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My method for growing tomatoes from seed

Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in gardening, tomatoes galore | 0 comments

Even after all these years in the garden I am awestruck that a tiny seed, not even ¼ inch long, can not only grow into an eight foot tall plant, but also provide us with something so incredibly delicious and healthy to eat!

Growing anything from seed is a magical experience. Growing tomatoes from seed provides the magic and allows you to grow some special varieties that you won’t find at most nurseries or seedling sales (there’s no way they can have them all)!

To start tomatoes from seed you need to have seeds, growing medium, light, a warm place for the seeds to grow, water and some plastic bags.

The growing medium for seed should not be garden soil or potting soil. Don’t use anything that has fertilizer in it. I use a mixture of equal parts peat, perlite and vermiculite. These ingredients are all easily found at the local nursery.

The growing medium needs to be kept consistently warm, about 85 degrees. It needs to remain moist but not soggy. Once I plant the seeds ¼ inch into the medium I cover the seedling trays loosely with plastic but do not tie or close the bags. They should not be airtight.

When the seedlings emerge I introduce light. Keep the light about 4 inches from the tiny leaves. Fertilizing begins when the second set of leaves, called true leaves appear. In about 30 days the seedlings will be ready to moved to larger containers.

Before planting outdoors you want to harden off the seedlings, exposing them to increasing amounts of sun and wind.

Seedlings can be transplanted into the ground once the soil temperature is consistently about 55 degrees and daytime air temperatures remain between 70 – 75 degrees.

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Growing Tomatoes From Seeds

Posted by on Feb 12, 2013 in gardening, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Start your tomato seeds now – It’s almost time to start planting!

And, so,  it begins…

Typically in the San Fernando Valley we will plant tomatoes outside around the end of March or beginning of April. Counting back 6 – 8 weeks from that target date is, well, now! That means it’s time to start tomato seeds and nurture them  indoors until nighttime temperatures are consistently in the mid-fifties and the seedlings  are strong enough to be planted in the ground.

 

Tomato seeds

Last weekend I started 18 varieties of tomatoes from seed.  That’s just the beginning.  I’ll start more seed but I also will allow plenty of room in the garden for tomatoes that I buy at seedling sales.  Going to the sales and searching for new varieties that I haven’t yet tried is one of my greatest pleasures and I’ll never stop doing that!

We had a lovely afternoon on Sunday and I took full advantage by doing my seed work out in the garden.  Frankly, the mess is easier to clean there so, if you can be outside or in a greenhouse to get your seed started, all the better.

I began with a huge plastic tub full of the ingredients that go in my seed starting medium.  I like the plastic tub because it’s easy to move, easy to add water to and the high sides contain my potential spills.   If you’re really doing a lot, you might find mixing the medium in a wheelbarrow very convenient.

Seed mix

Into the tub went equal parts organic peat moss, organic vermiculite and organic perlite.  When mixed together the combination will provide a light medium that will retain enough moisture to encourage germination  without drowning or rotting the tiny seeds.

Guacamole and Seed Starting 014

Using my hands,  I lightly lifted and tossed the ingredients to combine.

 

Then,  I gently added water and mixed again. You want the medium to be moist when you add the seed.

Adding water to seed mix

Next,  I took my containers  (I like little pulp pots) and scooped some of the growing medium into them.. I gently pat it down without compacting and then added more to fill each cell to the top.

Guacamole and Seed Starting 017

Using the end of a pencil, I made three holes in each cell.  The holes were about 1/4 inch deep.  I dropped one seed into each hole and then carefully covered them up with the potting mixture that was displaced when I made the holes.

Planting tomato seeds

I immediately added markers to each tray of seeds so I would know what I was growing.  Seems like a no-brainer,  but even though I do this right away I  somehow always end up with one mystery plant! I included the name of the tomato and my start date on the marker.

Using a spray bottle filled with room temperature water,  I moistened the growing mixture, taking care to spray each cell.  The growing medium should be  moist but not wet.  To help retain moisture,  I then put the trays into ziploc bags.  The bags are left open so air can circulate.  Guacamole and Seed Starting 022

My grow lights are set up (but not turned on until the little plants begin to appear) and heat mats are turned on.  I’ve put the bags with the seedling trays on top of the mats as seeds need heat to germinate. Now,  I’ll give a light spray of water each day and watch and wait.

See how easy it is?  Now, go get set up to start your seeds. And, check back often.  I’ll keep you updated on the progress of my seeds and the next steps of this seedling adventure.

Tomato seedlings

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Gardener’s Holiday Wish List Day 8 – 2013 Tomato Growing Guide Calendar

Posted by on Dec 14, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

My favorite holiday gift for every tomato lover!

This may be really obvious…but I’m suggesting the 2013 Tomato Growing Guide Calendar as the perfect holiday gift for tomato lovers because it is just that! 

Tomato Growing Guide and Calendar

Created just for tomato lovers, the 2013 Tomato Growing Guide Calendar serves two really important functions.  Yes, it is a monthly calendar for the new year and there is plenty of space on each date to note events and appointments.

Calendar Pages InsideIn addition, each page of the year includes a beautiful picture – all are photos taken by me in my garden.  Every month also has details about what to do in your tomato garden and it’s coded for different growing regions across the country. There are 17 years worth of tips and suggestions that I share from my tomato growing experience. With ample room to jot down notes it also becomes a helpful record keeper.  This is most definitely a helpful tool for everyone growing tomatoes.

The 2013 Tomato Growing Guide Calendar hits home with tomato growers and people who simply love to enjoy eating tomatoes. The recipes included are easy to prepare and delicious. Whether you grow tomatoes and need the gentle reminders about tomato care or have fond memories of hand-picking vine ripened tomatoes in your Grandfather’s garden this is a gift that’s sure to please.

Tomato Growing Guide Calendars are shipped via US Mail unless you have some special delivery needs (we aim to please). 

To order, click here!

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2013 Tomato Growing Guide Calendar Now Available!

Posted by on Sep 28, 2012 in News and Events, Uncategorized | 0 comments

We’ve gone live ahead of schedule and we’re ready to fill your orders for 2013 Tomato Growing Guide~Calendars placed on Amazon!

Order yours today!
2013 Tomato Growing Guide~Calendar!
Order your 2013 Tomato Growing Guide~Calendar Here

It’s time to purchase your 2013 Tomato Growing Guide and Calendar, your customized guide to growing delicious tomatoes anywhere in the country! We’re kicking off calendar sales on Amazon with a really great deal for you!

 

 Remember those Mighty ‘Matos, the grafted tomato plants I’ve been raving about? To thank you for ordering  your calendar before October 15  we’re going to send  you the Coupon Code to save $10 on your order of Mighty ‘Matos from GardenLife.  Start growing earlier, extend your growing season, enjoy disease resistant tomato plants and harvest more tomatoes than ever!
 
Are You in Los Angeles??
If you’re in the L.A.  area on Monday come celebrate the Amazon launch with us!  
Join us at the hottest new restaurant in Studio City,  Pizza Rev, and sample some of their custom made pizza with homemade dough,  a selection of sauces, incredibly fresh ingredients on a thin, crispy crust!  We’ll give away free tomato recipes and have an all around good time!
Monday, October 1
6 -8 pm
Pizza Rev
12103 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City

Not in the area?? Share the invitation with your tomato loving friends that are!
All tomato lovers are welcome!
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