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Tomato Tales 2011

March 28, 2011

It’s that time of year again, and like last year, I’m not impressed with my germination results. Last year, it was only the ‘Gelbe Johannisbeere’/’Golden Currant’ that gave me trouble, and I could blame that on the seeds being old.

This year, ‘Gelbe Johannisbeere’ is the only variety that is growing well (I bought new seeds last year) – I just potted up five very nice-looking plants.

The other eight varieties, however…

I planted seven seeds of each variety, and so far I have:

  • ‘Coyote’: 4 seedlings that died again. Two never managed to get their leaves out of the seed coat (I’m not even sure they had any, one that didn’t have a root, and one that appeared and then mysteriously disappeared again.
  • ‘Dattelwein’: 1 seedling
  • ‘Galapagos’: 1 seedling
  • ‘Gelbe Johannisbeere’: 6 seedlings, one of which I killed while transplanting it
  • ‘Lea’: 2 seedlings
  • ‘Minibell’: 3 seedlings
  • ‘Rose Quartz Multiflora’: 4 seedlings
  • ‘Tess’s Land Race’: 2 seedlings, one of which died
  • ‘Zuckertraube’: none

Except for ‘Gelbe Johannisbeere’ and ‘Tess’s Land Race’, which I potted up today, they are all still tiny. I tell myself that’s OK, because at work, I’m just pricking the second batch of tomato seedlings, and they’re about the same size (OK, maybe a bit bigger), but I’m still not happy about it.

recently potted up plants and the flat with the tiny seedlings. I transplanted some of them while they were still really tiny - just germinated - to get them into better potting mix as soon as possible. Since I don't have plant lights, the seedlings are up on egg cartons so they're not shaded by the window frame and get as much sunlight as possible.

And I’m especially not happy about the ‘Coyote’s – I ordered those seeds from the US, since no-one in Europe seems to sell white currant tomatoes, then had a friend bring them over when she came to the Netherlands last summer (because having them mailed to Austria would be rather expensive). So I can’t easily replace them if I don’t get any of them to grow.

I planted a few more seeds of ‘Coyote’ a week ago, in the hope that the fault lies with the somewhat crappy old potting mix I used for the first batch – now I begged some of the good seed-starting mix off my boss. But, still nothing happening. Today I thought, maybe more warmth will help. I think the last few seedlings have all turned up after some warm, sunny days  after I’d moved the containers to the windowsill (and thus, into the sunlight). The ‘Coyote’ container has been sitting on the kitchen counter, though…

I’ve turned all the heating off, because I don’t really need it any more (either it’s the sun that warms the Nettle Nest up so much, or I get enough heat through the walls and ceiling from the neighbouring apartments, I don’t know), so putting the container on a windowsill above the radiator is out, and I don’t own anything fancy like a heating pad, so I have to improvise:

They won’t get very consistent heat from the hot-water bottle – I have to refill it every couple of hours, and I can’t do that while I’m sleeping or at work – but as we say here in Austria, ‘Nutzt’s nix, schådt’s nix‘ – ‘[even] if it doesn’t help, it doesn’t do harm.’

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