Seed Sprouts: The Toddling Tomatoes

April 28 2009, 10:21 AM

Just two weeks ago we planted the first seeds for the garden, and within a week they began to sprout. The next step is simple: As soon as they emerge from the dirt, prop open the plastic lid on the small greenhouse a bit.

All the seeds are supposed to sprout before being moved from their warm, dark home (they lived under the kitchen table by the heater) into the sunlight. Patrick and I gave up hope on the green onion and serrano pepper plants and put them up on the window sill a little early. Luckily for us, the tardy seeds sprouted soon after they saw the sun (cue the Beatles), and now we have a row of tiny green plants toddling on thin green stems.

The next steps are equally easy. Wait for them to put on leaves, and then cut back all but the strongest seedling in each pot. Water just when the little peat pellets turn light brown. After they grow hardier, gradually start introducing them to the real world by putting them in the shade during the day, slowly exposing them to full sunlight.

If you're still thinking of starting some seeds, it's not too late. It takes 4-6 weeks from the time the seeds are poked into the peat pellets to grow into toddler plants.

So far I'm convinced: We've had sprouts from each of our plants. Again, each packet of seeds costs around a dollar, and we used just three or four seeds for each plant. I'm nervous about having to trim the little guys back to their strongest plant (I have a soft spot in my heart for runts), but it's gratifying to watch them sprout so quickly. I'll check in after a few weeks when it's time to put them in the ground.