Thursday, March 19, 2009

Phyto Photo Philia

Tomato and basil seedlings inside the cold-frame.

When they sprouted, I was away in Philadelphia. It was a really warm weekend and I had plastic wrap draped over their seed beds. In 36 hours these guys were pale, leggy and curved under the plastic. My response was to get these guys out into the cold-frame as soon as possible. The bright light, occasional sunshine, and cooler night temperature kept stem length in check. They also started to develop their first set of leaves and stouter stems.

Now their stems are purpling and growing the fine hairs of maturity.

So far no sprouting of the arugula, or greens mixes. Its only been a couple of days.

Training the snap peas

I have broccoli starts in a variety of places, including these two: a perennial pot and wooden planter.

Last, but certainly not least, the over-wintered spinach. Looking good, but soon to be outnumbered by the sprouts of this spring's spinach.


  1. I need to get a cold frame. I started my tomato seeds too soon, so of course they are getting leggy. Where did you get your cold frame? I would build one, but my husband is busy and my pregnant belly is a little in the way of building stuff.

  2. Shana, I made my cold frame. Check out the posts: a cold frame or click on COLD FRAME HOW-TO from my page.

    That said, your cold frame can be a bunch of bricks or wood, or cinder blocks with a piece of plexi or window on top of it. I saw a nice one at Johnny's Selected Seeds. I think I link to it on my how-to post.

    How long ago did you seed your tomatoes? Mine were seeded two weeks ago.

    Congratulations on the baby!

  3. I planted mine four weeks ago. The cherry tomatoes are still small, but the plum tomatoes have grown quite a bit and gotten leggy.

  4. Oh yeah, thanks for the congratulations. I am twenty two weeks!

  5. They are in a south facing window, but the heater is very strong in that room. I figured that I would put them outside during the day.

    I have the same problem with my squash that I planted at the same time. It is my first year growing squash and I never knew that it could be leggy. I am not sure if I should just start over with the squash or try to salvage them somehow.

  6. You might want to start the squash again. But I prefer to just start them outside when it warms up because they grow so fast.

    The heat is a factor for the tomatoes, it instigates them to get growing. I've found the cooler air outside controls the rapid growth. A cold frame can be a glass jar turned upside down, or a clear plastic tarp, or a upside down fish tank. Just keep the tomatoes moist from the bottom and make sure they don't freeze at night. If its 45-55 degrees and in the sun in a protected spot, they'll be fine outside without the cold-frame.


If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...