I have a large part of our garden planted already…. probably too much for having not even reached the average date of last frost yet, which is April 18th. I’m running out of room and have a ridiculous amount of plants growing in my seed trays!
Patience is the key at this point, though. Last year I don’t think I hardened off my tomato plants properly, so they didn’t get a good start. My plants are looking much better this year, though, and I’m really looking forward to transplanting! Yesterday my daughter grabbed a package of store-bought grape tomatoes out of the refrigerator that weren’t their freshest. They were fine to eat, but starting to get a little wrinkly. After she popped one in her mouth she turned her nose up and declined seconds. Remembering how last year she loved to pick cherry tomatoes right off the vine and eat them, I just thought “Soon, baby… soon.”
Our seedlings have come a long way since we started them at the end of February. The photo below was taken a couple of weeks ago. The tray in the foreground has strawberry plants that I started from seed, but they’re doing pretty poorly (unless they’re supposed to grow at a glacial pace). All of the other plants are quite happy, though. I am planning to buy a grow light system soon (or rigging up a DIY version) so my plants will grow more stout and sturdy rather than being so “leggy”. The fennel plants I’m growing in the trays can barely hold their little leaves up!
I have a whole collection of tomato varieties growing too. I couldn’t resist. I grew some from seeds that I bought last year, as well as several new seeds I bought this year. I even saved some tomato seeds from an organic roma tomato I bought at the grocery store that I overlooked until it was too ripe to eat. You can see how they are doing in the photo below, taken about a week ago. I actually moved some of these plants into bigger containers this past week.
Just a few more days until the last frost date! Since it’s just an average, I may wait an additional week or two on the tomato and pepper plants, just to be safe. It would be such a disappointment to see these guys this far only to lose them.