Category Archives: Seeds and seedlings

My Favorite Tomatoes

Here it is – the annual 30 day countdown til spring! From now until the first day of spring, I will post ways to make the dreary days of midwinter a little more merry. Click the “Midwinter Merriment” category button on the right to see more merry things.

photoTomatoes are probably my favorite thing to grow. I love the challenge of growing them in this climate. I love trying to exceed the previous year’s harvest totals. I love using every trick and tool in my gardening bag of tricks to create the most optimal environment I can for these little gems. Growing tomatoes makes my inner garden nerd shine.

Over the past four years now, I have collected seeds from my homegrown heirloom tomatoes and sown them in my garden the following spring. I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me to tear open my own envelop of homegrown seeds. It’s some kind of magic. I usually try and grow a new variety every year, but I most definitely have some trusty favorites that will likely always have a place in my tomato bed. Here are my go-to heirlooms:

  • Stupice (hands down my earliest and most productive variety)
  • San Marzanos
  • Jean Flame (I’d grow these gems for their color alone!)
  • Cherokee Purple

What are your must-have tomato varieties?

Want to learn all my tried and true tomato-growing strategies? Sign up for my popular class, Tons of Tomatoes! It’s filling up fast! Click here for details and registration!

An Awesome New Use for My Digital Thermometer!

Here it is – the annual 30 day countdown til spring! From now until the first day of spring, I will post ways to make the dreary days of midwinter a little more merry. Click the “Midwinter Merriment” category button on the right to see more merry things.

IMG_3412It’s Day 21of Midwinter Merriment and what’s making me happy today is finally getting my butt in gear to start my spring seeds! The first step for me is always sterilizing my seed starting medium so that it’s ready to plant. Like I said in this post (did I mention it has a video tutorial in it?), the goal is to create the most optimal, artificial environment possible, so the seeds will germinate and the seedlings will thrive before they have to make the transition to the great outdoors. The biggest part of this process is getting the soil temperature to 140 – 180 degrees, which is warm enough to kill most plant viruses and plant pathogenic bacteria.

It’s usually a delicate dance of opening the oven door and checking the soil’s temperature over and over again until I know it’s at the optimal temperature. That’s important since once it has reached that range, it needs to stay there for 30 minutes to run its course. But yesterday, I came up with the most awesome solution that made this process a breeze – use my turkey thermometer! These awesome digital thermometer and timer sticks to the outside of the oven with magnets and can be set to go off when a certain temperature is reached. I set it for 140 and when the alarm went off, I set the timer for 30 minutes. I also set the alert to let me know when it reached 180 so I could remove the trays before they got too hot. Like I said, this made the work so amazingly easy! I only wish I would have thought of this earlier!

Beginnings: Start these seeds now!

If you slow down and take a minute to look around, I bet you’ll find a ton of beginnings. These are a few of the lovely beginnings I’ve found in my garden lately.

Beans

Zinnia

Seedlings are emerging. I scattered zinnia seeds along an empty row of soil in my bean bed. My cutting garden is going to happen and I didn’t have to sacrifice an entire bed to do it.

CoreopsisLavender copyBuds are forming and blooms are imminent. The bees and I can hardly wait.

peasStrawberryFruit is forming. The raspberries are starting to take shape. Pea blossoms are becoming pods. Dainty yellow flowers are becoming green tomatoes. Summer is upon us and the beginning is right under your nose.

Speaking of beginnings, you can start these seeds now:

  • Herbs: Cilantro and dill
  • Lettuce (plant a heat-tolerant variety and be ready to give it some shade on hot days)
  • Beans: Bush beans and pole beans – you could still try your hand at growing your own dried beans. Just start them soon!
  • Squash: Summer squash and cucumbers

Our NW “Second Spring” is also fast approaching. You sow seeds for your fall and winter garden throughout the summer. Start making a plan and buying your fall/winter varieties so you’re ready when it’s time to plant.

Midwinter Merriment: Start Seeds Indoors

Here it is – a countdown til spring. From now until the first day of spring, I will post ways to make the dreary days of midwinter a little more merry.

Day 15: Start seeds indoors.

seedlingsNothing is as satisfying as getting your hands dirty in February as you sow seeds indoors that will be transplanted outdoors in late spring. Visions of tomatoes dance in my head and watching for sprouting seeds like a kid with her nose pressed up against a window is delightful! Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow!

Still not sure what to grow when in the Pacific NW? The Maritime Northwest Gardening Guide is my go-to resources and it will show you the way!

Check out this article from Organic Gardening magazine for tips on getting your seeds started!

Day 16: Sew a sassy garden tool belt.
Day 17: A class that keeps on giving!
Day 18: Buy yourself some flowers.
Day 19: Go to the park and play!
Day 20: Plant peas (and sign up for my free newsletter!)
Day 21: Take a gardening class.
Day 22:Plant bare root.
Day 23: Sign up for Seattle Seedling’s Spring Fling!
Day 24: Plant primroses.
Day 25: Get yourself a doughnut and make it “for here.”
Day 26: Frequent the Farmers’ Market
Day 27: Eat Root Vegetables Disguised as Cake!
Day 28: Be a Garden Show Goer.
Day 29: Drink more hot chocolate.
Day 30: Create a springtime “advent” calendar.