Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Seedlings: Day 27

I don't know about you, but the wind this week drove me a little bit nuts. Is it too much to ask to have a few weeks of perfect days? Seriously? All I'm asking for are light breezes, lots of sunshine, and mild temperatures for the next, oh, six months or so. Anybody? Please?

Anyway, I figured it was time for a seedling update. The seedlings are now spending all day outside in trays, then coming inside at night. I'm watering them lightly every morning, and I feel like I spend an inordinate amount of time running them back and forth. A few days ago, I stepped up their pots from the little 1.5-inch Jiffy pots to larger 4-inch Jiffy pots—this will be their last step up until they get planted for good. Technically, it's not a great idea to step up plants too many times—it's always a little shocking, and the roots have to grow through the Jiffy pots, which means more work for them. To make it easier on the new roots, I tear the bottoms off the Jiffy pots when I transplant, and in general, I find the rewards of this last step-up are worth the trouble.

When I transplanted the little seedlings, I countersunk the plants to give them extra strength. This is one of the great things about tomato plants—they will root from anywhere along the stem. So when you transplant tomatoes, it's always a good idea to bury part of the plant's stem under the soil. New roots will emerge from the buried portion and result in a stronger plant all around.

I'm still feeding them every third day or so with diluted fish emulsion, which in my house means they are NOT allowed inside until the fertilizer is completely soaked up and doesn't stink anymore. I've tried to blame the noxious odor of pulverized, soupy fish guts on anything else I can think of, but my wife ... she's not having it.

As you can see, I've had to stake up the seedlings, thanks to this gentle 20-mile-an-hour breeze that's been pummeling them lately. But on the bright side, much of the weakness that was freaking me out a week ago is gone—they are strong and healthy and growing fast, and I'm thinking in two weeks, maybe three, I get to have the Great Planting Weekend.

How are your seedlings coming along?

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