The second set of leaves have formed on the tomato seedlings so it was time to upgrade the size of the homes for these cuties.
The 4 inch pots are just barely able to fit into my single width trays. But the twelve plants still fit onto the ledge of the sunniest window of the house so all they need to survive at this point is water every other day and a good story from me (yes I talk to my seedlings, trees, cows, cats, dogs and the eagles as they soar overhead).
The next upgrade will mean moving the plants out of the house proper and out into the garage where they will be moved inside and outside as weather dictates. My little garden cart that I like to use has become the kindling cart for the last two months after retiring from the garden in the fall. I may need to get another cart…
The tomato seeds that were started are starting to pop with their second set of leaves. It is time to transplant from their bedding tray to 4 inch pots.
I could go to the local plant nursery to get tomato plants for the garden, but these little beauties are a labor of love. I swear that the sweet cherry tomatoes that these plants will eventually produce are well worth all the wintertime coaxing and pampering along the southwest windowsills.
If I want to see any delicious tomatoes this summer, it is now time to start thinking about getting the seeds germinated. I go goofy over those cherry tomatoes, fresh from the plant, dried in the dehydrator, frozen on cookie sheets, mixed into pasta dishes and winter stews, I just can’t seem to get enough of them. Except for last year, I was over-exuberant with the number of plants. I had seeds germinating in several trays, kept giving away plants in 4 inch and later, gallon pots and still planted two rows of tomatoes in tires totaling more than two dozen plants. Continue reading
It is hard to imagine it from the blistering weeks we experienced through August that any day we could have the first frost nip back the garden, but here on the farm we have had frost as early as the first week of September.
Watching the calendar and the thermometer as the days come and go help keep me on track to harvest, dry and freeze all the summer goodness that comes from the garden. We have made it past halfway in the month and have had no close calls with frost yet and the garden is still busy producing squash, beans and loads of tomatoes.
Since the weather has cooled a bit, I have also been sneaking out to the blackberry row on cool mornings and evenings to get my share of the crop that I couldn’t get close to while the bees took over the sweet berries during the warm weather.
Last year the tomato crop came early, I had my first ripe one on July 4th. This year, it has been quite a bit slower to bring the fruit. I start the plants from seed in January each year and the plants seemed to struggle to get any growth several months.
Finally I can see some of the fruit starting to turn color, not quite red yet, but I am confident that by August 1st we will be eating delicious tomatoes.
My sad little tomato seedlings sit on the window sill as the snow flies.
Last week I had planned to set the seedlings into larger pots but the cool weather slowed their vigorous growth. I have not been able to set them outside since the temps have been hovering near or below freezing for nearly a week now.
The unusual storm has had snow on the ground for longer than most Februarys around here. Typically a dusting would be gone by 10am. and this current snow barely begins to melt before the next round of storms dumps yet another layer.
The sad little tomatoes need to hold their own for a little while longer until the sun decides to spend more time warming the landscape before the transplanting will happen.
The mild week of weather has me watching the outside temperature closely. Every time we get above 50 degrees, I move the little tomato seedlings (now an inch tall) from inside the garage to outside in the fresh air. Right now, the move is as simple as setting one tray from inside the window sill to setting it on the picnic bench on the porch to drink in the sun while being protected from swirling breezes or showers. Continue reading