Seedling Update #3 – Time To Transplant

The tomato seeds I planted a little over two weeks ago have grown to a point of being too tall for me to put the plastic cover over their trays at night.  If all the seedlings in these trays were as developed, I would opt to just leave the cover off, but seeing as not all the seeds have even sprouted, it is time to look at my other option – transplanting.

This afternoon after everyone was finally out of my hair and busy doing their own things, I decided to pull out my peat pots, potting soil, and plants and begin transplanting.  Trouble was, I really had no place to work.  Sure I could use the kitchen table or the corner of the dining room table that hadn’t yet been turned into a nursery for seedlings, but with every scoop I made into the bags of dirt, it seemed more dirt was ending up on the floor or carpet.  Not a pretty sight.

To make matters worse, all I kept thinking about was the potter’s bench out on the patio that I bought last summer and the fact that I wasn’t even using it.  The temperatures outside are still too cold to work outside but even if I did dress appropriately, exposing the little plants to the shock of the cold air while transplanting them would surely kill them or at the very least stunt their growth.

What to do?  What to do?

Well, seeing as Hubby wasn’t home to object, I did what every housewife determined to utilize the right tool for the job would do, I moved the potter’s bench into our great room.  Why not?  It’s not like it was dirty or anything.  Perhaps a bit weathered from the winter, but seeing as I bought the bench near the end of the summer, all I’d managed to do on/in it was to store supplies and trim the tops off some root vegetables before it was time to close it up for the season.

Grace and I carried the bench through the door wall and placed it against the windows in the great room overlooking the garden in the back of the house.  It’s perfect right where it is.  I lined the recessed work area with a plastic tarp, put a firm board across half of the bench so I’d have a work surface above the recessed area to work on, and then stocked the bench with pots, dirt, tools, seeds, gloves, water, and finally plants.

DSCF7896

It took some time to get everything set up but it was definitely nice to have everything I needed in one place and an area to work in that would confine the mess where it should be, not all over the floor, and keep me dry and warm.

Today I transplanted 17 Beefsteak tomato plants into 3″ and 5″ peat pots.  I really wanted 4″ pots, but none of the stores with garden supplies in our area had them.  They all had 3″ pots and only one had 5″ pots.  I figure I’ll see if the pot size I transplant into will make much of a difference in the long run.

Seven plants went into 5″ pots and nine went into the 3″.  All the tomatoes were planted deep in the soil, covering most of the stem and leaving only the leaves above the dirt.  The plants were at least 3″ tall, some taller.  The taller ones went into the 5″ pots.

Tomatoes in 3" Peat Pots

Tomatoes in 3″ Peat Pots

Tomatoes in 5" Peat Pots

Tomatoes in 5″ Peat Pots

It’s nice to see my seeds growing.  Of the 44 Beefsteak tomato seeds I planted (2 seeds in each of 22 pots/pellets), 18 plants have emerged.  I have no idea if this is a good percentage or not, but if all 18 tomato plants survive and bear fruit, I shouldn’t have to buy any tomatoes for canning this year. Plus, I still have Better Boy tomatoes to transplant tomorrow and have about the same number of plants there.  Now my next problem is going to be finding room in the gardens for all these plants, but then I’m sure my neighbors wouldn’t turn down a free plant or two.

Even though the weather hasn’t been very spring-like yet this March, planting seeds, getting my hands covered with dirt, and watching the seedlings sprout fills me with the hope that Spring promises, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

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3 responses

  1. I’m planting tomatoes too. Somehow they have stopped growing for more than a week now at 2″ to 3″ height. I’ve transplanted them to a trough planter box but still no progress so far. Not sure what might have gone wrong. Good luck with yours! 🙂

    • Now I’m nervous. This is my first time growing tomatoes from seed and I’ve heard lots of horror stories. When the plants started sprouting I figured things were going good, but there are so many things that can still go wrong. My biggest fear now is that tomorrow I’ll go downstairs and look at my plants and they’ll all be drooping or dead. I know that transplanting can cause some shock to any plant, so perhaps your plants are still recovering. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

      • Same here, it’s my first time too. After I transplanted them, two seedlings didn’t survive. My biggest worry now is that the rest won’t recover in time as the leaves are somewhat turning slightly yellowish. Fingers crossed.

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