Periodically I have decided to share some of my garden adventures with my readers that I have been experiencing since I began my first real vegetable garden last year. Because the cost of produce – among other things – have gone off the wall, I wanted to start my own garden. This is more in line with the idea of the “victory gardens” of the 1940s when almost everyone had a kitchen or access to a community garden to help feed their families.
When I say “Gardening 101” I am really preaching to myself. Every since I started my garden last year, I have learned that gardening is something that is not learned overnight or even by one full garden. Gardening is learned by practice and learning new methods and procedures each and every year.
For example, last year, my tomato seeds did germinate into seedlings – even after I had given up hope and purchased some other more mature seedlings. I also learned that perhaps a plant that reached four feet tall within one or two weeks was not necessarily a watermelon plant but perhaps a weed that had sneaked its way in. I also was educated that when a pumpkin plant is healthy, it will vine clear across your yard and is not trying to attack you.
However, today I want to share my newest experience with tomato seeds and plants.
I decided to be really adventurous this year and choose store-bought tomatoes for the seeds for my seedlings. There are certain tomatoes in the store that nearly everyone likes a lot and I am no different. I thought last year I had chosen the exact correct tomatoes, Celebrity, however, they did not exactly mature into the ones I love to purchase to feed my family.
Do not get me wrong, the Celebrity, Cherry and other varieties I planted last year worked out very well. In fact, I was able to preserve several cartons and use for garden fresh soups during the winter months. Nevertheless, I have endeavored to experiment with creating seedlings from the store-bought tomatoes and see if I have any luck.
Obtaining advice from my aunt (who is now nicknamed Dr. Gardener and advises me to take two seeds and call her in the morning), I took the tomatoes apart and removed the seeds. Next I had to remove as much of the pulp as possible in order for the seeds to dry without growing mold. It was much more difficult than I planned, nevertheless, I was able to do this with tweezers (yes, tweezers!) and set seeds in the window for several days to “dry out.” (There are other ways to remove the pulp).
After the seeds had dried, I purchased some Styrofoam cups and some Miracle Grow potting soil. Normally, I do not like to use any kind of growth enhancement for my gardening, but in this case, I thought it best to give the seeds the best possible advantage.
Carefully, I placed two-to-three seeds in each cup filled with potting soil, placed the cups on a regular garden flat, and put them in a window with southern exposure inside my house.
I was never so happy as within just a couple of weeks of gently watering, the plants started to make themselves known by breaking through the soil and sprouting.
As they nurture further, I plan to transfer them into larger containers to continue my TLC while they continue to mature before transplanting them to the external garden. However, in the meantime, I have hardened the plants off to reside on my outside screened in porch to enjoy the cool March breezes and unexpected rain our area experienced within the last couple of days.
I will be happy to keep my readers updated on the progress of this new gardening experience from this very atypical greenhorn (pun intended!).
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