Our 2023 garden: starting herbs and tomatoes, potting up and will it work?

For a while outside, the wind picked up and I could see the snow coming down horizontally out the window! From what I’m hearing the roads are in terrible condition, and quite a few people posted online that they started to go somewhere, only to turn around immediately. Everyone is being told to stay home. A number of roads have been closed, particularly in the South. For our area, it looks like the worst of it has passed by, and things should be getting better from now on, though there is a second system on the radar that might make it as far as us later. Maybe.

A good day to be inside and doing garden stuff!

The first thing I needed to do was start some new seeds.

There were only three things that need to be started in the 6-8 week range; spearmint, oregano and the Roma tomatoes.

The oregano and spearmint seeds are so miniscule! We don’t need a lot of either, so there was more than enough for our needs. There weren’t a lot of seed in the tomato packet, so I actually counted them to work out how to use the tray. There turned out to be 67 seeds in the packet. Usually, for “pots” the size of these toilet paper rolls, I would plant two seeds per pot, but with so few seeds, only one got two seeds and the other 65 got a single seed each. Romas are a tomato I want to have a lot of, so we can do tomato paste and sauces again at the end of the year.

The herbs each gone one row in the tray. Here, the tray is on the heat mat, and it now has a dome over it, too.

This is the tray that had been on the heat mat. There are some cayenne, Dragonfly and Early Sensation peppers sprouting. And look at all those spoon tomatoes!

The strawberries and Classic eggplant got moved out entirely, and are now in the small aquarium greenhouse, still on the little bin to lift them closer to the light. The hardware cloth cover for the tank is no longer needed to keep the cats out, but it is still needed to hold the light fixture. We couple put the light back under the tank’s lid and use that, but this way, there is still plenty of air flow.

This done, I decided to do some potting up. First, I thinned by dividing the Crespo squash…

They are on the aluminum sheet in the photo. Of the two pots, one had all three seeds in it germinate, and they all have their own pot now. The second pot, I left for now. You can see a second seed did start to germinate, but it seems to have just stopped growing.

In the baking tray, you can see the Zucca melon, at the bottom right of the picture, are doing well! Those tendrils are reaching out to climb, and I’ve already had to unwrap the biggest one from the mini greenhouse frame. The drum gourds in the back are doing okay, but I think it’s just too cold for them to grow much right now.

I’d reseeded more Zuccz melon and drum gourd, but none have germinated yet. There was a drum gourd seedling that died after I’d put more seed in the empty pots, and I was considering adding more drum gourd seeds to it. Not anymore! That pot has now been “potted up” into the stronger, lighter coloured pot, and contains an experiment.

Last year, we had purchased seeds for Tulip trees and pawpaws. We had a single Tulip tree germinate, only to die soon after. Nothing else germinated. Their containers had been moved between the sun room and the shelf just outside the sun room. No surprise that cats would eventually knock them around, and that was it for any chance of germination. They were planted in a seed starting mix, which I ended up adding in to the big bowl I use to moisten the starting mix before putting it into pots to start new seeds. I ended up finding one of the pawpaw seeds that actually looked robust, so I stuck it into the available pot. Who knows? Maybe it’ll sprout!

Today, I had dumped our last bag of seed starting mix into the big bowl with what was left from before and was mixing water in with my hands when I found another pawpaw seed that looked like it was fresh out of the package we got them in. So I stuck that into the pot I’d put the first one in. The pot is damp, though, so it broke. I grabbed one of the new biodegradable pots I bought and the whole thing fit perfectly inside it. Cool! Now we have two pawpaw seeds to potentially sprout!

As I went back to mixing water into the seed starter mix, I found three more pawpaw seeds! None of them showed even the slighted bit of rot or damage!

They all went into the experiment pot.

I have no idea if they will germinate, but it would be awesome if they did!

Once the herbs and tomato seeds were planted and things were shifted around, I decided it was time to pot up the Black Beauty tomato seedlings. The germination rate for those was really high, and they were starting to get too big for the square potting cells they were in. I had a bag of potting soil ready for potting up, and went with Red Solo cups to transplant them up into.

I filled them about half way with soil, and buried the stems of the seedlings about half way when transplanting. As they get bigger, we can keep filling the cups with soil, allowing for more roots to develop along the stems. The baking tray holds 12 cups, while the bin can only hold 9, which left 5 more to go back into the tray they had been in before. The smaller Indigo Blue tomatoes don’t need potting up yet. Sadly, there are still only three Little Finger eggplants; the pots I reseeded show no signs of germination yet. Again, I think it might just be too cold by the window, even though the whole thing is over a heat vent.

Lower down, you can see the tray that has the first peppers we planted, in the red cups they were potted up into, next to the German thyme and lemon grass. The yellow plant pot below has one of the pots of German thyme transplanted into it, which we will be keeping indoors. In the blue mushroom tray is the luffa. We still have just one plant. The other 3 pots were reseeded, but still nothing.

And finally, here are the onions and shallots! It’s been a while since I showed how they were doing. I suppose we could give them hair cuts, but that may not be beneficial. Gardening in Canada did a video about it, and I trust what she says.

My daughter’s orchids got moved to the shelf beside the onions. I hope they do okay, there. They’re pretty far from the heat vent.

That is it for now! The next seeds we will need to start are the 4-6 week seeds, and I think I have only 1 or 2 things that needs to be started in that range. After that, it’s all stuff that needs 3-4 weeks before last frost date. There are a few seeds in that range that I plan to experiment with, starting some indoors and direct seeding others, to compare how they do.

Being able to work on gardening stuff while it’s snowing outside feels really good!

The Re-Farmer


4 thoughts on “Our 2023 garden: starting herbs and tomatoes, potting up and will it work?

  1. What a great post! I also start a great deal of seed indoors in toilet role and paper towel tubes, strawberry punnets etc. I was so frustrated after seeing my carrot seedlings mowed down by the snails and slugs, time and again, I’ve even got them growing in toilet tubes very successfully. But with the amount of produce that you grow, I fear that it would not be worth your while! Wishing you a productive growing season, and I look forward to seeing your harvest.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Our 2023 garden: herbs are sprouting! | The Re-Farmer

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