank you so much for your lovely compliment. There are some photos of our kitchen, dining room and parlor on posts that I did at the end of last year. I’ll try to show some more photos in the future.

  22. Well done! BTW, I think I could live in the potting shed. It reminds me of those little Tumbleweed homes, which when I am in the throes of minimizing am convinced I could live in (or a vintage Airstream) and then I slowly realize my antique desk wouldn’t fit in it. ~~Bliss

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bliss, You had me laughing with your comment. Let’s see…the pro is that it is so small that it can be cleaned in less than five minutes. But the con is that you are right…your desk would probably never fit in.

  23. Bonnie says:

    What a great tutorial. I usually buy transplants for my heirloom tomatoes, but you make it look so easy.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bonnie, Thank you so much for your nice compliment. This is the first year that I have grown my tomatoes from seed but it won’t be my last. Besides saving on the cost of the plants, I have a termemdous choice of which tomatoes to grow. It really is easy…you will have to try it sometime.

  24. E.C. says:

    Great post. Your tomato plants are lovely. I know they’ll yield a hearty crop for you. Thanks for making this post, I didn’t know about pinching off the ‘Cotyledon leaves’. That’s need to know helpful info. I hope your gardening season is a productive one. :)

  25. Hi there, You live in a gorgeous part of our country… One of these days we want to visit New England… We almost visited there last Fall (wanted to see the covered bridges in Vermont)–but that horrible storm hit and much of the New England area had tons of damage. SO–we changed those plans… One day though, we will visit that area.

    LOVE your potting shed… That is the most ‘modern’ one I have ever seen… How special!!!!! Love it… Looks like your plants are doing well—and soon it will be time to put them in the yard…. Hopefully, last night was our LAST cold night of the winter season. We have had a very mild winter and a hot spring so far –until this week… Luckily, we had not frost though –so no damage to our flowers… I’ll post more of our Spring flowers tomorrow.

    Thanks again for coming to my blog.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. Everyone seems to love my potting shed as much as I do. It is all built from hand planed wood and handmade rose head nails just like our 1730′s house. Of course, no one had anything like that back then. Thank goodness for “modern” conveniences. I really do hope that you will get to travel to New England. I now that you would love the area…there are so many beautiful places to visit.

  26. contadinak says:

    So glad you found me, because I’ve now found you back – seed starting is my favorite part of the whole process. Seeing those first leaves pop out of their casings is soooo exciting! What a great set up you have here! That potting shed is a gardener’s dream. I put out my transplants to adjust, perhaps a bit too early. They’re hanging in there.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Vivian, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. My potting shed is everything I wished for and really lets me get plants off to a good start. You have such a challenge growing plants in Las Vegas because of the heat.

      • contadinak says:

        Yes, you know how much nurturing they require. It’s been hard losing some of them, but I’m trying to take an attitude of submission and see what ends up being happy here. Spring is so short here, and temps fluctuate so badly between night and day. So far looks like rudbeckia and salvia. Will show pix as they mature!

      • Karen says:

        You have a real challenge and it will be interesting to see what you have luck growing.

  27. Sissi says:

    Karen, you are so well organised and everything looks so neat and tidy! If you knew how I grow herbs from seeds every year… You would either laugh or be shocked. Or both. I put seeds directly in the same containers where they will grow. Some seeds sprout, some don’t so I always put more than I need, but sometimes I have to get rid of plants which are too close to each other.
    Thank you for the follow up. I love observing real gardener’s work!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sissi, I wouldn’t laugh at the way you garden. I think most people plant more than one seed in their containers. Since I have plenty of room to grow my plants, I decided to give each one their own space. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. I seems that most people that enjoy good food appreciate the growing of vegetables and herbs. As for being a real gardener…most gardeners would laugh because I don’t know plants Latin names. Gardening just gives me a lot of pleasure. Thank you for your kind compliment.

  28. Tandy says:

    Fantastic post! Thank you so much :)

  29. Thank you, Karen! This was very helpful. I think my tomato plants are now just about the same size as yours, and I was wondering about a second potting! You’ve convinced me to do it. In terms of weather I really could put them directly into our soil, but then they have to be babied to such an extent that it’s a bit of a burden. Even one day of heat we didnt predict and they can be lost. So now I know what I will do this weekend. Your potting shed is so beautiful…I share mine with a tortoise, but I’m not sure that he’s really deserving of the blame for it looking a mess. I think you’ve inspired me in that regard, too! :-) Debra

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debra, Thank you so much for your very nice compliment. I chuckle every time that I think about your tortoise. I believe that plants need to be babied as long as they can. By repotting them up to their first true set of leaves, the tomatoes will create roots along the buried stem. I will do the same thing again when I repot them and then again when they finally go into the ground at the end of May. We get very strong winds across the lake in Maine and I want them to have a strong root system and stem to survive.

  30. rachelocal says:

    Nice tips and lovely photos! I love your bathtub! :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel, Thank you for stopping by and your nice compliment. I think my bathtub is cute…and it made a lovely little spot for the tomato seeds to germinate. It gets lots of sun being next to a south facing window.

  31. Mad Dog says:

    Good luck with the tomatoes – watch out for Jack frost ;-)

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Mad Dog, You need a lot of luck when it comes to growing tomatoes. My plants won’t go into the garden in Maine until the end of May when the chance of frost is low.

  32. Oh those sweet little babies! I so miss starting seeds… Are you doing any peppers? Tomatillos?
    We have a piece of property on orcas island with apples too. Will enjoy watching you through the seasons till we are on the land again. Wendy

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Wendy for your nice comment. I will be growing some jalapeño and Italian frying (similar to Cubanelle) peppers but not tomatillos. Your property on Orcas Island must be lovely. That area of the country is known for wonderful apples. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post and want to follow along.

  33. Eva Taylor says:

    That’s a serious potting shed, Karen, lucky you. I’ve thought about making one, but I don’t think I would be consistent with its use. Your tomato plants look amazing.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Eva, Thank you for your nice compliment. My potting shed gets a lot of use. During the spring it holds all my plants waiting to go up to our cottage in Maine. During the fall it gets a workout during apple season in the orchard. I holds all of my pruning equipment that I use in the orchard as well.

  34. berlinplants says:

    Great post! We also grew tomatoes from seed last year… it was a really fun project until we realized that we didn’t have enough space for full-grown tomato plants in our small, urban apartment! So we’ve decided to wait until we actually have a garden before we try it again :)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Berlin, for your nice compliment. It is hard to grow tomatoes without a lot of space. I have grown dwarf plants in pots but the tomatoes just didn’t have much flavor.

  35. Thank you for a very clear and helpful tutorial Karen. I usually buy mint and basil that I grow on my kitchen window from a nursery near by, never thought of growing them from seeds

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Sawsan, for your very nice compliment. Basil is so easy to grow…the seeds germinated in just three days. They do grow much slower than the tomato seedlings…I haven’t needed to transplant them yet.

  36. emma says:

    You have a much nicer setup than I do:) My first Tomatoberry cherry tomato sprouted today, but I’m still waiting on the Cherokee Purple and Sub Arctic Plenty seeds. But unlike you (zone 5), we’re right on the edge of zone 3. Don’t want to start ‘em too early!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Emma, Thank you for stopping by and your nice comment. You really are in cold country. Our summer home is in Naples, Maine on Long Lake. Our last frost date is May 28th and I won’t plant the tomatoes until then. By that time, I will have my tomatoes in gallon pots and they will be pretty big. Growing them in New Hampshire until that time means that I get a little earlier chop of tomatoes.

  37. twbarritt says:

    I would love to have a potting shed – it looks like an absolutely beautiful location.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you T.W. for your nice comment. Where we live in New Hampshire really is beautiful. I think my husband and I were very lucky when we found our place. I absolutely love my potting shed and it appears everyone else does as well.

  38. Laurin says:

    That shed is amazing!! Among life’s many simple pleasures- homegrown tomatoes are definitely at the top of the list!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laurin, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. I totally agree…there is nothing quite as good as a homegrown tomato right off the vine. I have a long wait till I have tomatoes but it will be worth the wait.

  39. I always get the best tomatoes when I start plants from seeds, especially beefsteaks. They just need that little extra love to get them started off right! lol I can’t wait to see the yummy meals you make with all of those tomatoes.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary, I think you are right about plants started from seed. I watch over the little plants like young children. So many times when you go to a garden center you see plants that are a little neglected. There will definitely be a lot of tomatoes in our life this summer with plenty of recipes to go along with pretty photos. At least I hope we will have a bountiful harvest.

  40. Hi Karen, thanks for all these info, I love planting, unfortunately I travel often so i cannot take care of them, little creature as much as i would like..Thank you anyway !!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Claire, Thank you very much for your nice comment. I know what you mean…my husband and I travel a lot as well and it is difficult to take care of a garden. I have a beautiful garden plot with a picket fence around it here in New Hampshire but the only thing I grow in it is herbs. Since we spend our summers in Maine, that is where I plant my vegetable garden.

  41. Molly says:

    I’m reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and she’s been talking about heirloom tomatoes — wish I could eat one right now!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Molly, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. Heirloom tomatoes have the wonderful taste that we wish all tomatoes would have. Unfortunately, most tomatoes that we buy at a market are breed for long shelf life and are also picked green so there is no way they will have a wonderful taste. All they do is give color to a salad in my opinion.

  42. Robin says:

    Your tomatoes are doing great! They will grow like gang busters now that they are in bigger pots!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Robin, Thank you so much for your nice compliment. I think they have grown just in the course of the day. I can’t wait until I have to raise the light that is helping them grow.

  43. musingmar says:

    It’s so inspiring to see those tomato seedlings coming along so nicely. Wish I could transplant your potting shed to my garden!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Marlene, for your nice comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It is truly amazing that three weeks ago I was using tweezers to put tiny seeds into seed flats. Now they have grown enough to go into four inch pots. I love my potting shed…it really makes gardening possible for me this time of the year in New Hampshire. Today we had sleet and it is still in the 30′s at night.

  44. I tried planting some tomatoes last year but we live in an apartment and the tomato seed I was given wasn’t the right kind. It grew to more than 6 feet tall and produced very tiny tomatoes (but full of flavour). It was an interesting experiment. This year I am sticking with mostly herbs! Soon we will move to a house and I can have more than just a container garden!

    • Karen says:

      It sounds like the seeds that you planted last year were indeterminate and they really do grow large. Mine always grow to six feet or more…thank goodness my husband it tall and works in the garden with me. I hope that you will have the lovely home of your dreams soon and the garden that will come with it. In the meantime, having fresh herbs available to cook with is wonderful.

  45. I want your bathtub, your potting shed, your apple trees and your house!

  46. Jessica L. says:

    Green with envy here over that gorgeous little potting shed you have attached to the house! I want it! :) Thanks for the great post. I’m going to make grow lights my next investment, so it’s neat to see how you are using them here. Your plants look wonderful! I need to transplant the rest of my tomatoes this week!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jessica, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. Having my potting shed is wonderful this time of the year. I think you will be very happy with the results of a light for your seedlings. A fluorescent light fixture and daylight bulbs and you will be set.

  47. Purely.. Kay says:

    Wow.. that was quick :). And they look amazing Karen. I also love the locking lids trick as well. I am learning so much. One day I’m going to take the step and grow something myself

  48. I’m more impressed by your beautiful home! Great photos!

  49. Katerina says:

    Karen how wonderful you’ve made this place and with how much love and care you grow your plants. Success is in your pocket! Just beautiful!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Katerinq, Thank you for your very nice compliment about our home. Hopefully the plants will grow strong and we will have a large crop of tomatoes.

  50. Charles says:

    I need to re-pot the seeds I’m growing too, thanks for reminding me… must by some more compost this weekend! All the pots sprouted, except for one, strangely enough! Great tutorial Karen, and I can smell those tomato seedlings from here… I love the smell of tomato vines… it’s one of my favourite smells in the world!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charles, I can’t believe how fast the seedlings outgrow their starting flats. Tomato plants do have a strong smell but it is not one that I would say that I love. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for your compliment.

  51. Wow Karen!
    That was very instructive. Just the other day my daughter told me she wanted to plant a garden, but I don’t know if we’ll have our patience ;)

  52. Great tutorial! I love your photos of your yellow potting shed. I might try some seedling for out balcony. BAM

  53. ceciliag says:

    great series and I LOVE YOUR POTTING SHED.. absolutely super, you have such style! c

  54. Those plants are looking good, Karen. If we all had potting sheds attached to our houses we might all grow more: anything I plant, I plant directly in the ground or a pot outside — but not yet: we had thunderstorms last night.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Sharyn, for your nice comment. I know my potting shed is a great place for my seedlings to grow but you really don’t need one to start plants from seed. I started mine in the bathroom and if I didn’t have the shed they would be on shelves in front of one of my south facing windows indoors. Your mild weather is nice…it was 26 degrees with a hard frost on the ground here this morning. It will be a month before I can put anything in the ground.

  55. Looking at all these comments, I can see that everyone’s (including me) covets your potting shed – but I LOVE the door! Thanks for the tips – I guess I was making the mistake of not planting the seedlings deep enough which could account for my many fails. But you’ve motivated me.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Diane, Thank you for stopping by to visit and your very nice comment. Yes…everyone seems to love the potting shed. I’m glad that you noticed the door…it is very special. It is one of the original doors of the house that was stored in our barn. It has some of its original paint on the outside and is painted with a woodgrain design on the inside. I just had the door sealed to keep its original condition. I’m happy that my tips on transplanting seedings has been useful.

  56. Larry says:

    I feel a garden coming on for you. I planted mine just prior to the cold spell and covered them with floating row cover, so I’ll have to see how they are after one more night.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Larry, I can’t wait until we go up to our cottage in Maine for the summer and get the vegetable garden started again. My plants should be big and healthy when they get planted at the end of May. At least that is what I am hoping for.

  57. This is very cool! I have always wished to have my own garden so I could plant all sorts of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, for me, that isn’t possible right now, but hopefully one day in the future. I hope you continue to keep us updated on the progress of the plans!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ducky, Thank you for your nice comment. I’m glad that you enjoy following along and I will do another update on the plants as they grow.

  58. Great Tutorial and photos…you have SUCH a green thumb!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Ann, for stopping by to visit and your nice comment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. I don’t know about a green thumb but I really do like to give plants good care and usually I get rewarded with strong plants. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will be a good year.

  59. Cucina49 says:

    I am envious of your gorgeous potting shed! I look forward to seeing all the creative things you are going to do with these tomatoes.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Cucina, for your nice compliment. Everyone really loves the potting shed. I’m hoping for a good crop and you know there will be tomato recipes on the horizon.

  60. The tub is gorgeous, so is the shed. Creative way to do the seedlings, I’m looking forward to seeing all those tomatoes and the recipes.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol, Thank you for your nice compliment. The tub just seemed like the logical place for the seeds to germinate. A warm, sunny spot that is waterproof. I am also looking forward to our tomato crop and yes…recipes that I hope you will enjoy.

  61. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today! I absolutely love your potting shed! I would love something like that someday. For now…I have a few whiskey barrels of tomatoes and herbs and call that good! I’m going to plant some sunflowers this year and I’m excited about that. It’s the little things that make me happy. (Ok, sunflowers aren’t little…but you know!) I hope that as I look at more of your posts I’ll get a glimpse of your house – it sounds wonderful!!! I have heard people say that owning old, old houses like that is more like caretaking than ownership…

    • Karen says:

      Hi Gretchen, Thank you so much for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. If you want to see a few other photos of our home, you can go back to posts last November and December where there are photos of our dining room, parlor and kitchen. It took five years to restore our home. The nice thing is that we have all the modern conveniences that make living in it a real pleasure.

  62. Beth says:

    What a wonderful place to start seedlings! Like Gretchen, I’m tempted to go back and check out the pictures of your home.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. If you would like to see other photos of my home you can check my posts…Would you join me for a cup of tea, and Tis the season.

  63. What a perfect place you have to start your plants for spring planting. I don’t have much of a garden any more but would have given an arm and leg in past years for such a lovely place to work. I am looking forward to watching your garden grow.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cathy, The potting shed really is the perfect place to keep my plants until they can go into the ground. I was just out watering them and they have grown more than an inch in just a couple of days. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a good crop this year.

  64. A loevly post Karen, and I’m sure it will inspire lots of people to try a few tomatoes from seed. I’d love to know what varieties you are growing ?
    I’m another one who is a tad envious of your potting shed – I’d love a space to wash the soil off veggies before i take them indoors, sadly our house is listed and has no proper outside space.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Claire, for your lovely compliment. I am growing Mortagge Lifter (Radiator Charlie’s), Gary Isen’s Gold, Brandywine Red, Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Black Cherry and Supersweet 100. I have grown everything before except the Gold and the Supersweet which were given to me. Last year I think the best tasting was the Russian variety Black Krim. It was also the first to ripen. For several years Mortgage Lifter was the best but last year’s crop was disappointing. I’m going to exchange several of my plants with another gardener…hopefully for something that I haven’t tried before.

      • Thank you Karen, I appreciate the details, I know of Brandywine and Black Cherry, both delicious, and I’ve heard of Black Krim it seems to be a popular and highly regarded choice. I must get around to trying some next year, the trouble is there are so many wonderful varieties out there and so little room!
        I hope your swap goes well and you get to try something new, have a super weekend!

      • Karen says:

        I know what you mean about having room in the garden. I will not have room for all the tomatoes I have started if they all remain healthy. Black Krim really did well last year. I’m looking forward to trying a new variety, especially if I can get an early tomato as our season is so short.

  65. I love your little potting shed Karen. It looks bright and cheery — so much so that I’d like to curl up with a good book in there!

    • Karen says:

      Hi BJ, I love spending time in the potting shed in the afternoon because it is so nic and bright. I have a lovely view of the orchards from all the windows as well.

  66. Those seedlings in such a nice tub gave me a chuckle. But hey it works. Can’t wait to see the tomatoes.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Gregg, I chuckled too…when I put the flats on the tray where I normally keep my pretty soaps across my cute little tub. But you know us gardeners, we will do almost anything to guarantee a good crop of tomatoes. It really worked out great, everything germinated in five days. I’m sure your garden is off to a great start with all your warm weather you have been having.

  67. I wish we could grow heirloom tomatoes in Texas. The problem is the heat down here. By the time the plant is big enough to set fruit, we are already experiencing high 90 F heat. As a result the tomatoes don’t set and you get lots of blossom drop. Inn the fall you get lots of tomatoes but before they ripen you get the first freeze. Oh well. I make a mean chow chow. ;)

  68. Kristy says:

    This absolutely helped me! We’re trying to grow herbs this year from seeds. I have a few sage sprouts going now and am so excited. I’ve never grown a thing before so this is big news for me. Miss A of course believes it’s all due to her expertise. (And it probably is!) :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristy, I’m happy that my post was useful. If you are only growing herbs, when you transplant them they are planted at the same depth they were growing. Only tomatoes are buried deep. I think you will be very successful with your herbs. I hope Miss A has a green thumb to go along with her cooking skills.

  69. What a fascinating look into your potting shed. I’ll admit I am not much of a gardener (not by choice, I wish I was) so I always admire those that are!

  70. It’s always so exciting to start up the garden again in the spring! I can’t wait to see what comes of your seedlings. We always have the best luck with simple cherry and grape tomatoes, but the heirlooms we started last year never bore fruit. So disappointing… We’ve gotten ambitious this time around and are trying cucumbers again too, which haven’t been very successful in the past. Here’s hoping the warm and sunny spring we’ve had so far is a good sign!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Hannah, I agree…I hope we have a good growing season. You can always depend on cherry tomatoes. If you haven’t grown Black Cherry, give them a try. Black Cherry and Sun Gold are my favorite small tomatoes.

  71. Kristen Joy says:

    Thanks for the helpful info! I’m glad your bathtub seedlings are doing well.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristen, Thank you for your nice comment. I’m happy to hear that my post was helpful to you. Yes the “bathtub” seedlings are doing really well.

  72. rsmacaalay says:

    I hope I have green fingers so I can do some planting at home, I tried with herbs before I think I’ll just stick to my pots and pans

  73. Misky says:

    We just planted cucumber and annual flower seeds this weekend. We’re still having very frosty, cold nights so we decided to wait it out a bit because seedlings always catch up with nature in the end. In my area, the early bird just gets a frozen worm!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Misky, I totally agree with you. It will be the end of May before my plants go into the ground. We have a chance of frost until that time. Thank you for your comment.

  74. How satisfying to start so many wonderful plants from seeds! Last year, for Mother’s Day (!) I asked my husband and oldest son to rip out the huge bush behind my mailbox, so that I could plant vegetables there–it’s the only place in our yard that gets full sun. And, glory! Last summer I did have some gorgeous, huge Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes–so I planted another one this year. How fabulous it must be to have a lovely gardening space (at a Maine cottage, no less!) for all of your dear little seedlings. :-)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Robin, for your lovely comment. I look forward to our vegetable garden in Maine each year. It is hard to wait so long before plants can go in the ground there because of the chance of frost. Starting them in New Hampshire gives them a good head start. Good luck with your Cherokee Purple…it is a great tomato to grow.

      • So, when does the growing season start in Maine? Is the last frost typically in May? (My grandparents lived in NH, and they would have white Easters! It’s funny to think of that area as “warm enough” to give vegetables a good head start!)

      • Karen says:

        Hi Robin, The last frost date in Maine where our cottage is located is May 28. For our home in New Hampshire, it is May 21. Yes, there have been Easters when the ground is covered in snow and people are building snow bunnies. I will keep all my plants in my potting shed until we take them to Maine. You will see in later posts that I will take them out for a ride in wagons to harden up.

  75. Wow! We’ve already had temps into the 80s here in GA. (And though that might sound appealing, it’s oppressively HOT in the summer!)

    • Karen says:

      Believe it or not, it is supposed to be in the 80′s here for two days and then go back to the 60′s. This is the craziest spring I have seen. I used to live in Texas and then in Florida…it is the humidity that makes it so oppressive in the summer when you live in the south.

  76. igardendaily says:

    Hi there! I planted some seeds indoors a couple of days ago and used your suggestion of tweezers for the tiny seeds. They worked perfectly! Thank you! Your seedlings are looking great, hope mine do that well!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Andrea, I’m glad that you used my suggestion for using tweezers. It is very hard working with very small seeds and tweezers really help. I hope you have great luck and a good growing season.

  77. Your bathtub photo made me smile – I do the same thing! I also have a big clawfoot tub, and as I rarely use it, it comes in very handy as a seed germinator each spring!

    • Karen says:

      Hi G.G., Thank you for stopping by and your nice comment. It is nice to know that I’m not the only one using a tub for a seed germinator. It was a sunny, warm spot and waterproof as well.

  78. mykitchenstories says:

    Wow . This is a stunning setting. Cant wait to see the new babies
    http://www.mykitchenstories.com.au

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  81. Love the temporary digs!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Stacy, I do love having the potting shed for all of my plants when the weather is too cool to plant. Thank you for stopping by my blog and your comment.

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