Sunday, February 16, 2014

Baby Tomatoes

I've been growing Tomatoes for around 15 years.  Spent a long time observing Tomato behavior.  There are a lot of Tomatoes around, sometimes for long periods of time.  When a Tomato has been ripe for a long time, several weeks, and is exposed to the right conditions, it's seeds will sprout, and begin growing inside the Tomato.  This one has been sitting in a South facing Kitchen window for a few weeks.
The temperature is around 70F all the time, and the window gets sun from mid to late afternoon.  So the conditions are good for seed germination.  You will first notice dark bumps under the skin of the Tomato.  Then the dark bumps move slowly, as the stem of the baby Tomatoes pushes the first leaves, the dark bump, outward.  At this point the Baby Tomatoes are breaking out of their egg.
I used a sharp knife to remove the skin, exposing the Baby Tomatoes.  The seed cavities are beneath the meat of the Tomato, and the sprouts have grown through the meat.  Next I'll tear the Tomato meat apart to extract the Baby Tomatoes being very careful not to damage the sprouts.
This Tomato yielded about 35 sprouts.  The green end is the first leaves, the dark bumps.  The red end is the albumen, analogous to an egg white, which is a nutrient sack meant to feed the young seedling until it can be planted in the ground.  I really expected to break more of the sprouts believing they would be more feeble, but they have that sprout zeal, and I only broke a couple.

 I prepared some cups with some potting soil for the Baby Tomatoes.  The cups are mostly full.  Carefully set the Baby Tomatoes on top of the soil, and cover with another quarter inch of the same soil.  The bottom of the cups have been pierced for drainage.
Then the cups will go in the South facing greenhouse window.  They will get good light from mid morning to mid afternoon.  The leaves should emerge from the soil in a couple days.  It will be about a month before I can plant them in the ground, and I think that should be enough time for them to get a good root base.
The next morning I thought I might as well start some Jalapenos as well.  There is a ripe Jalapeno in the Kitchen window, got cups, got soil, but these seeds aren't sprouted.  Otherwise its the same as with the Baby Tomatoes.  Pierce the bottom of the cups.  Fill them with soil.  Add a few Jalapeno seeds.  Cover with a small amount of the same soil, and water.
Last night I had some critter get into one of the Baby Tomato cups, and tump it over.  I added a rail to help keep the cups upright when curious critters are nosing around.  So it looks like my Summer Annuals are started.  I need to find some other plants to start like this.  Habaneros...

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