Tomatoes sprouted — one step closer to good winter salad

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One week into my venture to grow indoor tomatoes, seeds have sprouted in all nine of my pots. The first seeds actually poked up two days ago. I had been watching the pots all week, although truthfully, I didn’t think germination would take place until closer to the end of the seven- to 10-day time frame stated on most of the seed packets. So, when I got home from work Friday, I was pleasantly surprised. About a half-dozen of the Super Sweet 100s were anywhere from a quarter-inch to about an inch tall, most with cute little green leaves that look decidedly spring-like. You should have seen the smile that erupted on my face!

As of today, germination has occurred in all nine pots. Along with the Super Sweet 100s, the Valley Greene heirloom cherries and the Cherry Falls container tomatoes lead the way in number of seeds that have germinated. But the Patio Princess hybrid and Chadwick Cherry organic pots also have sprouts in them, so I’m happy. My routine during the week was this: I put a small grow light on them from about 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. at night. For about an hour in morning before I go to work and then a couple hours at night after work, I turn on the heating blanket, too. Without the heating blanket, the temperature inside the four-shelf greenhouse usually is about 60 degrees. When I turn the blanket on, it gets up to about 75 degrees.

On Saturday, I also set up the new bigger greenhouse I purchased for my basement. It’s kind of big (6.5x6x6 feet), but I was able to make room for it and I think it will work out fine. And, it will give me a lot more room for when I have to transplant tomatoes to pails. Plus, I can continue to use the shelves from my smaller greenhouse to grow more vegetables. (And flowers to transplant outside as spring gets closer.)

The greenhouse was surprisingly easy to put up – I was able to do it entirely by myself. The direction sheet was a list of four or five steps – unfold the greenhouse base and lock poles, snap the poles into place, and voila, it was all done! I was glad I had gone with a greenhouse fabric made of “Gro-Tec” versus PVC fabric. It seems stronger and I hope, like the reviews I read while looking for a greenhouse, will last longer and be less resistant to ripping. For the greenhouse floor, I purchased enough plastic carpet runner to cover the entire area beneath it. That way, I can easily sweep up dirt and spilled plants or wipe up water. Which I’ve already had to do today, when I spilled dirt and water while planting lettuce seeds! Cleanup was a piece of cake.

I’m curious to see how the tomatoes will grow this week in their new location, mainly because it’s quite a bit cooler in my basement than in the office, where I had the four-shelf greenhouse. While lettuce likes cool weather, I know tomatoes like it warmer. And I’m not sure it’s going to get much above 65 inside the greenhouse for awhile, even with a warming blanket beneath the tomato pots. But I guess that’s better than the 56-58 degrees it is in the basement outside of the greenhouse!

I have to admit, it’s kind of a strange feeling in February – this excitement over seeing seeds sprouting – when there’s a good foot of snow on the ground outside and we’re getting freezing rain right now that’s expected to turn into snow later tonight. But that’s OK. My tomatoes are growing and there’s hope for a good-tasting salad before July. It’s been a good weekend for this booyah gardener.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. […] I purchased a small greenhouse that I set up in my basement, and planted a variety of tomato seeds. I went with all cherries […]

  2. Well done, that is so exciting, I can’t wait to start mine now!

  3. Posted by Cindy on February 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Looking good!! Wishing you luck. Mine all came up when I tried, they all keeled over once they got to be 4-5 inches tall. Stems weren’t strong enough to support plants. Keep us posted.

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