Seed Swaps

254 Seedlings Thinned & Potted Up

05 May 2012
Sunny 18°C / 64°F

Can you imagine potting up 54 tomato plants and then almost forgetting to protect them from frost? That’s what I did today. Fortunately I remembered just in time and they are now tucked in safely next to the house in my temporary cold frame covered with old sheets.

I brought the two flats of tomatoes upstairs several days ago when they outgrew the space under the lights in the basement. I have been saying “tomorrow I must get those potted up” for about a week now. Unfortunately, as a result of the wait time on the kitchen counter, the seedlings grew a bit leggy without the intense light and air movement my basement light & fan setup provides.

After finding pots for all the seedlings, I set up the second mini-greenhouse, but discovered that the tomatoes had grown too tall to fit between the shelves. Ideally, the tomatoes would come back inside after being transplanted, but they are too big for the lights. So I turned the box from the bagging attachment for my mower into a coldframe. The tomato seedlings should be protected from wind by the sides of the coldframe. It is against the back of the house, so the seedlings will be in the shade until mid-afternoon. I plan to cover the coldframe with a bit of shade cloth tomorrow so the seedlings don’t get sunburned. I have never hardened off seedlings in this way, it’s a little less than ideal, but I think it will work.

In addition to the tomatoes, I thinned the pepper, eggplant, and greens/brassica seedlings. They’re back inside under the lights, but I’ll move at least the brassica to the mini-greenhouse in the next few days to harden them off. I feel about a week behind, but it was so cold last week that hardening off would not have been wise.


  1. Transplanted tomatoes in the coldframe.
  2. Overview of the coldframe.
  3. Before shot of tomato seedlings.
  4. The rest of the seedlings before they were thinned. [200 seedlings in total.]
  5. Tiny Tim tomato seedlings – the only ones that would fit in the greenhouse.






Folia Helper

United Kingdom8b

Great work, glad to hear you managed to save them. :)

Posted on 06 May 12 (over 6 years ago)

wow lots of work. :-) and good idea about the cardboard box/coldframe.

Posted on 06 May 12 (over 6 years ago)


Folia Helper


Two hundred and fifty four… Nice work done!

Posted on 07 May 12 (over 6 years ago)

That’s a ton ‘O tomatoes! Do you grow so many to sell? ….farmer’s market? ……friends?
Just curious; hope you don’t mind.
Glad you saved the seedlings from the cold.

Posted on 07 May 12 (over 6 years ago)

Thanks everyone! The tomatoes in the coldframe seem to be doing quite well. The cardboard coldframe seems to be doing the trick.

@rosemarieGardener Only 54 of the seedlings were tomatoes which I’m growing for my own use and for my (micro) CSA. Last year I think I grew 31 tomato plants for my own use and I had lots. I also save tomato seeds, so for several of the varieties I’m growing more in order to save seed from a larger population. I was originally planning 42 tomato plants, but since my seed starting flats have 24 cell inserts I went with 48. Then I decided that I wanted to grow out Jaune Flammé so that added some more plants too. The rest of the seedlings were eggplants, peppers, greens and brassicas, which just needed thinning for the time being.

Posted on 07 May 12 (over 6 years ago)

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