Last year was my first try at growing tomatoes from seeds and I really struggled with them. They were small, stunted and turned purple. So I have done some things different this year. First I didn’t start them so early. I waited until the first week of March to plant them instead of Feburary. Second, I put the lights within 2″ of the plants at all times. Third I put up some reflective insulation which looks like silver bubble wrap all around the lightbox to keep the heat in during the day and for reflection. Fourth, I put some sheets of the insulation on top of the light box at night to keep more heat in. Fifth, I put aluminum foil on the base of the light box where the tomatoes sit on. Both the reflective insulation and the foil really make the light bounce around and give the plants more light. Sixth, the tomatoes are on a timer so the lights go off at 10:30 pm and back on at 6:30 am so they get 16 hours of light and 8 hrs of darkness. I learned in my MG class that plants need darkness to help with photosynthesis. So last year’s tomatoes turned purple as they got cold and couldn’t absorb phosphorus. But not this year. I transplanted about a week ago my first batch of tomato seedlings out of their small cell into 3″ pots. These are some pics of the first batch.
So far they are doing well. Today I transplanted the second batch that was ready. I read somewhere that you should transplant tomatoes when their first true set of leaves come out (the very first baby leaves when it germinates are called cotyledon leaves but these are not the first true leaves-the next set is) but I waited until the second set of true leaves came out and I think they’ll do better.
I buried the stems up to the cotyledon leaves and gave them some Thrive to help with the transplanting. Look how much they have grown already!