Starting Main Season Tomato Seeds
This has been a very busy week. First of all, I started my main season tomato
seeds in a 20 row seed tray (see image above). I used a commercial seed starting
mix, filled each row to the top and gently compacted the soil with my finger to
create a 1/4″ trough. I watered each row with my favorite spray bottle and then
planted approximately 10 seeds in each row. I then covered the seeds with more
seed starting mix and watered again with the spray bottle.
This year, I planted 14 different varieties; 8 heirlooms, 2 varieties of plum
tomato, one determinate hybrid (still looking for a tasty short hybrid), a stuffing
tomato, Green Zebra and Matt’s Wild Cherry (our favorite cherry tomato). The remaining rows were planted with marigold seeds.
Tomato seeds sprout best when warmed with some bottom heat. I immediately placed them on a heat mat where they will remain until all the seeds have sprouted. I also covered the tray with a clear plastic dome to help keep moisture in. These seeds will live on my plant stand under the lights for the next six weeks. When the first true leaves appear, I will transplant them to 4 packs with 2″ x 2″ cells. When the seedlings reach 6″ in height, I will transplant them to 4″ diameter pots and move them out to my sun shed where they will stay for a week or so. Then, they will be moved outside to harden off before planting. I know that it looks like a lot of transplanting. It is very important to keep tomato seedling from getting pot bound. That will retard their growth and future performance.
Why I Use a 20 Row Seeder
One of the most useful tools I have is the 20 row seed trays that I use to start
tomatoes, peppers, flowers and herbs. I can fit at least 200 seeds in an 11″ x
22″ tray. At this time of year, room on my plant stand is at a premium. These
seed trays buy me some time until other seedlings started earlier can be moved
out to the sun shed or into the garden.
Starting Flower Seeds
My garden just wouldn’t be the same without flowers to add color. We love zinnias. This year, I have started seeds of seven different varieties as well as
three different varieties of marigold and some calendula. Again, I’m using the
20 row seeder to get seeds started. When the first full leaves appear, I will
transplant them into six packs and move them out to the sun shed. Generally,
I transplant flowers to the vegetable garden on Memorial Day weekend here
in zone 6a.
Starting Herb Seeds
Of the nearly 600 seeds started this week, one third were herb seeds. Most of those were either basil or parsley. I also started dill seeds. These are easy to
grow, and annuals here in zone 6a. We use a lot of basil. We make pesto,
basil butter, use it in salads for flavor and add it to many cooked dishes.
We prefer the classic Italian Basil, and flat leaf parsley. Seeds were started in
a 20 seeder and eventually will be moved to six packs.
The Chicken Report
The chickens are loving the fact that our property is now 80% snow free. We let
them out for a while every day so that they can forage wherever they choose.
It’s what chickens want to do. We had our first double yoker this week. What
can I say, “My girls Rock”.
All the best,