On Wednesday this week it was bright sun and warmish winds. I vowed I would plant spinach this weekend. Today the wind is bitter and it is rain enough to be annoying, so I have postponed my early planting until next week. Rain or shine I will plant spinach and a row of bush peas next weekend. That will be a full month earlier then any previous year and nearly two months earlier than suggested for this area. If the experiment fails I'll till it under and try again.
Since I couldn't play in the dirt outside, I played in the dirt inside. My tomato seedlings were doing so well with all their new leaves that I decided it was time to transplant them into bigger pots, thinning them out while I was at it. I could only find six of the 3" transplant pots at Canadian Tire this morning so I also bought a bunch of the 3" round plastic pots. I also bought some 6" plastic pots to transplant my butternut squash into.
Several people on the Homesteading Today Gardening forum said to bury the tomato right up to its first set of leaves. Apparently, tomatoes will send out little rootlets from its stem if it is covered in dirt. The extra rootlets will absorb more nutrients making the plant extra strong. It also reverses the leggy seedling issue we were experiencing.
I used the 3" round pots for the smaller seedlings, putting two in each pot. Each peat pot had sprouted at least two plants and with few exceptions they were all very healthy. I hated to throw away a perfectly good seedling, especially when we are likely to lose one or two to pest and weather once they get transplanted outside. If all goes well, in 2 or 3 weeks, I'll be transplanting all my tomatoes into larger pots and begin hardening them off in preparation for moving outside.
The 3" square pots I used for the tallest of the seedlings. They are the ones in the most danger of being bent and broken when we have to move them later. They were the first seeds to sprout and so grew stringy trying to reach the meagre sunlight from the windows. Now though, they have three or four inches of stem under good soil and we have them under grow lamps in our upstairs sitting room.
The squash was put into the larger pots, also burying their stems a few inches below ground. I'm hoping that they will do the same as the tomatoes and create a strong root system by sending rootlets from the buried stems. I've never tried this before so it is another great experiment.