The Tomato Potting Up Marathon Begins

The garden season is in full swing here and my greenhouse is packed full of seedlings. I am constantly moving plants outside to two mini greenhouses to harden them off. I think its time for a new greenhouse. They always say if you buy a greenhouse buy bigger than you will need as it gets filled quickly. Of course,  not everyone grows thousands of plants. Only the crazy seed people can’t stop themselves. The thing is seeds are so much fun. Once you have success you can’t stop.

The tomato potting up marathon begins

Take a look at how I plant my tomato seeds. I plant them in large quantities in a four-inch pot with good seed starter mix. I moisten the starter mix before planting the seeds so they don’t wash away when I water. A light cover of mix over the seeds and they are placed on heat mats until they germinate. In just eight days I had tomato babies. So picture about 25 four-inch pots with this many seedlings and you will understand what the next step is and why I do it. I know very well that you are supposed to wait until the plant has its second set of leaves. What I have noticed over the years is the roots on these tiny seedlings are longer than the plant itself. The plant may only be an inch high but the roots can be at least an inch and a half when potting them up. With so many seeds in one pot they need more room to grow. Yes, I use my widger and nudge them gently apart and plant them into their final container before they are sold.

The tomato potting up marathon begins

Whats a widger you ask? Its my most favourite greenhouse tool next to the heat mats. This little stainless widger allows me to lift the tiniest of seedlings with ease.

 

The tomato potting up marathon begins

There was a time when I would transplant to two-inch pots and then to four-inch. I soon realized how fast tomatoes grew and now skip that step. Its right to a four-inch container for each of the hundreds of tomatoes. Usually by the time I finish potting up some of the plants are starting to get their second set of leaves. Have I lost any plants moving them this early? Not a one. I hold them gently by the leaf. Never grab the stem. If it gets damaged, your plant will die. If the plant loses a leaf, it will grow another. I make an impression in the center of the pot with the widger and stir up the organic fertilizer at the same time. I now have a planting hole for the tomato seedling.

The tomato potting up marathon begins

I like to plant them a bit deeper to encourage root formation along the stems. A light watering with a small watering can is next being ever so careful to just wet the soil. No big watering cans are used when the tomato plants are this small. I have a tiny watering can with a long thin spout that only allows a small amount of water to spill out.

The tomato potting up marathon begins

So what does my greenhouse look like today? Imagine 22 flats of tomatoes all potted up. But don’t think that is all I have growing. Every inch of space is being used to grow flowers and vegetables for the garden. Every plant is labelled so I don’t get any of them mixed up. It’s hard to believe looking at all the tomato plants that they will be going to final homes in early May. Are you looking for heirloom tomato plants? Watch for my sale coming up on May 2.

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