Good Morning Seedlings!

March 20, 2009

I sowed 56 different varieties of tomato seeds on Sunday, March 15th and the winner of this year’s “First Seed Up” prize goes to Black from Tula on Wednesday, March 18th!  Honorable mentions go to Black Krim, Purple Russian, Brandywine Cherry, Martino’s Roma and Juliet for a Thursday morning showing.

There’s a fair number of varieties that don’t have any seedlings as of yet: Goose Creek, Matt’s Wild Cherry, Pink Pink Pong, Eva Purple Ball, Evan’s Purple Pear, Brandywine Pink (Sudduth’s Strain), KBX, Zapotec Pink Pleated, Gold Medal, Break O’Day, Tommy Toe Red, Azoychka, Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye, Berkeley Tie-Dye and Cherokee Purple.  I’m hoping they come up soon or I’ll have to do another sowing.

The ones that are doing really well (100% germination rate so far) are Black Krim, Purple Russian, Jaune Flamée and Brandywine Cherry.  Woohoo!

I’ve also moved my entire grow-op into the living room upstairs.  I decided that I couldn’t be counted on to go downstairs into the basement on a regular basis to care for seedlings (out of sight = out of mind, even though this is supposed to be one of my passions!)  Here’s a shot of my 5-tier wire shelf with three pairs of shop lights on the bottom three shelves:

On the right-hand side, you can see a bit of my emergency blanket that I use to block the light at night.  I’ve rigged it up so that it attaches to the shelf with rare earth magnets that are super strong.  It’s less irritating when watching t.v.!

You can see six 72-cell trays with clear domes that are housing my tomato seedlings – I like to keep the domes on to help retain moisture and to aid in removing the seed coat if left on the seedling.  Not shown is another 72-cell tray on my heat mat.  There are also two more trays of hot peppers and cole crops such as broccoli, cauliflower and kale as well as parsley, onions and leeks.

I like having the shelf in front of the south-facing window.  In the evenings, I turn the fluorescent lights and close the curtains.  In the morning, I turn off the lights and open the curtains so the seedlings can still get sunlight throughout the day.  The shelf is on wheels and I can swing it around or move it if I need to clean underneath.

4 Responses to “Good Morning Seedlings!”

  1. Dan Says:

    You know I just checked your 2009 start dates this morning to see when you are starting your tomatoes. If I had waited I could have just read your post.

    I was going to wait until April 1st but I am taking the plunge today. I think I recall starting them around March 20th previously.

    Your seedlings are looking great, good luck with your crops!

  2. keewee Says:

    56 varieties, wow! I am impressed. I have just four varieties.

  3. deb Says:

    I started mine (only 7 varieties, which is ambitious for me) on Mar 15 and got sprouts today as well! My sweet basil and french thyme beat the tomatoes by a full day tho, winning this year’s seedling race handily.

  4. gardengoodies Says:


    I brought my shelf up from the basement too. I like being able to look at them.

    Question for you. Do your plants get light 24/7? Sunlight in the day, tube lights at night?

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