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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Homestead Tomatoes


 
18 pellets in 6 sandwich bags
Homestead Tomatoes

After midnight, I started germinating tomatoes. I had the little black tray with a clear plastic lid. But, exbf fell and crunched it. I was more concerned he lost his balance and fell backwards out of the house. I had to go help him get up. I had a floor lamp on the porch, but he could not pull up on it at the angle he was having to pull. So, I brought a floor lamp I am going to work on to replace the one that blew up. I held it far from him and pulled on it as he pulled. Even though he fussed at me, it worked. He never even said "Thank you." sigh

At any rate, the tray is probably toast. So, I got busy with what I know will work just as well. I put a towel fresh from the line on the ottoman.

a heaping Tablespoon of seeds for $.99
 
seeds in a Coke cap because I would lose them on this towel
 
 
 
love them!
 
 
 
swollen pellets
 
I did not take a picture of the pellets, but they sort of look like a checker, just a bit larger. I put them into the pie plate and kept pouring warm water in until there was only a little bit of water not absorbed. I think I had to add one more to make 6 full sandwich with three each bags.
 
 
two seeds in the one pellet
 
 

tool
 
Usually, I just get a toothpick, but I did not want to have to be coordinated enough to pick it up and keep up with it on the light colored towel. So, I remodeled a plastic fork. I used this fork tool to open up the fabric on some of the more tightly closed pellets. Then, since I was putting two seeds in each pellet, I used the fork tool to push seeds where I wanted them.

pellet on its side
 
I took this picture to show you how the pellet swells up, about 1.5 inches high.
 
Each pellet has two seeds to improve the prospect of all pellets having a tomato seedling. The place I bought these has a reputation for repackaging last year's seeds. So, two is insurance. I am hoping I might get lucky and be able to transplant the extra seedling if two germinate. We will see.
 
The basket of seedlings will go into the car to germinate until I can get the greenhouse stabilized in the yard. Seeds that take 7-10 days to germinate take only 3-4 in the car. The first year I germinated seeds in the car, all went well. The next year, I germinated later and they all fried. It just got too hot and I drove them around and parked them in the sun.
 
I think it will be 80 days to fruit. Maybe. Homestead tomatoes do well in hot weather. Most people complain their tomatoes burned up last year. Homestead tomatoes will not. I did not get these from Bonnie Plants. I am really surprised Bonnie has heirloom tomatoes!
 
With my new greenhouse, I plan to germinate more of this variety. This is what my father grew when I was a child. Now, I have to start collecting more five-gallon buckets.
 
Your turn
Have you ever grown Homestead tomatoes or eaten them? What is your favorite variety? Do you use pellets for germinating? In a  tray bought to hold pellets? In sandwich bags?
 
 
 

 



 


19 comments:

  1. I've never grown Homestead tomatoes.
    My favorite variety is Brandywine for the big tomatoes and for cherry tomatoes I like Matt's Wild Cherry.
    I reuse the same containers year after year---I think they originally held broccoli/cauliflower starts. I give them a good scrubbing after planting whatever I started in them and put them away for next year. I think the plastic is getting pretty brittle though and I might have to scrounge new ones for next year......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Homestead is an heirloom tomato. I cannot find the other pellet holder, just the broken one. People think I am crazy with all the odd and old containers. When I pick up the older ones, they just fall apart some days.

      Delete
  2. We have a lot of trouble with blight on our tomatoes both early and late. Favorites are Celebrity, Roma and this year we're trying Everglades a cherry tomato meant for south Florida's high temps.
    Since we garden in containers I usually just plant the seeds in the containers.. This year I'm starting my second crop in small pots and will transplant in about a month.
    Your planting fork looks a lot like a nasty hand gesture - made me laugh out loud!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bellen,
      I will see if I can find the Everglades tomato. It gets really hot in my back yard and in the South in general. I garden in containers, too. I would like to see a picture of your setup.

      I worked with that fork all night and never noticed. And, I laughed out loud when I read what it looked like.

      Delete
  3. When I used to garden, I planted beefsteak tomatoes. They did well into June, which is probably similar to the worst of August in northern areas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jess,
      I like beefsteak, too. Hopefully, these will last through August!

      Delete
  4. I love using pellets, I'll have to try the plastic bag method, and in the car. My main rules are don't put all my seedlings in the same place, and start about 4 to 8 times as many as I actually want. That way if 1/4 of them get fried in the car (which is all I would try), I won't care. This also allows me to only use the most vigorous seedlings.

    I've never tried Homestead tomatoes, even though I seem to be trying new varieties every year. I don't really have a favorite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John,
      These are all the tomatoes that will go into the car. I will try the greenhouse with some more of these. The only failure I ever had with germinating was baking all my germinated seeds that one year. ACK! I will be more careful this year.

      Homestead was difficult to find in the stores. I had to go to a seed and feed to find them.

      Delete
  5. You tool looks like it is saying Fork You.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coffeypot,
      LOLOLOL such a funny remark.

      Delete
  6. Beautiful! Nice Work!

    Now STOP! Put the tomato seeds away! lol. At least for a week. If all of those seeds germinate you're going to be buried in tomatoes this year. Move on to some peppers, brassicas, okra!

    You're going to need to get some pots and soil ready too. The jiffy pellets are good for starting seeds, but you'll need to pot them in a couple of weeks. Tomatoes are heavy feeders and will suck all of the nutrients out of the pellets in a short time. How long do you have until transplanting outside? Remember that year when my tomatoes did really well and I ran out of space? lol. You need to plan your space now for when they get bigger. Your next step should be about 4" pots, then 8". I have to remove the shelf above my tomatoes before they make it outside. You might be ready to transplant earlier than that. It's easy to get a little carried away when they're all so little though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wendy,
      Peppers are next. I want the tomatoes to get leggy, about a foot high and bury the whole stem. I have food handy. I am sorry, but I do use Miracle Gro and plant in chicken litter from last year. I remember the jungle in your greenhouse and I think outdoors, too. I have saved yogurt and all sorts of "pots" for the next step, the step I hate. I might plant them before the 8" pot stage.

      I have to get some Clorox and water and a scrub brush and wash my 5- and 3-gallon buckets and get more. A few of these will go into the ground, most in containers.

      Some of these will be for friends who have and will have helped me. I am quite sure people would rather have tomatoes...lol. But, they will have to help me plant them.

      Delete
  7. Yum. Home grown tomatoes urinate from a great height on the store bought varieties. Ours are nearly done - but have lasted well. Black russians are among my favourites.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC,
      Well, I have never heard it put that way...lol. This year, I am going to be more adventurous and taste the black and purple tomatoes. The only store bought tomatoes that are worth eating are grape tomatoes.

      Delete
  8. Can you imagine me growing my own tomatoes! :D I should though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool Joe,
      Why not? Go on. Even if you have to grow it in a bucket or huge flower pot, you will love the tomatoes.

      Delete
  9. Hi Linda,

    I'm the social media manager for Bonnie Plants. We've actually got quite a lot of heirloom varieties. Check them out here: http://bit.ly/Heirlooms

    Nice article! My favorite tomato right now is Cherokee Purple!

    Happy gardening,

    Amanda D.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amanda,
      Thanks. I buy Bonnie Plants in Lowe's, but I do not see the seeds. Why?

      I have heard from friends that Cherokee Purple is delicious.

      Delete
    2. Amanda,
      Can you email me about Bonnie Plants? Thank you.
      pparsimony@yahoo.com

      Delete

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