24K Heirloom Tomatoes & Friends


We move the seedlings to the greenhouse as soon as it is warm enough during the evenings. I don't like them to be in less than 50 degrees. So sometime in mid-April, out they go. It is time for transplanting into pots. Lots of work. We prepare the plant markers in advance. Before we started to print our fancy labels, we used white plastic markers with holes on one end. This way, the markers identify the tomatoes in the pots and they can be used again with little effort by attaching them to tomato cages or stakes so you can identify the plants all season long. But you need to use special waterproof marker pens. Many do not work, even if they say they are waterproof. The ink decomposes in the rain, UV sunlight etc. Many waterproof markers made for gardening are offered in the gardening catalogues. If you purchase our tomato plants, they come with waterproof labels with the photo of the variety and growing information.

Most importantly, make sure that your newly potted seedlings will be in constant sun or under a grow light during the day, that they are watered regularly, but not over watered, and that they will be warm enough. Tomatoes need 75 degrees during the day to grow. 85 degrees is their favorite temperature. The difference creates greatly different results. Turning your pots a quarter turn daily will assure even growth, but is not essential in a greenhouse. In your house, turning the pots is very important.

A hint or two on transplanting. Take your time. Be gentle. Put a little soil in the bottom of the 4" pot, and then place the peat pellet in the pot. While holding the seedling stem gently, place more soil around it to support it. Then fill it almost to the pot's rim, leaving a little room for water to pond on the top before it sinks in, so it doesn't run out of the pot.

You need to select the right growing medium. It isn't really dirt. It is a mixture of ingredients. There are many varieties offered, and many are expensive. You do not want wet potting soil, or bags that have holes. Wet potting soil is very unpleasant to use. It takes the joy out of planting. So be careful when you pick a bag to make sure it is light and feels fluffy. If feels wet and heavy, do not take it. Even if it is on sale. You will be sorry. You can press down on the potting soil a bit, but not hard. You want the water to be easily absorbed and compacting the soil will prevent that.

Although I have used many potting soils, I won't make a recommendation. There are too many and they usually will be ok. In this department, cheaper is not always better.

Next: When to Plant in the Garden >>>