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Old April 23, 2017   #1
Banadoura's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Laval, Quebec - Zone 5B
Posts: 129
Default The 2017 Chronicles of a Newbie Gardener

The 2016 growing season was pretty disappointing, bought some mislabelled plants that turned out to be a late variety poor in taste.

Looking back for what went wrong, I stumbled upon this forum and got bitten with tomato gardening fever last December. My next season had to start from seed so I purchased a bunch and thanks to the generosity of several board members, I was able to add some unique varieties.

I hope this thread will prove helpful to others as I highlight the challenges met.

I started my first wave after buying the MG seed starter mix:

Took over part of my girls' play room placing a table next to the window.
Temperature was around 19c (66f) on seeding.
No heatmat.
Used 4 inch pots and two 3x3 trays to start the following on April 1st:

Cosmonaut Volkov (CV)
Indian Stripe PL (ISPL)
Jaune Flamme (JF)
Black Cherry (BC)
Paul Robeson (PR)
Rebel Yell (RY)
Cherokee Lime (CL)
Cherokee Purple (CP)

JF was the first to sprout on Apr-7 and ended up with 100% germination rate.
CV was the last to sprout at 60% rate with some seeds taking 14 days to show up!

I noticed in subsequent plantings an improvement in CV as I did the following:
Avg room temp increased to 22-23C (72F) and spent more time keeping the surface wet by spraying water every day until germination.

Now I see why covering seedlings and using a heatmat makes a difference.

Multiple subsequent waves of plantings saw 100% germination rates for LLK (Lindey's Little Krim), Taxi, RY, BC, Rosella Pruple(RP), Stupice & ISPL.

Cherokee Purple remains at 33% germination and GGWT (girl girl's wierd thing) was the worst performer at 0% (3 seeds sown in total).

The last to be sown was MSE (Matsu-Express) on April 21.

This is what the little plants looked like in their first week:

The window seating proved insufficient in terms of light, hence the legginess, so what to do?

I bought a T5 light for 50 bucks (CAD) and installed it on unused shelf, confiscated a couple of toy boxes from my girls as base and voila:

I think the distance from the light was not perfect, so I had to add another box of toys to shrink that distance to 4 inch between plants and light:

Much better now!

Initially, one of my Taxi seedlings had a helmet on, tried using a small pincer to remove it and ended up decapitating the plant

Then I read on this board that you have to wet (using your spit) the helmet to loosen it up. The advice was right in time as most of the new batch of Cosmonaut Volkhovs were equipped with that helmet, I guess they take their name seriously!

The objective is to have these survive until the end of May when I can start transplanting into the garden some 20-22 plants.

Current dilemmas:
1- Can I keep them in their seed starter mix until transplant? Or should I re-pot into a potting mix instead of seed starting mix? (keeping same 4inch pots)

2- I will have to feed them soon, can I use my tomato tone to make liquid fertiliser or should I buy fertiliser dedicated for liquid feeding ?

The survival of these plants is of paramount importance as family, friends and coworkers have been promised delicious tomatoes this summer and in some cases plants for their garden! (they've had to endure listening to my tomato talk for months now)

Last but not least, a very special thanks goes to Cole Robbie, BigVanVader, LindyAdele and Marsha for making a lot of these plants possible!

Last edited by Banadoura; April 23, 2017 at 04:04 PM. Reason: fixed images
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