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.


Annie's Granny said...

Congratulations! On the babies and the upcoming marriage :-)

I wonder if anyone else remembers what you're talking about when you say "rear", LOL! I remember. I'll bet your peas will be just fine. I don't think the cold bothers them much, but if they got too wet they could rot in the ground.

thyme2garden said...

Thank you granny! I hope the peas survive. None of them had germinated last weekend (about a week after sowing), so either they were hunkering down due to the cold temps or they already started rotting. I'll check again this weekend to see if there's any sign of life. If I don't see anything, I might try to dig up a few to inspect their conditions.

Robin said...

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!! I understand your concern over the garden while you are away on your honeymoon. We have a lady who stays at our house when we go away to tend the garden and the cats :)

I planted my peas on the 22 and with this crazy weather I have had no signs of growth either. Hopefully the weather will settle into spring soon.

Alison said...

Your peas might be ok. I direct sowed mine in late January and they sat there in the cold soil for a while, and finally germinated about 2 weeks ago. They're still small, but seem healthy. Actually, about 3/4 of them germinated. But that's not a lot less than last year, when I sowed them in March. We've had a lot of rain since then. Are they in raised beds? Mine are, and they have good drainage.

Linda said...

Congrats!! :)

Dan Owen said...

I'll bet there are some gardeners in your area that would just love to take some of those tomatoes off your hands. I'd hate to see them thrown out. Also, congrats on getting married.

Tiny Gardener said...

Congratulations on the wedding! I remember when we got married and I was absolutely paranoid about the garden, and the only thing that ended up kickin the bucket was my basil. But I have never had a ton of luck with basil...

I also planted my peas on St Patricks Day, and last night we got snow... Like a lot of snow... I am anxious to see how they fair... If they do die, they are only $1 per packet at Home Depot, so I will just have to replant...

Also, great on the tomatoes! That's wonderful that they all sprouted! I too have too many plants, but that just means my neighbors love me for giving away my extra plants :)

Mr. H. said...

Congratulations on your exciting. We have lots of leaning towards the light tomatoes too, never enough room for everything.:)

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~ Finnish Proverb

Keith said...

I think "build" is too strong of a word for that lighting setup. I think "temporarily rig up" would be a lot more accurate!

And thanks to everyone for the well wishes. Looking forward to a new year of "learning opportunities" in the garden. :)


Nartaya said...

Congratulation on you upcoming wedding. May is a marvelous month to get married =)

Hope the peas make an appearance soon, but they are certainly worth waiting for!

thyme2garden said...

Thank you everyone!

Robin - hope our peas are still alive under the soil, and just waiting for the right temps to make their appearance.

Alison - your pea story is definitely comforting to me! Yes, they are in raised beds. We built new 10 inch deep beds at the end of last fall, and I'm really hoping that everything (including the peas) grow better this year.

Linda - thanks!

Dan Owen - If I have extra tomato seedlings, I will definitely try to share with local gardeners. I really can't imagine throwing away perfectly transplant-ready seedlings!

Tiny Gardner - Oh I wish I could share some of my basil wealth/luck with you. Last year they grew like weeds in my garden.

Mr. H. - I know what you mean about not having enough room for everything!

Keith - awww, you're too modest. :)

Nartaya - I've seen how they can grow in my mom's garden. I'm hoping to duplicate the success in the Indiana garden!

Vic said...

Congrats on your upcoming wedding!

Jeana said...

Congrats on getting married! All your seedlings look great.

Anna said...

Minji, I am so excited for you and Keith on your up coming wedding. Congrats over and over again. :)

Anna said...

Minji, I am so excited for you and Keith on your upcoming wedding. Congrats over and over again. :)

KatieLovesDogs said...

Congratulations on the engagement!

As for the peas, they will germinate when the ground temperature stays warmer than 50 degrees. Since we've had a cold snap the last couple of weeks and it's getting warmer this week, you should see some sprouts in the next week or so.

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