I did it! I did it, I did it, I DID IT!
I started my tomato plants from seed!
Surely, I dreaded it. After such a tomato-flop last year, I didn't think I had the skills. But my frugal-side got the better of me and I just couldn't resist the temptation. $2.75 for 50 heirloom, organic tomato seeds or $5 per heirloom, organic tomato plant come spring. So I bit the bullet and ordered the seeds, knowing I still had time to purchase back-ups if the experiment failed.
I knew that in order to work towards my self-sustaining goals, I'd need to learn to not only start all my vegetables from seeds, but also to seed save as well.
Hopefully in the next few years, I will have been able to save seeds from all of our best vegetables and therefore, won't even need to worry about purchasing seeds! Exception for if I decide to grow a new variety, of course.
I was so excited when my little tomatoes start to come up – I couldn't believe they'd actually germinated!
After a few weeks under some grow lights and placed on a heating pad, the tomato starts had grown quite large. I eagerly transferred them to their new 4″ pot homes, where they will likely remain until the beginning of May, when they will be planted in the garden.
Will all this new room to grow their roots, they're likely to really take off in the next few weeks! I have also given them a shot of diluted fish emulsion, which provides the starts with lots of nitrogen. Nitrogen promotes the “green” growth of vegetables (meaning their leaves and such). Too much nitrogen later on in the growing season means that too much of the plant's energy will go into producing leaves rather than fruit, but for now, that little plant can use the extra boost.
Want to know what the best part is?
When I rub my fingers gently along the tomatoes leaves and then smell my hands, they smell of sweet, summery tomatoes. Oh, sweet, sweet summer.
Currently, I have 19 tomatoes plants. That's a lot. I better give some to my Mom. Or my friends Jess and Natali, who have proven they are far more talented at growing tomatoes than I. But I've learned my lessons. This year, the tomatoes will be placed in a hoop house for the first month, which will provide them with the extra heat boost they need to get going in our short season climate. I have also moved the tomato bed to the South-West side of the house, which receives quite a bit more sun than the South-East (due to a giant tree than blocks it…grr…).
And on a different garden note, I also took a big risk yesterday and planted all 16 kale plants in the garden. They have been inside growing strong for about a month now, and were quickly outgrowing their containers. And while kale likes to be cold and can hold up to a light frost, I still wonder – was it too soon?