This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

tomato sowing day!

Here's my planting list:

Tomatoes, New Girl (6 for mom, 3 for me)
Tomatoes, Big Beef (6 for mom, 3 for me)
Tomatoes, Orange Blossom (3 for mom, 3 for me)
Tomatoes, Brandywine (3 for me)
Tomatoes, Pink Beauty (3 for mom, 3 for me)
Tomatoes, Cherokee Purple (1 for mom, 3 for me)
Tomatoes, Purple Calabash (1 for mom, 3 for me)
Tomatoes, Giant Belgium (3 for me)
Tomatoes, Oxheart Red (3 for me)
Tomatoes, San Marzano (3 for me)
Tomatoes, Tomango (3 for me)

The numbers listed are the numbers of plants I would like in the garden. To make sure I get enough, I'll sow twice as many seeds and thin (or give away) extras later.

My mom only wants the early varieties (70-80 days), since she's in northern MA.

Descriptions of all of these varieties are here.

Since tomato soil temperature should be at least 75F for germination, I wanted to use my fish tank as an incubator again. This worked well for my peppers. Since the space is limited, I sowed the seeds close and will transplant seedlings to pots later. I spread an inch or two of soil in a planting tray and planted about 9-15 seeds in each of 10 rows. I laid out straight rows using large plant labels, which I removed after planting. I labeled each row and duct taped the label in place.

planting prep tomato seeds
planted tomato tray incubating tomato seeds

Since I took a set of lights off the top of my fish tank to use for my seedlings, I had room to just set the tray on top of the tank. Its close enough to the water surface that it should stay at the water temp, which is 78F.

Solanum lycopersicum

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Blogger Matron said...

What a wonderful selection of tomatoes. You certainly like the big beefsteak varieties! I bought an expensive packet of giant beefsteak F1 hybrid tomatoes this year, got just 4 seeds for £4 ($8) hope they are worth it!

April 06, 2008 4:38 AM

Blogger kathy said...

Wow! Those were expensive seeds!

April 06, 2008 10:04 AM

Blogger Daisy said...

Good luck to your tomatoes!

April 06, 2008 11:20 AM

Blogger Babs said...

I love that your planting list includes plants for mom!

I drive "home" to my parents' place about once a month during the spring and summer to tend Mom's flower beds and add plants(and of course visit). All she has to do is agree to keep things watered :)

April 06, 2008 4:55 PM

Blogger kathy said...

I try to visit my parents once a week when they are "at home" during the spring, summer and fall. They are not very far away. During the winter, they go south. My parents tend a vegetable garden at least twice the size of mine, as well as a beautiful perennial border. They don't let me tend it, but do like the plants I give them.

April 06, 2008 5:10 PM

Blogger alec said...

ingenious..utilizing the fishbowl as an incubator..i simply used a heat mat, but your resourcefulness is a great quality.

April 06, 2008 5:12 PM

Blogger kathy said...

I don't have a heat mat... But I bet they aren't too expensive. I considered using an electric blanket.

April 06, 2008 5:31 PM

Blogger Peggy said...

This is off the post, but I was wondering what you use to post your pictures. I just use my Kodak software and the blogger uploader. Mine don't seem to come out like yours.

April 06, 2008 7:07 PM

Blogger kathy said...

I use Flickr at, which gives very good resolution for blog uploads. First set up a Flickr account (start with the free one, then if you like it pay your $25/year for lots of upload space), then upload your photos to your Flickr account, and the photo send them to your blog either using the "send to blog" button above the photo or by clicking all sizes then the size you want and then copying the the code below into your blog editing box. It works well.

April 07, 2008 12:11 AM

Blogger Nick said...

Wowhad , over 50 tomatoe plants! I thought I had a lot with 12.
Just curious, when is your last "frost date"? Ours is June 15.

April 07, 2008 2:22 PM

Blogger kathy said...

HI Nick,

I think I saw your note on the message board. June 15 is so late. Mine is early May. Around the 5th (since the moon looks good this year). My garden is very sheltered.

I will give 25 tomatoes to my parents and keep 25 for myself. Usually I grow 18, but I'm counting on community garden space this year and so I am increasing. Last year I didn't have enough (can one ever have too many garden tomatoes?)

April 07, 2008 9:33 PM


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