Spring arrived today! While outside planting time is still weeks away, the longer days and sunshine have me in gardening mode already. It has been warm enough to start on garden clean up out front and the bulbs are starting to poke through the ground. Spring also signals my time for starting seeds indoors.
Given last year’s rush on seeds and garden supplies, I started early this year purchasing soil and seeds and picking up curbside. The tomato plants are growing. I selected one variety for the garden and another for containers.
- I followed Karen Shea’s advice and purchased a mycorrhizal seed starter mix to help promote root growth.
- I soaked tomato seeds on some wet paper towels for 2 days before planting.
- I saved plastic planters from past seasons and reused an ice cream cake container with a clear plastic dome as an improvised mini greenhouse.
- I labeled the sides of the containers so I can tell the varieties apart.
Many seedlings sprouted in just 3 days! The greenhouse lid is now off. I will thin the seedlings when the secondary leaves are in and will fertilize them with a water-soluble solution every 2 weeks. When they are larger, I will be careful to repot the seedlings with stems under soil to promote root growth.
Last year many of my seedlings were eaten by pests after they were hardened off and planted outdoors. To avoid this, we will start saving eggshells. These will be dried and ground up and scattered around plants when they are transplanted to help keep pests at bay.
Though my oregano survived the winter, the basil did not. I have started a new crop of that using a cut off coke bottle top as a cloche. Basil is a good companion plant for tomatoes as are parsley and garlic.
I am putting aside my ice cream cake container for garden reuse. It can be used as protection when the plants are transplanted outside and I can put it away to use for seed starting again next year. For more ideas about reusing materials for garden planting, check out this great post by @LovelyGreens. Happy planting and happy spring! Fresh off the vine tomatoes will be here before you know it.