Seed Sense #6

originally published April 13

6/7 weeks BLF! What are you starting this week? Tomatoes!!

I’ve heard from many of you that you have already started your tomatoes and that is awesome!

I just seeded mine yesterday. Yes on Easter! What else is one to do during a pandemic and a raining dreary day but think of mouth watering juicy tomatoes? So once again I lost all control and planted 13 varieties. See the photos from my last year’s bounty!

Every year I tinkered with start times of tomato seeds when growing for the Master Gardeners. Trying to get them large enough for the sale or not too tall and spindly is always a challenge which ends with just being at the mercy of weather
Tomatoes, like peppers and Basil prefer heat and will not grow without it. So if it wasn’t sunny out, the greenhouse did not stay warm enough. Tomatoes need the soil to be 70 – 75 degrees and respond best to warmer air temps.
This year I am following author and garden blogger, Margaret Roach’s advice and not starting them till 6 weeks BLF date.

I also started, Dill, Parsley, Calendula, Cosmos and Nasturtium. Parsley, Calendula and Cosmos will tolerate a bit of frost so they can be placed outside earlier then most annual herbs and flowers. The Nasturtium just take a bit longer to germinate and grow. As does the Parsley. Cosmos likes light to germinate so the seed was pressed into the soilless medium and not covered. Nasturtium and Calendula and Parsley like it dark so the seeds were sunk into the soil. If the Parsley takes longer then 10 days, I will cover it’s cells with black plastic in case it wasn’t dark enough.

I could have started Zinnia too, but I only have so much room and Zinnia’s do not do well in cooler temperatures. Waiting to start them later will not affect their growth and blooming ability when transplanted. They are unforgiving though, if you start them too early and don’t transplant to larger pots once a second set of leaves are formed.

My outside seeding has come to a temporary halt. The Peas and Spinach I planted still have not germinated. The soil temps must still be too cold for them. 50 degrees breaks dormancy and our cooler evening temps are not keeping the soil warm enough.