March 29, 2011

Love of Blooms
Cherry Tomato

Sweet Cherry Tomato – Four months

I am completely addicted to cherry tomatoes! They are so sweet and juicy and make a great healthy snack, as opposed to fries and potato chips ^^ They are easy to grow indoors, but require a lot of sunlight and water.

I tend to grow 3 to 4 plants to help support my cherry tomato eating habits. I begin the growing process indoors with seeds and move the plants outside after last frost. Tomato plants can also be propagated by sucker cutting! The little hairs on the sucker can turn into roots and eventually you will have another healthy tomato plant!

The Process – By Seed (2-3 months)
1.  Gather supplies – small dish, paper towel, spray bottle with warm water, tomato seeds, tweezers, 5 cm deep pot, 8 cm deep pot, soil mix, and a spoon.
2. Fold the paper towel in quarters and place onto dish. Mist the paper towel until moist, not dripping.
3. Using tweezers, place the seeds firmly onto the moist paper towel. Place dish in a spot away from direct light. Keep the paper towel moist and never let dry.
4. In one or two weeks, a root will grow out from the seed. It may be 1 to 2 cm in length. Fill a 5 cm deep pot with the soil mix.
5. Make a small hole 1 cm deep with the back of a spoon in the soil. Using tweezers, grab the root by the seed coat (do not touch the root!!) and place into the hole. Cover with soil. Two or three seeds can live happy together in one pot. Water the soil mix thoroughly.
6. When the plant has developed two sets of true leaves (2-3 months), transplant the seedling into a 8 cm deep pot. Water the soil thoroughly.
7. Water the plant every 2-3 days.

When last day of frost has past, the tomato plant can be acclimatized to the outdoor garden. Move the plant into a shady area and bring the plant inside every night for 2-3 days. Over the week, move the plant into a brighter spot (no need to bring in for night time) until it can live happily in full sun.

The Journal
Mar 25, 2011 – I had to re-pot (second time) my plant today. The roots finally popped out of the bottom of the pot and when I pulled it out of the pot, the soil was in a perfect cylinder, held together by many little roots. It is growing in a 20 cm diameter by 16 cm deep pot. The plant had grown to 45 cm in height with its most mature leaves at 7 cm in length. I will most like keep the plant in this pot until I can plant it outside.

I’ve been using a fluorescent bulb in my grow lamp as the plants light source. The tomato plant grew so fast over the last week it actually touched the bulb and started burning….FIRE HAZARD! lol Luckily, the plant didn’t catch on fire.

Seedlings – after one week of germination!

Jan 14, 2011 – The first week of germination was tough because I trying to keep the seeds moist manually. None of the seeds germinated this way, so I stuck the plate in a ziploc bag and in one week -POOF – the seeds germinated and now I have seedlings up to 10cm in length (root to tip)!! I will be plotting this seedlings to day in two big 10 cm deep pots ( 3 in one, 2 in another).

The problem with germinating the seeds on paper towel was that the roots weaved in and out of the paper, so it was very difficult to remove the seedlings from the towel without damaging the root or stem of the seedling. Both are extremely delicate. Let’s see how many actually survive!

Jan 05, 2011 – I have a four month old seedling left from the September seeding season. The others have died due to fungus gnat infestations and treatment. Tomato plant really do not like any moisture on their leaves….

I was growing the plants downstairs in our laundry room, where it’s nice and warm, but the air is pretty dry. I water the plant every three days and will fertilize the seedling every month with Schultz All Purpose Plant Food. I’ve started another set of seeds and hopefully by last frost, I will have four healthy tomato plants to transplant outside!

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