Potting Up Tomato Seedlings
I'm continuing to work on the little home nursery. I started a variety of tomato seeds on March 2nd, before COVID-19 was really on my mind. I just wanted to start some seeds with the idea of having some extras for friends and neighbors. I'm glad I planted as many seeds as I did. Now everyone wants edible plants and we are all planting Victory Gardens in our battle against the virus and our own boredom. Food security is an issue too but personally I feel that the therapeutic benefits of working in the garden and growing your own food are very important right now.
Today I transplanted some of the babies into bigger pots. I had planted several varieties of tomatoes and some of the seeds were fresher and had a higher germination rate than others. Seeds are alive and thus have limitations on how long they can be stored and still germinate. I found a packet of black cherry tomato seeds that I had saved from my own tomatoes back in 2010. I may be lackadaisical about many things but I do at least always remember to put the date on the seeds I save. In the picture above you can see that the seeds on the left, the Mallorca, had better germination or are at least more plentiful than the Brandywine on the right. Both of the seed packets were a few years old and I figured I may as well plant all of the seeds. To be fair, I think the packet of Mallorca had a lot more seeds in it to start off with. I'd been busy potting up and transplanting other varieties ahead of these and they were a bit overdue to be separated out and planted into bigger pots. The purple tinge they were starting to develop is a sign of nutrient deficiency, signaling to me that they had used up the nutrients available to them and were ready for more space and fresh soil.
Press soil down around the stem of the plant. I like to think of it as tucking the plant in. I want the soil in the container to be firm enough to hold the plant upright. Usually I hold the seedling with one hand while I sprinkle and tamp potting soil around it.
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