Growing tomato and pepper seedlings
The tomato and pepper seedlings are doing great. My method is pretty simple. I have two 4-foot long shoplights, which are available for under $20 each at almost any big box or hardware store. Each light has room for two fluorescent tubes. Now, the special grow light fluorescents are pretty expensive, so I only use one per fixture. The other tube is just a regular fluorescent. THEN I put the whole set up in front of my big kitchen windows. Between the grow-light tubes, the regular fluorescent tubes, and the sun streaming in through the windows I figure my plants receive the wavelengths of light that they need.
It’s not high-tech, but this set up with fluorescent lights, seedlings, and a big sunny window seems to work just fine.
The plants on top of the lights are morning glories planted by my 6-year-old. I have to give them each a haircut yesterday because the vines were a little too vigorous.
The plants are all large enough that they could be planted outside now, but it’s still kind of chilly outdoors so I’m going to let them hang out indoors for a little while longer. I have planted mesclun, leeks, scallions and peas outside, though, because they can take the colder temperatures.
It’s a dreary, rainy day today so I dug up a picture from last summer. This is a day’s harvest of Cherokee Purple tomatoes and plums from last July:
Aren’t they gorgeous? The Cherokee Purple tomatoes are favorites of ours. Not only are they beautiful, they’re also quite delicious. Their large beefsteak size makes them ideal for BLTs. We buy bread and a massive supply of bacon at Costco and we’re pretty much set for lunches during tomato season.
As you can see, the fruit sometimes has green shoulders at the top, even when it’s ripe. That’s okay. You learn to gauge ripeness just by feeling the tomato.
I first learned about the Cherokee Purple tomato on the Growing Tomatoes Forum on Gardenweb. I highly recommend browsing through that forum even if you’re just casually interested in growing tomatoes – there’s a wealth of information. People take their tomatoes very seriously there and they are always willing to answer questions or offer encouragement.
I started seedlings for this plant several weeks ago and now they’re about 9 inches tall and starting to get a bit leggy. The weather forecasters are saying that we could get wet snow tonight so it’s going to be a while before I can plant them outside.
Snow. Can you believe it?