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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for Tomatoes

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter R and the category of Informational

Well the obvious choice for this one would be remodeling but I’m not going to go there. 
So the next best thing (and the only thing I can currently think of because it is something I have to do today) is…


Specifically vegetables and even more specific, tomatoes.

I start my tomatoes from seed, in my mini greenhouse, long before the iciness of winter and early spring have departed. 

I want to give them a great head start on the growing season.  Why?
Well about the time the tomatoes are in full swing and picking time is near it is September.  Around September my mind, and body, are pre-occupied with the upcoming fall activities and let’s face it gardening is getting old by then.

Tomatoes are my prime workhorse in the garden.  I make so many things from them.  Tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, hot sauce, BBQ sauce and salsa to name the big ones.  I want to get them up and growing so I have a head start on my preserving process.  Not to mention who doesn’t love those fresh sliced tomatoes with supper?

Back to the point of the post.  The tomatoes outgrow their original 6-pack plastic flat containers rather quickly.  They need to be transplanted to larger containers for optimal growth.  I like to re-pot them in solo cups.  Why?

Tomatoes grow roots from their stems.  By now my tomatoes are long and getting leggy because they have been stretching for the artificial sunlight I provide.  If I remove them from the little flat they have been growing in and bury them deep into a solo cup they will begin to root from the stem. 

I pinch off the first set of leaves they grow, called seedling leaves and bury them right up to their first set of regular leaves.  The regular leaves have the classic tomato leaf shape unlike the seedling leaves which are rounded and smooth.

Now they will spend the next month growing again in the new cup.  When I transplant them in the garden they have a lot more root growth, are sturdier and have a great head start on the growing season. 

With the already deeper root set they are stronger and have a head start on setting new roots into the soil and heading deep into the ground for water and nutrients which in the end means less water during the growing season.


  1. I have a small stand up garden where I will plant tomatoes. Unfortunately, I cannot eat them because I have GERD, but will share. I plant a few herbs, especially basil. Having a raised bed helps by keeping the rabbits from munching. Great directions for starting from scratch. Thank you!

  2. I always buy the plants. I don't seem to get enough light or heat to get my plants to grow well. I need to get some grow lamps. Unfortunately that will have to wait. My dad grows everything from seed and starts them in the front room where there is a lot of sun coming in.

  3. If I ever grow tomatoes, I'll know what to do. Didn't know they would rot if you just planted them in the garden.

  4. We have ours out in the garden already. But just out of curiosity, why do you not start them in the solo cups?

    1. Because they would still get leggy and then I would have to transplant them in milk jugs. LOL


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