Starting seeds indoors can be very rewarding. However, it is a bit of a painstaking process. I like getting a jump on the Spring season, and watching the seeds sprout is rather gratifying. In all honesty, I remain a total sucker for transplants, and if I come across a really healthy tomato or pepper plant, already bearing fruit, it will be mine. That’s just how it is.
This time around, I decided to really make a go of starting seeds. I ordered lots of heirloom tomato seeds early, and bought some seed starting trays. Rather than mixing my own potting mix this time, I purchased a prepared seed mix from Shoal Creek Nursery. It isn’t organic, but contains nothing that I’m concerned about for this project. I also bought proper markers, which is my great failing from season to season – I never make lasting markers to know what I have.
This seed tray lived in my kitchen, on a heat map, under a light that I hung from my cabinet pulls. After a week, 98 % of the seeds had come up. I do love checking their progress every morning.
As the seedlings grew, they starting getting leggy, so I put a box under them to raise them closer to the light.
Once the seedlings started putting on their second set of leaves, they were getting pretty leggy, so I decided to transplant them into four inch pots a couple weeks sooner than I otherwise would have. I planted each seedling in its own 4 inch pot, and planted them deeply, so that an inch or less is above the surface. This will strengthen them.
Since I got rid of my broken down greenhouse, I’m currently letting the seedlings spend the warm sunny days outside, and if it is to get cooler than 45, I’m bringing them into the garage. This is a bit of tough love, in the hopes that having to endure some temperature swings so early, will harden them off, and perhaps prepare them for some early heat. They would undergo another transfer to even larger pots and live in the Greenhouse until very late February/early March, if I still had it. I’m hoping to get these into the raised garden in another 2-3 weeks. I’ll start spraying them with a bit of diluted John’s Recipe this weekend.
Once these tomato babies were moved outside, I planted several varieties of peppers in the seed trays in the kitchen. Peppers are notoriously more difficult to germinate, so we’ll see. Methodically poking seeds into tiny holes, is good stress relief, either way.