February 11, 2012

Startin' Tamater Seeds

I have decided that this is the year of the tomato, and my backyard will be largely dedicated to growing them.  So I need to get a move on!

Yesterday my Burpee order arrived.  I got Super Italian Paste Tomatoes, BushSteak Hybrid Tomato, Porterhouse Hybrid Tomato, Delicious Tomato, Super Sweet 100 Hybrid Tomato, Big Mama Hybrid Tomato, Lemon Cucumber, and Sunburst Hybrid Squash.  I ordered tomatoes based on harvest days and use.  I badly want to grow a 1-2lb tomato which is a personal goal this year.  Gotta get those seeds going!

Last year I came across an academic article on potting soil mixes for starting vegetable seeds called "Volume of Vermicompost-Based Potting Mix for Vegetable Transplants Determined Using Fuzzy Biomass Growth Index".  Unfortunately I'm no longer a student with access to the full article (and I'm too lazy to go to the library), but fortunately the main result is in the abstract:
Paper pots of 65 cc in volume filled with a mix of 25% vermicompost, 100 cc in volume filled with a mix of 50% vermicompost, and 81 cc in volume filled with a mix of 33% vermicompost, in combination with equal parts of sand and top soil were most suitable for production of good quality transplants of tomato, eggplant, and chili pepper, respectively.
 Ok, so I'm not going to measure the volume of my starter pots in cubic centimeters (or follow the findings very closely), but I am going to use equal parts sand, worm castings, and potting soil which is what I used last year for starting variety of seeds including Peter Pepper and Buddha Belly.  It worked fabulously for everything!

I measure out using a plastic cup, dump the ingredients in a shallow tub trug, and mix.  The mix feels absolutely dreamy...

The shallow tub trug is great because it also makes filling starter pots extremely easy.

I used to work in just whatever bucket I had around, but now I'm spoiled.

So the agenda for today is to get the seeds sown and going with the aid of a heating pad and some florescent lights.


  1. Only had access to worm castings once years ago, and loved them. Everything grew well with them. Have often thought that I should start a worm bin, but the husband draws the line there. Maybe someday ...

    1. I guess I'm lucky to have a local source. :-/

  2. Last year we managed a few 2 pounders and a lot of one pounders. Hope your tomatoes do great this year. What we did for ours was keep them staked and watered them at least every other day, it gets pretty dry here in the summer.


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