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Start With the Seed of an Idea, Then Dig In

March 19, 1994

The Fullerton Arboretum propagates several thousand tomato plants for sale at its annual Green Scene each year. It propagates heirloom tomatoes and other varieties not commonly found in retail nurseries. Green Scene this year is April 23 and 24.

Following is the method the arboretum uses to start tomatoes from seed:

* Fill four-inch pots with good potting soil and a sprinkling of slow-release Osmocote fertilizer.

* Sprinkle a handful of seeds in each pot, top with a little more potting soil and moisten well. Place the pots in light shade and continue to keep moist until seedlings emerge. (Any seeds that are going to germinate will have done so in two weeks.)

* When the first two leaves of seedlings have emerged and the plants are about one inch tall (about the end of the third week), separate into individual four-inch pots. Plant the seedlings deep--nearly up to the leaves.

* Begin toughening up the seedlings by exposing them to sunlight, starting with a few hours a day. By the end of six weeks the plants should be strong enough to be transplanted to the sunniest, warmest location in your garden.

Mail-Order Sources

* Tomato Growers Supply Co.

P.O. Box 2237

Fort Myers, FL 33902

(813) 768-1119

* Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co.

110 Capital St.

Yankton, SD 57079

(605) 665-1930

* Burpee

300 Park Ave.

Warminster, PA 18974

1 (800) 888-1447

* Seeds of Change

P.O. Box 15700

Santa Fe, NM 87506

(505) 438-8080

* The Cook's Garden

P.O. Box 535

Londonderry, VT 05148

(802) 824-3400

* Shepherd's Garden Seeds

30 Irene St.

Torrington, CT

(203) 482-3638

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