Monday, June 04, 2018

First four tomatoes planted

Last year I never got around to planting any tomatoes. Instead I bought them from a local farmstand - at a cost of $1 apiece. After a few meals of fried green tomatoes, I realized I was spending a hell of a lot on tomatoes. I resolved to start them from seed again in 2018, as I did in 2016.

I started my first seeds in peat pots on Saturday, March 10, in between watching Scranton's St. Patrick's Day Parade, taking photos of Peaches on a widowsill, repairing the molding on the front door, and watching The Fifth Element. I was somewhat ambitious, starting about a dozen peat pots with three different varieties of tomatoes - Roma plum tomatoes (good for making sauce,) a couple of Better Boy seeds left over from 2016, and Early Boys. This turned out to be a series of not-very-great ideas: about half of the peat pots produced nothing at all, and I quickly lost track of which seeds were where. I may also have started the seeds several weeks too early. It didn't help when Spring suddenly turned from cold to hot, and several of the seedlings (and several of the second group of seedlings, which I started in mid-April) fried and died on the east-facing windowsill.

Through all that, several seedlings survived. I transplanted these into larger containers and moved them into a sheltered spot on the front porch in mid-May to harden off. This Saturday, I moved the largest four into what I have dubbed the Weed Patch garden. (Three more seedlings will be ready to transplant elsewhere after they've gotten a little bigger.)

The tallest of the four, about ten to twelve inches tall.

I mulched the transplanted seedlings with straw that I purchased during a cold snap this Winter to provide protective insulation for the semi-feral cats that live in our back yard. (They made it through just fine.) The seedlings experienced some transplant shock, as is normal, but after a deep, targeted watering aimed at the roots they have all perked up.

June 4, two days after being transplanted. Plants are roughly eighteen inches apart.

Next I need to get the tallest stakes I can find and start tying these up. In about two months I guess we'll find out what kind of tomatoes survived!

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