Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mato babies

Tomato transplants
This is my first year to raise tomatoes from seedlings. There was an effort, last year, that was abandoned due to poor planning. This year, I'm serious. I got out my grow light and my timer, and started my seeds about three weeks ago. Yesterday I transplanted my initial seedlings from small pots into these larger pots, which I had saved over the years of buying tomato and other plants from Horn Seeds.
Originally, I thought, why not just start the seedlings in the big pots and save myself the trouble of transplanting? Then I found several sources that suggested that the act of transplanting was actually beneficial to the plant - the shock strengthens them somehow.
I've got 2 or 3 plants each of:
Egg Yolk
Royal Hillbilly
Arkansas Traveler
Black Cherry
Orange Banana
I've got quite a variety of tomato plants - and I'm growing more transplants than will fit in my garden. I've got yellow, pink, red, orange, and purple/black. I've got cherry, paste, jumbo, and medium sized tomatoes. I'm very eager to see how they compare. And since they are all heirloom, I plan to save seeds from the best of them - another skill I want to learn this year.
All the seeds are from Baker Creek Rare Seeds; some are from prior years and some I ordered this year. My old seeds I keep in a crisper double-bagged inside two plastic bags. I was pleased that all the old seeds (from 2 years ago) sprouted, especially since I gave quite a few of those seeds away to friends at various seed swaps. Wouldn't want to be giving away sub-par performers!
April 15th is our traditional tomato planting date. I wonder how large my tomato babies will be by then?


Sharlene T. said...

Please find room for all of them because your taste buds will thank you, forever! I'm planting my 'birthing sheets' this week and will be ready when the sun shines to put them into the garden. We are having from very strange weather, of late. Thanks for sharing.

Chris and his Tomatoes said...

Well if shock strengthens them, then my tomatoes might become really strong. They still look shocked almost a week after my transplant. How did you spread the seeds when you germinated them? I just kinda threw them randomly into small cups. I'm not sure if that's the best way.

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

Chris - Originally, I put two seeds per cell/pot. Most of them were commercial pots that I had saved, so they had drainage holes. The seeds that I planted in old pudding cups didn't turn out as well as the others - some didn't even germinate, even though I had put in drainage holes.

My tomatoes never actually looked shocked. Were you careful not to hold their stems too tight when you transplanted?

Chris and his Shocked Tomatoes said...

Hi Christine! I put in around 10 seeds per yogurt cup. I think part of the shock was due to the roots being intertwined when the seeds germinated. Thus, I had to do some pulling. The stems were also so thin so even though I was careful, some were bent out of shape.

I think next time, I'll do your technique: less seeds. Then I'll push the transplant a week later so the seedlings are stronger. How does 2-3 weeks in the yogurt cup sound?

Chris and his Tomatoes said...

Hi! I also got from some forum that my seedling bed 3x1x1 was only big enough for three plants! Eek.

I plucked off two seedlings and placed them on water. I hope they'll grow stronger there before I put them back in a big pot.