In order to try and beat the heat, my Dad always starts his tomatoes really early. Last year was the first time he started tomatoes from seed, and it inspired Chris and me to start some of our own.
Chris got a little plant-starting greenhouse with a heating mat, and a Jump Start plant light, this past winter. He set up the peat pods and I planted the seeds this past Sunday… we had about 30% germination by Wednesday. Three days. Half the time tomatoes are supposed to take. We’re at about 80% germination now, on Friday. I am now a Heat Mat Believer!
Last year we raised a mix of different types of cherry tomatoes, and we didn’t keep track of which was where. This year, I divided into 12 plants of each of 6 types – two different sources of Grape (Botanical Interests and Johnny’s Selected Seeds), Celebrity, Arkansas Traveler, Sweet 100, and Green Zebra. If they grow like the ones last year did, we’ll have 72 tomato plants – last time around, we brought them to work with little “free to good home” signs.
This time, we’ve got more gardening friends, and I think they’ll all find homes. I’m hoping to take them to the Rainbow Garden Club meeting in April… I want to be That Queen with a huge flat of organically-raised tomato plants to share. I’ve already bought the little plantable pots and cute wooden markers.