We realized it was time to get our little indoor greenhouse out of storage and setup by the window. We planted all our starter plants on March 20th in 2020 and they turned out to be in excellent shape when we moved them outdoors towards the end of April. So on March 15th of this year, we got our tomatoes and peppers started.
We opted to only work on our peppers and tomatoes in the house this year because we wanted to utilize all the greenhouse space without crowding them. Most of our other plants do best when started in the soil and don’t need to be transplanted, so it has given us the opportunity to provide non-crowded growing time for the plants that we can start now in the house. As mentioned at the end of last year, we plan to diversify what we are planting now that we have more space, and that includes the varieties of some of our vegetables.
This year we have gone with three tomato varieties again, but are throwing in a new type. We have chosen to do romas as our main larger tomato again. We really like the texture and versatility of the roma tomato. It’s not overly juicy and is great cut up with a little salt, made into sauces, sliced on sandwiches or pizza and made into a delicious tomato soup. We have also done cherry tomatoes again. I always love cherry tomatoes thrown into salads, or just on their own as a tasty snack. The sweetie cherry tomatoes that we grew last year were also great sliced in half for pizza or salads, and had a good firm texture with a delicious taste. I prefer my cherry tomatoes on the slightly under-ripe side, and these provide a nice sweet and slightly tart flavour when still a little orange. Our third and new variety is called a pear yellow tomato. It will be larger than our cherry tomatoes but smaller than the romas with, as you guessed it, a pear shape and colouring. As we haven’t had a chance to see what they taste like, we will keep you up to date. If they are similar to the yellow tomatoes I get in a variety pack from the store, then they will be mildly sweet with a firm texture and not overly juicy.
All of our tomatoes have been planted in larger pots this year as they quickly outgrew their pots last year. We only filled the pots halfway with soil so that we can top them up as they get taller, allowing for more stability as they grow. We are planning on following the same practice we did last year, where as the weather warms in mid-April, we will start putting the plants out on our deck in the light breeze to help harden them before we transplant them outside. The tomatoes last year seemed to be the best we had started in all the years, and I think it was because it was the first year we had introduced them to outdoor elements before planting them outside. We had always read that this was what we were supposed to do, but generally were way behind on getting our plants started that we just got anxious to get them in the ground.
As for our peppers, we have gone with a variety of those as well. We have gone with a sweet California bell pepper blend that should give us green, red, yellow and orange sweet bell peppers. For our hot peppers, we changed it up a bit this year and went with some cayenne, sweet banana and Anaheim varieties. I may pickup some jalapeno pepper plants at the nursery that we go to for our flowers as I was unable to find jalapeno seeds anywhere this year. Similar to our tomatoes, we did not fill the pots to the top, only 3/4 full and plan to add a. bit more soil as they grow to offer a bit more stability.
So far, all of our roma tomatoes sprouted within 6 days, showing themselves by March 21. The yellow pear tomatoes and cherry tomatoes followed on March 23. All the tomato plants are growing tall and fast, although we do have one that looked like it may have gotten stuck in its seed. The leaves have not formed properly, so we are not expecting that one to do well and have planted another seed next to it, just to be safe.
The peppers, as usual, are slow to pop up. I don’t think there has been enough warm sun for them in the last week. We have had cool, damp, overcast days with only short peeks of sun through the clouds. We did however have one of our banana peppers and one of our cayenne peppers pop up yesterday, and hopefully more will follow over the next few days.
If the weather continues how it has been, then we will likely get our beets and carrots into the ground over the Easter weekend. We have not had much frost the last week, and hopefully in another week, we will not be having frosty mornings anymore. We woke up to 9*C this morning, so that’s a good start! Looking at the forecast for the next week, the average temperature overnight will hover around 2*C with daytime highs averaging 9-10*C. This is all assuming that the weather forecast will hold…which as we all know, isn’t always the case.
We will just have to wait and see. Last year, we planted our first round of carrots and beets on April 10, with a second round on April 24. Assuming the weather holds, we may be slightly earlier this year.
Already making notes for next year, we plan on getting our plants in the greenhouse going a little earlier, aiming for the beginning of March. Ideally, this will help our plants get nice and big before we send them outside.