Plants! Tomatoes, string beans, wildflowers, peas and Wall O Water.

So I started some seeds inside this year. I planted them in February and they’re doing pretty well!

Have you heard about these Wall O Water things? Lots of people use them here. They’re little plastic tents you fill with water and put them around your seedlings so you can put them outside sooner. Anyhow, I thought I’d try a few of them this year. Also I read that you can grow tomatoes in five-gallon buckets. Since they’re cheap and a cheery orange color, I thought I’d try them, too.

The buckets needed holes put in them for drainage.

Drilling holes in buckets for plants.

Drilling holes in buckets for plants.

I decided to put them out in the parking lot (junkyard) because last year when I put them on the deck, it became too shady as the trees got their leaves. Once I put them out in the parking lot, they did a lot better. Unfortunately it was too late in the season and I didn’t get any ripe tomatoes before it got cold again.

Five gallon buckets filled with dirt ready for tomato seedlings

Five-gallon buckets filled with dirt ready for tomato seedlings

It took us a few minutes to figure out how to assemble the Wall O Water because the directions were for using them in the ground, not in pots. We put the stakes in, then pulled the Wall O Water over them, tucked in the excess, then filled the channels with water.

Wall o water for tomatoes.

Wall O Water for tomatoes.

Then we planted the little seedlings inside. I did two per bucket. They’re cherry tomatoes so two per bucket should be fine.

Seedlings inside wall o water.

Seedlings inside Wall O Water.

They didn’t want to close on top like they’re supposed to, to form a sort of teepee. So we just tied them up with twine.

Wall o waters tied with twine to keep them closed.

Wall O Waters tied with twine to keep them closed.

This is what the one in the picture above looked like after just a week of being in the Wall O Water. The others are also doing pretty well. Not sure if these are doing better, worse, or the same as the ones in the house.

Tomato seedlings inside wall o water.

Tomato seedlings inside Wall O Water.

Here’s the inside setup:

Vegetable seedlings under flourescent lights.

Vegetable seedlings under fluorescent lights.

Vegetable and flower seedlings under flourescent lights.

Vegetable and flower seedlings under fluorescent lights.

Pea progress within two or three weeks.

Pea seedlings

Pea seedlings

Pea seedlings with flowers.

Pea seedlings with flowers.

Pea seedlings with actual pea pods!

Pea seedlings with actual pea pods!

String bean progress over two or three weeks.

Green beans.

Green beans.

Green beans.

Purple beans with little bean!

Mixed window box of morning glories, catnip, sunflowers, and cosmos.

Mixed window box.

Mixed window box.

Mixed window box.

Mixed window box.

Wildflowers — they are just about ready to go live outside.

Wildflower seedlings.

Wildflower seedlings.

Wildflower seedlings with new buds.

Wildflower seedlings with new buds.

Wildflower seedlings with flowers!

Wildflower seedlings with flowers!

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

These are the tomato seedlings I am keeping in the house under the lights. There are also chives, peppers (which i don’t think will amount to anything), and a few other random things.

Tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings

I replanted these into plastic cups so they’d have more room. I read that plastic cups worked great but they really don’t. They are top-heavy and fall over easily. Next year I’ll spring for some real plastic planters.

Tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings

Have you ever started seedlings inside before? How do nurseries get those big plants they sell at this time of year? Start sooner? Use bigger lights? I know they’re big huge professional production places but still, there must be a way for regular people to do it.