A planting puzzle!

This past weekend I wanted to get more seeds started, particularly tomato plant seeds. So I picked up another "Jiffy" seed starting kit -- one that is specifically for tomato plants. The "pellets" are larger than the ones I used before so you can't start as many plants, but the 16 in this kit should be plenty for me -- probably way more tomatoes than I need.

The problem is, I have a few different types of tomato seeds I want to start, and there's no simple way to divide up the 16 pods evenly.


I've got 4 types of seeds I've been soaking overnight:

"Perfect" you might have just said, "that's 4 rows of 4 types". Alas, as usual with my garden projects things are not that simple. You see, I'm planning on four plants of "red currant" tomato, but three of "Sweet 'n Neat", and only two of "Mega-bite" (since I already started a couple of those earlier). Plus there are three pepper plant seeds I want to put in here too:

So I've got a 4, two 3's, and a 2. That doesn't add up to 16. It doesn't make it easy to figure out which plants to put where either. Mixing up tomato seedlings is not nice either, as you usually can't tell them apart until they're much larger and already in the ground. So I need to keep these straight somehow...

I've got it!

Bits of string will get me out of this jam!

I outlined each little grouping of plants, trying to make sure that the pattern is not symmetrical in case I get the tray rotated. I also put the pepper plants in the middle, as they'll look different than the tomatoes and I'll be able to get reference from that:

Although the layout has been determined, I still don't have all of the cells filled. So I went to my seed archives to find some different tomato varieties.

They're a little old, but should still germinate.

Although all of the tomato seeds I got this year are new to me and somewhat unusual, these older ones are more common: standards if you will. "Roma" and "Bush Early Girl". I was going to plant one of my favorites "Black Krim" but decided that I'd prefer to stick to smaller tomato plants this year and Black Krim gets big.

Here's my final layout, again written down because I don't want to have to worry about remembering:

Since these seeds are older I'm going to put three in each pod:

I didn't soak them either, so I hope they still sprout. If not, I'll just reseed the pods in a few weeks with something fresher.

Although I didn't show it, all of the seeds were buried slightly in the peat using a toothpick. I like to lay all of them on top of the pods first, then poke them all down at the same time. If I don't do that I might forget which pods are already seeded and end up with some double-planted cells.

So that's my tomato plants set for this year. If they germinate. I always worry about that, but know that if they don't for some reason I can always buy tomato plants at the garden centers once it warms up more.

That's not as much fun as growing from seed though, so for the next week or so I'll check these guys a couple of times a day, hoping for a glimpse of green.


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Steve Lau  – (March 19, 2011 at 7:49 PM)  

I just got a couple of these 72 peat pellet trays to try out, hoping they work better than the seed trays. I'm also growing several species of hot peppers including bhut jolokia, devil's tongue & cayenne since I've found out they perform very well in pots.

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