After waiting impatiently for most of the loooonnnnng winter, today I got out the bin of tomato varieties I want to start this year. For a change, I’m using the Jiffy peat pellets in the old shoe boxes which used to house our seeds we sold on Seed Treasures. (Of course we got bigger and bigger and soon had to change our seed envelope storage to suit our room!) So I have this big pile of clear plastic boxes stacked up, needing to repurpose. Ta da! Just right to hold 48 peat pellets and they have a snap on lid so I don’t have to put the containers in a plastic bag. Should do the trick nicely. AND I can stack them, if necessary, on the shelves behind our wood stove where it’s nice and warm.

So far, I’ve planted four flats of tomatoes. I write the variety on the side of the box and how many pellets with a permanent marker so I don’t get them mixed up.

So far I’ve got almost 200 pellets planted. Will just groans. (If you’d like more information on raising tomatoes, check out the Eighteenth Year Anthology and my article Tomatoes! Growing, canning, and drying and the Twenty Fourth Year Anthology and my article, Tomatoes–Queen of the Garden.)

Not much got done on David’s cabin over the weekend as he came down with a second bout of the coughing, runny-nose flu. He did go out and set up the floor joists where they’ll be nailed down but quickly got tired after doing that when the coughing got bad. He’s better today and off to work although I thought he probably should stay home and rest.

Do any of you know a source of Bliss Triumph (aka Red Bliss) potatoes? They were Grandpa’s favorite. I planted some from Irish Eyes last year but this year they don’t have any and mine rotted in the ground because of all the rain we had in the summer. Ronnigers used to have them but evidently went out of business; the website is there but there is no shopping cart. I just want to keep them from going extinct! It’s a family heirloom and I sure hate to lose it. After all, it’s said 500 varieties of vegetables go extinct every single day. That’s a LOT! Which is one reason we grow only open pollinated and heirloom crops, hoping to save some of those great old varieties. — Jackie


  1. I just found a very small lot of Bliss Triumph seed potatoes….will ship them off to you tomorrow. Hope they arrive safe!

  2. Miss Jackie, I too hope you find the red bliss potato. Lets say a little prayer about that…..We are having a major snow storm. Not too unusual for late March in my valley.It has been going for 24 hours now and still coming down strong. Have been planting stuff in covered containers for spring time too. Rick

  3. Planted tomatoes last week and most are popping up right now. Starting as many of the Sweet Aperitif as I have seeds for. They were the hit of the garden last year. Wound up with none to bring in the house as they were all eaten in the garden like a snack.
    Tell David not to get in too big of a hurry with the flu crud. Mine has lasted just over seven weeks with two rounds of antibiotics. Hate to say it but being outdoors only seems to aggravate it.

    • Yes, I agree being outdoors seems to aggravate the cough. I think it’s breathing in that cold air!

  4. Jackie I was just thinking of starting seeds as well, even though it is still 8 weeks to our last frost date here in Northern NM. Is that too early to start? I have wall-o-waters to put on them when they go out, but still… EIGHT WEEKS to last frost date – can’t wait for SUMMER! It’s reaching 60’s some days but still reaching 20’s some nights. Spring weather is interesting here! Good luck on finding the potatoes!

    • No, you can safely start pepper and tomato seeds indoors eight weeks before your last frost date. With access to good light they should do nicely and be strong when you set them out. I used Wall’O Waters when we lived in northern New Mexico on the high plains, both for cold protection and protection against the wind.

  5. Got several seeds started & plan more this week. The sun is out here in TN today, thank goodness. We are all so ready for real spring weather.

  6. Hubby has inch high tomatoes in our basement. Woke up to another dusting of snow yesterday,boo hoo! That’s a lot of tomatoes you will be planting!

  7. Hurray on the tomato starting! I will also be planting ours this weekend. Sorry to hear that David’s sick again. It has struck our household too unfortunately. Hope that you’re able to find a source for your potatoes! Thanks for the update!

    • That nasty flu has hit folks all across the country. But, luckily, David is feeling much better now.

  8. Hi Jackie. Glad to here that your getting the seeds started. I used to start from seeds but I’m the kind of person that What’s to see the plants now. So that being said, the tomatoes and green peppers are going in the ground this week and pole beans, carrots, and radishes are being planted later this week also. Sorry to here David has that lingering cough that comes with the flu. Stay warm and healthy.

    • I can tell you don’t live in northern Minnesota!!! I’ve still got 2 feet of snow in our gardens. I’m so jealous.

    • Yeah, Sharon, I checked with them and they no longer have them. But I’m keeping on looking.

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