Thursday, March 31, 2011

Growing Tomato Seedlings

I'm worried about my rear, er, I mean, my peas.  I thought I was doing the right thing by direct sowing my peas right after St. Patrick's Day, when it felt nice and warm (relatively speaking).  I thought the spring was finally here.  Unfortunately, the frigid winter weather came back to Indiana right after I sowed my peas, and now I'm worried that they are all toast.  I guess I will find out soon.

In the meantime, I've been busy tending to the indoor tomato seedlings.

Yes, these are all tomato seedlings, with a few peppers thrown in for good measure.  I didn't actually mean to grow so many tomatoes this year, but I was gifted a stack of tomato seed envelopes (15+ heirloom varieties)  that were about 6 years old by a Craigslister last year, and I wanted to see if any of them were still viable.  So I planted them all by throwing 6 seeds (of the same variety) into each cell of the cell packs, and wouldn't you know it, I saw germination in just about every single cell with anywhere from 1-6 sprouts.  Ack, I felt like the gardener version of Octomom.  Right now, I have multiple seedlings per variety growing under lights, but I'll probably end up transplanting only one plant per variety.  I would grow more, but I don't think I have enough room in the garden.

By the way, this is the new grow light setup that I convinced Keith to build for me.  After considering various less-than-optimum options for a grow light setup in the house (we just don't have any extra room to set up tables and hang lights), Keith came up with the brilliant idea of hanging a couple of shop lights under the breakfast bar and re-purposing a spare shelf piece (the kind for closets) to support seedling trays. At the moment, the shelf is propped up by a couple of bricks sitting on the bar stools so that the seedlings can be close to the lights, and we'll adjust/remove the bricks as the seedlings grow taller to give them more growing room.

All of the seeds were first germinated in recycled egg cartons and cell packs in our grow box.  But I discovered that the seedlings were leaning towards the light, which is unfortunately set up vertically in the middle of the grow box.

I was really losing sleep thinking about how these seedlings were growing leaning towards the light.  But now that we have a new grow light setup, hopefully these babies will grow up straight.

Speaking of babies, these tomatoes are going to be ahem, "legitimate" babies because Keith and I are getting married in May.  Of all the things to fuss about over planning a wedding, would you believe that one of my top concerns is how the vegetable garden is going to fare without us during our two week honeymoon?  Priorities, you know.


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