Starting Tomatoes from Seeds

Naturally, I’m putting in a garden at the new homestead this year. I’ve done a bit of gardening in the past, but not really any vegetable gardening for the past 8 years. City living, you know.

Anyway, I decided to grow some heirloom tomatoes from seed this year. I got my seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Along with beans, lettuce and some other odds and ends, I ordered packets of three heirloom tomato varieties: Mortgage Lifter, Brandywine, and Cherokee Purple. I was particularly interested in Cherokee Purple as I tasted them for the first time last summer and found them stunningly delicious. We had lunch with a friend who made BLTs for us. A simple sandwich turned into a gourmet meal simply because of the addition of Cherokee Purple tomatoes.

Anyway, starting these couldn’t have been simpler. I bought a simple 18-pot tray and some organic seed starting mix at Walmart. I filled the pots, drenched them thoroughly with water, and then poked two holes with a pencil in each pot down about 1/4″ – 1/2″ or so. One seed went into each hole and then I gently covered them up, sprayed a little water on the top, and and covered the whole tray with Press-N-Seal.

The tray went onto the top of the refrigerator where I figured it’d be a little warmer. I set a thermometer in front of the tray to make sure, and regulated the daytime indoor temp so that the thermometer read 70-80 degrees. I checked on them daily, and sprayed a light mist of water on them every other day.

The seeds were planted last Sunday. I saw the first small sprout late in the afternoon on Thursday, just four days later. I waited till Friday to put them under the grow light, and by Friday there were a total of 14 little sprouts poking up. At the recommendation of Jack Spirko at The Survival Podcast, I bought a Kingbo 45-watt grow light to nurture the little sprouts on to maturity.

The video above shows something of the process, and I’ll do some further updates over the next few weeks.