Monday, September 3, 2012

In the Garden: Tomatoes

So many of the delights of parenthood come from watching your little ones master new skills. Rolling over, sitting up, those first beautiful, tentative steps. As much as you may want to hang onto that squishy little possum they handed you on day one, seeing them mould and shape into real live humans with real live human superpowers, well, that's the stuff of life, yes?

Except when the newly acquired skill is the ability to hoist and shimmy out of one's cot, accompanied by growing - a) tall enough to reach the door handle or b) smart enough to find a piece of furniture to stand on to reach the door handle.

And all of a sudden, what was once a family who slept in till a reasonable hour, usually 7:30, often later, is now a family rising, en masse, when there's a 6 on the clock. And we are a grumpy bunch. 

So what to do with revolting children, and a revolting mother, when the afternoon slump hits with full force? Gardening. We tried this little trick a couple of years ago, and while our seedlings were a great success, we were a bit lax on the follow-through and none of them made it into the garden. This year will be different.

To make the seedling pots, take a square of newspaper a bit wider than a plastic cup and roll it over the cup, tucking it up against the base firmly. Tie with a piece of string or kitchen twine (or cheat like I did last time and use sticky tape). Remove the plastic cup and repeat until you have as many as you need. Nestle them all together in a tray or box, then half fill with seed raising mix. Sprinkle in a seed or two (or 17), top up with a bit more soil, then water well.

If all goes to plan, once the seedlings are established, you can pop them, newspaper pot and all, straight into the garden. I'll keep you posted on our progress. We chose cherry tomato seeds because I have it on good authority that there isn't enough sun in an average summer around these parts for the bigger varieties. We planted some basil seeds as well. I'm dreaming of summer pesto. Tomato salad. Homemade mozzarella. Some sleep. And the sometimes delightful, almost always well-rested children who used to live here.


  1. Despite your sleep woes, your photos are gorgeous. Another good thing for seeds (especially peas and sweet peas who grow long roots) is to use old loo rolls inners in the same way. Doesn't seem to matter that there's no base on them as long as they're packed into the tray do they don't move. :-)

  2. I am already dreading the day when I can no longer contain Baby C in his cot.
    Oh well.
    At least I will know what to do with him in the afternoons! More coffee for mom and seed planting for everyone!
    Good luck with the seedlings...and with the sleeping!

  3. Hi Greer, I'm hearing your pain, we are going through the exact same scenario in our house at the moment. We've also ditched the afternoon nap, where I could at least take 5 to recharge my batteries. Cheeky, very clever little monkies aren't they? I'm very fascinated by the mini one though, what will she do next?
    I was just saying in my last post that lady luck wasn't on my side with my veg patch this year here in the uk. I'm liking your way if making seed pots, hadn't thought of that. I've been asking everyone to save their loo roll inners so I can crack on with planting for winter veg.
    Have a good week! Haylie over @Rubie Magpie x

  4. ugh, early rising is revolting indeed! i've been feeling the same, a bit. only some days thank goodness. that tomato planting idea is really nifty- i think we might give that a go! but home-made mozzarella? please advise?! the sound of that salad is making me so so ready for summer days :)sarah

  5. Nice photos. I've never tried that paper method, but it looks fun for little fingers.

    Boo to the early rising. Ours usually sleep late-ish but when they share a room (like on holidays or staying with family) then hello 6am. But I think we're lucky - I seem to have many friends who count themselves lucky if it's after 5. I honestly don't know how they get through the day.

  6. Great idea - will definitely give it go with son sometimes. By the way, do you have black out blinds? I found they really helped when our wee one was waking up at the crack of dawn... x


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