Starting Tomatoes from Seed

Tomatoes are my favorite vegetable to start from seed. Especially now that I live in New England, tomato seed sowing time signals the start of spring. I started mine a few days early because of the warm spring we've been having. I hope this means we won't have a late frosts. I guess I'm feeling lucky.

I like to sprout tomato seeds on a wet paper towel in a plastic bag or container, on the warm radiator cabinet. This isn't necessary, but I often use seeds that are many years old and I like to have an idea of my germination rate before I dedicate too much space under the lights in the basement.

Pepper seeds can also be pre-sprouted this way. I haven't had much luck getting good bell pepper crops in our short, cool summers, so this year I'm just growing "early" jalapeños.

Once I see signs of life, I move the seeds into soil blocks. I've written about my soil blocker here - I love that thing! I like making little label flags from toothpicks and mailing labels. Toothpicks don't make the blocks fall apart and can travel with the seedling as it gets moved around and potted up.

Here's my list for 2016

Carbon - black slicer
Stump of the world - red slicer
Stupice - early red
Earl of Edgecomb - orange slicer
Mrs. Schumbaugh's Famous Strawberry - pink slicer
Opalka - red paste

Sungold - for the backyard garden
Broad Ripple Yellow Currant - for backyard garden

Adelaide Festival - dwarf plant, purple/black with dark green striping for the front flower garden.

I got most of these from the Sample Seed Shop, the Sungold came from my seed swap, and the yellow currant came from the Irish Seeds Savers. (seeds make great souvenirs!)