Sometimes even when you do everything right, things don't turn out the way you want. For some reason, our Opalka tomato seeds were not germinating. Out of 12 that we planted only 2 were coming up. So what we did to jump start our Opalka seeds is we took a new set of seeds and sprouted them.
Seed sprouting is easy. Just put the seeds in a small container and cover with room temperature water. Cover them and set them in a dark spot (we choose our cupboard) for overnight. The next morning, carefully pour off the water and rinse the seeds in the container with more room temperature water but this time drain off the excess water. Just leave the container wet but no seeds floating and cover to prevent them from drying out and put them back in your dark spot. Continue doing this for about 3 to 4 more days. You should see the roots start to develop.
Now, back the the successful seedlings we planted earlier. Most have started to develop their second set of leaves, which are called their first true leaves. This is the time to transplant into larger containers. No doubt, if you live "Up North" like we do, even when you use grow lights, the plants get leggy, but don't worry that will all be fixed when you transplant.
Here is our process of transplanting from the little 1 inch peat pots (or sometimes we plant 10 to 15 seeds in a 3 inch pot, which also need to be separated) to one or two plants in 3 inch pots, depending on the space you have under the grow lights).
Usually we planted 2 or 3 seeds in each pot, so first, dispose of the weakest plants that you won't need then take out 1 pot and gently pull or cut it apart, leaving 2 plants. Set the plant with its partial peat pot into the bottom of the container, holding the plant by one of its leaves, NOT THE STEM.
Then place the potting soil around it, firming it down as you fill it up.
Once filled we label and then carefully water. Pour the water in slowly just around the edges. Since the soil is very light it tends to lift up. You just need to be sure the plant is still firmly in place and not drooped over. If this happens and you can't get it to stand up, use a small Popsicle stick along side of the plant to prop it up.
Here's what we did today. Since plants don't all grow to the same size at the same time, we will be doing more transplanting as each plant gets it true leaves.
Hope this helps! This is the last of the guest posts for a while. I hope to be back to my regular Sunday afternoon post this week. Hope everyone is will have a lovely first day of April and that you don't get fooled!