Yesterday the boys and I cheered upon discovering that our tomato seedlings had started poking through the potting soil. They’re heirloom seeds, collected from the drippings of some particularly sweet, juicy tomatoes our neighbor shared with us last year.
I simply poured the extra liquid off the plate that held the tomato slices and allowed the remaining seeds to dry right there. After I had done so, I came across some rather involved directions about soaking and washing and drying heirloom tomato seeds prior to storing them for the winter. My seeds were already safely sealed in an envelope, labeled and waiting for spring, but then I wondered then whether they’d grow or not.
I’d only know if I gave them a chance.
Just over a week ago, we filled some disposable cups with fresh soilless potting mix and put three to four seeds in each cup, and covered them with more potting mix. Actually, I did all the work in the laundry room, out of reach of “helping” hands. Perhaps it was not as much of a learning experience for them, but gave several opportunities to see the planting in progress. (In the tension between “learning by doing” and mess prevention, learning often prevails, but I do have my lazy moments.) Their chance to play in the dirt will come – when it can be done outdoors.
Now the goal is to keep these tomato plants alive indoors for five more weeks. Last year, I failed miserably. Old potting soil and/or over-watering left me with no seedlings that made it as far as the garden. This year I’m thinking about providing some supplemental lighting to prevent them from becoming too spindly.
Any other advice for ensuring our seedlings thrive?