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.
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.
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
to 14 inch tomato plants today.
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.
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.
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.
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.