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Friday, March 27, 2009

Starting Seeds

It's been a couple weeks now and my baby 'maters are doing rather well. Start a few seeds indoors every year to help get me warmed up for the upcoming garden season.

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One advantage to starting your own seeds is that it allows for a much larger selection to choose from. This year I'm growing two varieties that I ordered from Burpee - 'Sweet Seedless' and 'Big Mama Paste'. I'm especially interested in the 'Sweet Seedless' variety. Their a new Burpee exclusive this year and Burpee claims there're the "Worlds first 'Sweet Seedless' Tomato".  There was a recent article in our local paper about his new tomato. If interested, you can read more about it from the link below:

"No Matter how you Slice it"

My indoor setup is nothing to elaborate. I start out with a couple seedling trays, organic seed starting potting mix, and a seed heat mat. Once the seedlings begin to sprout I begin to ween them off the heat mat and turn on the lights. The light I provide them is the normal 40w florescent shop tubes (2). I keep the lights very close to the young plants. This is where a lot of people make the mistake of placing the plants to far from the light source. One to two inches is where I place mine and I leave the light on just about all the time. A few other tips I've learned:

- Fluorescent lights tend to give off more light in the center of the bulb. So try to keep them as close to the center of the tube as possible.

- Fluorescent lights dim over time and should be replaced every few years. A good indication of when to change out is when dark rings begin to appear on the ends of the tubes.

- Keep them clean and as dust free as possible.

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I have found that my seedlings still get a little leggy in the beginning but seem to toughen up once I repot them and begin putting them outside to harden off.

A great book that I would recommend to anyone wanting to start their own tomato seeds is by author Mike McGrath, titled "You bet your tomatoes!".

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 Mike McGrath tells it like it is in this little book. He keeps it simple, fun and provides tons of information from start to finish. While this book explains the details of starting tomato seeds, it provides information that can be used when starting just about any type of seeds indoors.

 

9 comments:

Ginger said...

Wow, this is very thorough and helpful! Wish I had it a month ago -- I will bookmark it for next year! Thanks for sharing.

Chandramouli S said...

Great tips, Alan. I'm planning to grow tomatoes this year too. First time! So, am nervous about it.

Kallen305 said...

I am impressed you have the patience to start it from seed. I bet they are going to be delicious. Even more so knowing how much you took care of them.

Darla said...

I have four tomato plants up from seed. I only planted 6, first year with maters from seeds. I potted them up an put them on the back porch and they sprouted along with several types of peppers. Yours look freat!!

Dave said...

They look good. I bet you can't wait to taste those home grown tomatoes!

Janet said...

I know where I am coming for some homegrown 'maters!

dAwN said...

Howdee Alan,
Good luck with your tomatoes...the sprouts look pretty good.
My own garden is one thing I miss about Rving..I always seem to be able to get my fingers dirty..in familys gardens when visiting.

Machelle said...

They are looking good! I will have to check out that book.
This was my first year starting tomatoes from seed, and I will have to say I am really proud of myself. They haven't died! LOL

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

Why don't you try the time-lapse feature of your Birdcam on your seedlings? Betcha it would be cool!