Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Seed Sowing

After last year's disastrous tomato growing experience (got NO ripe tomatoes, and those that were brought inside to ripen all had blight), I decided to start my tomatoes early, so I can set them out early under walls-o-water with red plastic mulch. I also have chosen lost of cold-hardy types that will hopefully set and ripen good-tasting fruit without a lot of heat. I might even try setting up a grow tunnel over one of the raised beds in the veggie garden, so I can capture as much warmth as possible. I didn't think of all these ideas myself, I read about them at the blog The Modern Victory Garden. If you're in the Pacific Northwest and trying to grow vegetables, it's got lots of great info.

It may be overkill, but a fresh tomato from the garden is worth it.

I'm starting a lot of my tomato seeds in a Sterilite container fitted with a rope light across the bottom (much cheaper than heat mats, and not hard to build). I first read about this cool use of rope lights here. I also have been following Our Engineered Garden, where EG has made and posted about all sorts of wonderful home-made devices for seed starting. He also makes his own self-watering containers. I decided to add a grow light over the top of mine this year, because putting the starts in a South-facing window really isn't enough.

Ta da!

The tomato seeds have only been in there for three days, and they are already sprouting!
I've also direct-sowed more flower seeds out in the beds under cloches made from plastic milk jugs. It looks ugly (and hopefully my neighbors won't complain). I've sown Liatris, Echinacea 'Bravado', Geum trifolum (Prairie Smoke) and Erigeron speciosus (Fleabane).

Boring list of tomato seeds that I've sown so far:
Sweet Million
Kellogg's Breakfast
Sugar Sweetie
Red Siberian
German Gold
Nicholayev Yellow Cherry
Black Cherry
Black Krim
Early Girl
Gogoshari Striped
Nebraska Wedding
Ukrainian Heart
Anna Russian
Sub Arctic Plenty
Oregon Spring

We have another sunny day here today, but cold. It's 36 degrees right now. I'm hoping it hits the upper 40s, or maybe even 50. If it does, I'll probably go out and sow some more flower seeds under makeshift cloches.

Or I could just hang out in the South-facing window, with my house-bound kitties.

"Mo-om, I'm trying to sleep here!"

"Who made the kissy noise? Is it time to eat?"


  1. I'm holding thumbs for those 2011 tomatoes, Alison! Hope you'll have a bumper crop this time :) I think you're absolutely amazing the way you research and plan and go to so much effort. It makes me realise how lucky I am living where a garden more or less grows on it's own, provided all the basics have been set up beforehand. We don't have the cold and frost that you get & so nothing can really die, unless it's not watered!

    Those cats of yours are just too gorgeous! We've never owned a cat, as our daughter was asthmatic as a little girl and our son had allergic rhinitis. We only got our first dog after they were well and truly over their early childhood.

  2. Good luck with the seeds! It's my first time this year growing perennials form I'm not sure what to expect. I Love all the perennials you've chosen...and your neighbors may not like it now...but just wait until summer! Good luck with the tomatoes...sounds like you're covering all the bases!

  3. Wow I hope you get tomatoes from all of those varieties this year. I had the same thing happen with mine last year. I bet your neighbors won't mind the milk jugs when they see all the pretty flowers in a few months.

  4. I don't think the neighbours would mind because you will have a show of lovely blooms on that patch when spring comes for other people to admire them. Good Luck on harvesting many ripe tomatoes in the year of 2011.


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