Here it is nearly the third week of January. Every year my traditional starting time for starting tomatoes from seed is my daughter Jenna's birthday on the 26th. Easy for me to remember yet every year it seems to sneak up on me. I have gone back and forth as to whether that is too early or not. I have waited more toward Valentines Day a few times and it seems like circumstances or weather make either an early or later start the wrong choice for the year. I start and transplant in the basement where temperatures are cool, keeping the plants under an array of shoplights. The normally cold (60 degree or so) temps will keep them small and encourage stocky growth. Sometimes when I start them earlier, I have ended up with warmer conditions and they grow too much. If I choose later, inevitably I end up with some sort of germination problem or other setback from which I don't have much time to recover. This year I think I will split the difference, starting SOME now and SOME later....see how that goes!
Tomato TimeWritten by Toby Brown
Toby is the owner of Lingley Bros. Sweetcorn since 2000. A 1989 graduate of Hoopeston East-Lynn High School, he began farming in 1993, the sixth generation farming the ground he lives on. He and his wife Paige have four children: Jenna, Katie, Josh and Megan. Together they raise 48 acres of sweet corn, 900 tomatoes and a half acre of green beans. In addition to farming, Toby is an Elder at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Hoopeston, an officer on the Rossville Area Fire Department, assistant 4-H leader of Hoopeston Boosters 4-H club and a beekeeper.