Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tomato Seedling Update: Week Five

My tomato seedlings have been growing like crazy! The combination of sunlight, warmth from our patio window and overhead lighting seemed to work well. I also kept them moderately moist, letting them dry out before adding more water.  Today was time to get them moved to larger pots to help them grow more.
Plants before being moved to bigger pots. Seeing these beautiful plants helps to distract me from the cover of snow our yard received overnight last night. I thought it was spring?!

I was so pleased when I removed them from their cups to see lots of roots!

I bought medium-sized pots a couple of years ago at Canadian Tire and have been reusing them since. I give them a good wash in warm water with a splash of bleach and scrub them clean. I then make sure they get a good rinse and then they're ready to be used.  I used a combination of potting soil with added vermiculite to accompany the seedlings. When moving tomato seedlings to bigger pots, make sure to bury the stem of the plant into the soil mixture- roots will form off of the stem. Also, give them a bit of water once they're in their new homes.  It will help them settle in and help encourage the roots to grow.

Happy plant in its bigger pot
Stay tuned for more updates as things progress! I also started seeds for chocolate peppers and mini sweet peppers today.

By the way, if you're not sure which gardening zone you're in, Agriculture Canada has a great guide for Canadians. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Quick Update re: Seedlings

Today marked a milestone for the tomato seedlings I've started- they were ready to be moved from their trays to individual containers.  Seeds had sprouted into seedlings with tiny little leaves. 

The dark spot on the right leaf is just soil, I'll brush it off once it dries.
They're quite delicate at this stage so you have to be very patient and careful when transplanting them. I used the same seed starting mix and made sure their stems and roots were covered.  Stems will form roots on them if they are buried into the soil mixture- it's a great feature of growing tomatoes.  Roots get stronger and you can grow them more & more each time you transplant them.  I also applied a seaweed/water mixture (about 1/2 tsp of seaweed solution to a quart jar of lukewarm water) to water them lightly once I had them in their individual containers. Seaweed is a great natural fertilizer and will help the stems and roots to grow.

We also set up the grow lights above them to help give them the hours of direct light they need to grow tall.  Right now the lights are about 2" above the seedling- I'll move them up as the plants grow. 

In terms of success growing from seed, I had about 60% of the seeds germinate.  The toilet paper rolls didn't do as well as I had hoped- it seems like they hung onto the moisture too much so the area stayed too damp. Just layering seed in trays of soil worked the best.  I also love using my heat mats (like these)- they make seed starting very easy by providing the warmth seeds need. 

Even with one of the bulbs burned out (I need to replace it), the fluorescent light reaches all of the cups.

I love seeing the little leaves sprout after the seeds have germinated. So satisfying!


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