Sunday, 30 March 2008

Time is running out to plant tomato seeds

There's still time to grow your own tomatoes from seed, as long as you start soon. It's fun to grow your own; plus you can grow rare varieties that you are unlikely to come across at your local nursery. Plant the seeds in containers that are at least 3 inches deep, with plenty of drainage holes in the bottom. Half-gallon milk cartons cut down to size work well. Buy seed-starter mix at your nursery and plant the seeds 1 inch apart in slightly moistened soil, 1/4 inch deep. Use a spray bottle to water the soil with a fine mist. Tomato seeds need warm roots to germinate, but prefer cool air between 60 and 70 degrees. Keep the container on a warm surface in a bright spot or 2 inches under a fluorescent light fixture. Keep misting the soil enough so it remains slightly moist. As soon as the second set of leaves appears, repot each seedling in a 4-inch pot. Fertilize with quarter-strength soluble house plant fertilizer every seven days, and gradually acclimate your baby tomato plants to the weather until you plant them out around Mother's Day.

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