You know these pictures. You know this garden.
This time, I went to find out what the damn secret was about growing tomatoes from seeds.
Like I said before, I totally blow at getting tomato seedlings successfully from house to garden. I can grow the seedlings in the house. I can grow seedlings from the nursery in the garden. But for whatever reason, I have never been able to grow tomato seedlings that *I* have grown from seed in the house into big strapping 50 lbs of fruit per plant plants in the garden.
Which - ANNOYING.
This time though, I'm determined.
At the class, which I found to be mostly a review since it mainly focused on how to choose and sow tomato seeds, I did learn a few words of wisdom that I'm taking 100% to heart with regard to how to get these plants to go from indoors to outdoors without dying a tragic OH MY GOD WE'RE OUTSIDE NOW WHAT death.
1. Don't just grow them inside
I guess I should have known that it didn't make sense to be all, "Hey, little nubile plant that's never seen the outside light of day in its 6 week long life - SPEND THE WHOLE DAY outside and then let me know what you think." But you know that's exactly what I always did. Then I sat around wondering why they didn't live.
So, the deal here is that as soon as these guys germinate, they should start getting some outside time. Not a ton, but definitely some.
|Oh good! You're alive. OUTSIDE WITH YOU.|
2. Wind is your friend
So, the other way in which I've always gone horribly wrong with tomato seedlings was to let them grow all tall and spindly in a draft-free area of our dining room so that their weak stems weren't disturbed by gusts of wind from the dog's butt or whatever.
But that's the problem (not the dog's butt thing) - they need to get used to breezes when they're little so that their stems will HARDEN up and be sturdy when they're outside in the elements and nature and such.
Oh. Makes sense.
This means that when they're in the house, whether under grow lights or in the sunny window that I don't have, they should have a fan pointed at them (oscillating is probably best here, and don't be turning on one of those warehouse fans and blasting the crap out of them) so that they can pretend that they're 80s music video sluts AND so that their stems will be big and strong for the future outdoor winds they're sure to see.
3. They need sunlight ON THEM. Like RIGHT ON THEM.
I've learned and finally embraced the fact that I don't really have a good sunny window in which to grow seedlings. But I've only just realized why my "sunny" windowsill has been such a failure. It's because the short moments of direct sunlight that would come through that window was still very high and didn't rest right on the leaves of these forming plants.
And seedlings need the light RIGHT ON THEM so that they don't grow all tall and spindly reaching for the light.
|RIGHT ON THEM. (This was at the farm)|
So, now I have a grow light RIGHT ON THEM. Like, almost on their leaves. And since florescent bulbs don't get hot, they don't burn or anything.
Anyway, I think that's what I learned from class. Which is lovely. And I had access to LAF's fabulous tomato seed bank which I used to seed a flat of 48 varieties of tomatoes which is now germinating happily on the bar in the dining room and spending its days outside because HELLO it was 75 degrees today.
|They preferred the ski bench, but of course.|
And, because I'm a garden dork, I pinned the whole seed bank so that I could choose the varieties I wanted to sow based on the pretty pictures and also so that later I could go back and grow EVERY.SINGLE.VARIETY.SOMEDAY. Check it out at tomatabase.com. And, yes, I meant to type "tomatAbase" because it's like "datAbase", except for tomatoes.
You get it. You smart bastards.
|One day outside and they're all LOOK AT ME. Sluts.|