Shortest day…now onwards to Spring

Winter Solstice and I’ve planted all my tomato and capsicum seeds. Yes it is early, a month earlier than last year in fact. But, as last year, they’re enjoying the warmth of the heated propagating mat indoors.

Last year, planting seeds early on the heat mat was very successful. Tomato and capsicum seeds germinated in a week and were potted on into tubes a fortnight later. The tomatoes, being a bit faster off the blocks, were planted into the garden in mid November. Not quite Cup Day, but near enough. [It’s said that in Melbourne you must get your tomato seedlings into the ground on Melbourne Cup Day. For those who don’t know—could there be anyone?—the Melbourne Cup is (shudder) a horse race, held each year on the first Tuesday in November].

Anyway, those early plants were a great success, producing lots of early tomatoes. Especially prolific were the San Marzano which I freeze and use for cooking through the winter. But the problem was, they finished early and when we should still have been getting tomatoes well into April, we weren’t.

So…this year 2 batches are going in. The first now, at the Winter Solstice and the second in September, at the Spring Equinox. For those the heat mat probably won’t be needed—by that time it’ll be warm enough to germinate them in the polyhouse.

And we’ll see how this little experiment goes.


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