Friday, May 10, 2013

Why jump starting your seedlings isn't always a good idea

We fell for it.  The nervous excitement of the coming spring.  The pretty seed catalogs.  The promise of the earliest ripe tomatoes in town.  We started our seeds way to early and for us it was not the right move.  The ready availability of heat mats and grow lights made it all possible.  Here are the problems with this idea

-Seedlings get big fast.  It's all fine and dandy when they are little, but when you end up with 75 plants that are 10-14 weeks old, it's too much.  We ran out of room under our light, they were too crowded together which is not ideal.

These were scattered all over our family room
-Unless you intend to build a cloche over the plants when you plant them outside, it won't be warm enough to really help most of them grow and thrive.  We planted ours in early April and while it was not cold enough to harm them, the plants did not thrive.  If we had a short growing season, I can understand it would be worth the effort, but we are pretty fortunate to have an ample growing season.

-When you start them early you have to keep re potting them into larger containers.  This requires more material, time, and space.

-Bigger plants are harder to simply discard.  There is a process of picking the best seedlings and thinning them out that happens over time.  It's easy to toss a skinny two inch sprout.  It's not so hard to toss a plant that is a few inches tall and has 6 or 7 leaves.  When that plants is a foot and half tall with flowers on it is REALLY hard to compost it because there is no more room.  This is how one ends up with 26 tomato plants planted.  This does not include the 10 or so we gave to friends.  26 tomato plants.  Ri-damn-diculous.  I see a post in my future called "tomatoes, what the h e double hockey sticks were we thinking?"

In the meantime, I guess I better get comfortable canning tomatoes.


  1. salsa, marinara, sun-dried...:)

  2. Exactly! I'll start stocking up on canning jars now.