The first week of April brought unusually warm temperatures for the mountains of western North Carolina. This wasn't much of a shock since our Winter was "unusually" cold. I'm learning quickly that there is never anything "usual" about the weather here in Asheville!
Although it is a little early to think about hardening off the vegetable seedlings I sowed in early February, I thought I would bring the tomatoes out to stretch their legs in the warm sunshine.
I am growing Costoluto for the third year, because it's my favorite variety and has proven itself year after year. I'm also trying two new varieties; Cupid , my first grape tomato, and my first yellow variety, Jubilee.
I decided to retire my love for Marcellino this year after an awful mess of cracked fruit last Summer. I just can't handle another heartbreak like that!
Last year I used a seedling heat mat when sowing the veg to speed germination, then placed them under artificial grow lights. Something went wrong, because all the tomatoes were thin and spindly - poor little things. I did some research this year and corrected my mistake - you have to place the seedlings no less than 2" from the light source. I propped the seed tray up on a couple of boxes to get the plants closer to the light, and this year I have a healthy lot!
At 8 weeks the stems of these plants are thicker than the ones I planted in the garden last year at 14 weeks!
Have you ever wondered why tomatoes have such hairy legs?
I've looked all around the Internet and can't find a conclusive explanation. One source claims the hair secretes an antibiotic, while another claims the little hairs assist new root growth. If you have your own answer, please share it with me!
Now I just have to hold off until Mother's Day weekend to set these beauties in the ground. Blast mother nature for trying to trick me with this warm weather! I know there's another hard freeze around the corner, lady. You can't fool me!!