Since the weather will not cooperate, I filled my milk jugs on the dining room table tonight! Then I made this chart- I have divided the jugs in half since I will plant just 6 of each seeds. I am growing 12 Tomato varieties, nearly all Determinates, as shown on my drawing. I hope to get the seeds in soon, and will also do a few inside under lights for comparing. I just get tired of fighting gnats, aphids, and all the other problems that come with indoor seed starting,that's why I hope my WS will work.
JoParrott wrote:I just get tired of fighting gnats, aphids, and all the other problems that come with indoor seed starting...
I've started seeds indoors lots of times, and never have had gnats, aphids or any real problems of note, except to plug and unplug the fluorescents morning and evening. Reminds me, I need to get a power strip...
What's going on with your weather that prevents you from WSing outside?
Gymgirl- we have had a real nasty winter. DEEP snow before Thanksgiving, followed by close to zero temps that froze my 3 bags of potting mix I had bought to WS. One thing after another, that has kept me from doing the prep. Finally last week I brought it all indoors and got started! The containers are all filled and moistened, the markers are ready- now to do the sowing.
Good luck with your WS-ing. I generally WS some jugs of tomato seeds AND start some tomato seeds insurance under lights--as insurance for both methods
;-) As others have said, by the first week of June when I put them out into the garden, the WS tomato seedlings are smaller than the under-lights varieties but they soon grow and produce at the same time as the other seedlings. And they don't need any hardening-off. Two years ago I was trying to harden-off the seedlings grown under lights, and I mistakenly set them in a windy area. They all got serious wind-burn and didn't survive, whereas the WS seedlings were just fine.
But I don't start my tomato seedlings until March at the soonest because we have a long cool spring here and the ground isn't warm enough to set them out until the first week of June.
Oh, man! I like your drawings and plans, Jo. I'm getting ready to start my tomatoes, too. WS has been very successful for them in the past. I'll also ws my peppers, onions, and lettuces. I find that the peppers take a while, but will come up whenever the weather turns to their liking. All were very hardy last year. I don't use any other method for them anymore. No time to coddle plants in the house!
I use MS Word's "Tables" to create checerboards that look like trays of cells.
Often I will plant several adjacent rows with all one variety, and "merge cells" in that row.
For other people as new to indoor starting as I am, I'll repeat some advice that I always regret ignoring: In any one tray, plant all seeds that take the same length of time to germinate, and have the same warm/cool soil requriements.
I always forget that, and have to cut some rows of cells out of the middle of a tray, so I can move or pot up one big, fast variety that is surrounded by tiny seedlings not yet ready to move.
Does anyone know a way to pop a seedling with its rootball out of a cell without turning the whole tray upside down?
I'm going to go hunt for flourescent fixtures at a local Habitat for Humanity outlet!
Bent one inner tine down and then back forward, so it is below the other two tines, formeing a triangle. This makes it easier to dig out of a corner.
This way, two outer tines surround the seedling, and the inner tine scoops under it, but not as far, so it doesn't poke the root.
But, if the root ball is at all advanced, this still pokes three holes into the root ball.
And if the root is just a thread, the ball falls apart and the seedling falls through the tines.
(Did I mention I'm clumsy?)
I often think that I should "pot up" sooner than I used to - like even before the roots reach the edges of the cell.
I have little idea how big a cell I should use for each type of plant. The "72-per-tray" seem like a reasonable compromise, but I like the "50-tray circular" becuase it has more soil per cell. The 32 or 48 trays look more the right size in LxW, but then seem too shallow.
Sometimes I'll use the 128-cell (8x16) or the 98-cell tray (7x14 cells) because I can start far more seeds, and I'm more willing to plant just 1-2 seeds per cell and risk empty cells.
Glad I visited this thread... as I am pondering about tomatoes... I have successfully wintersown many things but for some reason tomatoes confuse me, so the comments above, about the quality of the plants tho perhaps smaller than indoor sown ones to start, are reassuring.
I don't have the greatest location for indoor seed starting this year and am not going to purchase any lights or equipment... so I will most likely WS all my toms and maybe sow some window-sill seeds of each just as back up... Good point about hardening off, though! WS means you don't have to, I had forgotten that bit. ;)